Standards and Policies

To be part of the Fairtrade system, all licensees, traders and subcontractors must comply with Fairtrade Standards and policies.

Fairtrade Standards

The rigorous Fairtrade Standards aim to address power imbalances in global trade and create more sustainable supply chains. The Standards – covering social, environmental and economic criteria – are set by Fairtrade International in accordance with ISEAL’s Code of Good Practice on Standard Setting.

The standards apply to all actors in a supply chain, from producer organizations and exporters to suppliers and brands. Visit Fairtrade International’s Standards section to learn more and download the most recent versions.

If you have questions about specific standards or need help, please contact us at questions@fairtradeamerica.org

Policies and Procedures

Fairtrade Trader Standard (PDF)

Operator Reporting Policy (PDF)

Complaints, Allegations and Appeals Operating Procedure (PDF)

Child Labor and Forced Labor Guidelines (PDF)

Product Composition Policies

Fairtrade aims to balance farmers’ and workers’ need to sell their products on Fairtrade terms with the integrity of the FAIRTRADE Mark. Fairtrade America’s composition policy aims to maximize the amount of Fairtrade ingredients in each certified product to ensure benefit for farmers and workers and transparency for consumers.

  • Individual products - Products like coffee or bananas that are composed of a single ingredient must be 100% Fairtrade.
  • Composite products - For products like chocolate or ice cream that include both certifiable and non-certifiable ingredients, all ingredients that can be Fairtrade certified, must be certified. Products are required to have a minimum of 20% Fairtrade ingredients (dry weight) and the percentage of Fairtrade ingredients must be displayed on the packaging.
  • Cotton – For products made of 100% cotton, all of the cotton must come from Fairtrade sources. For blended fiber products, Fairtrade cotton must make up 50% or more of the finished weight of the product. Download the complete Cotton Products Composition Policy (PDF) here.
  • Cosmetics – Generally cosmetics contains small amounts of ingredients that can be certified Fairtrade. To ensure that farmers can continue to sell their products on Fairtrade terms, the minimum required Fairtrade certified content is 5% for leave-on products and 2% for wash-off products. See more detailed explanation in our Product Composition Policy. Download the complete Cosmetics Composition Policy (PDF) here .

For a more detailed explanation of the Fairtrade Product Composition Policy, please contact license@fairtradeamerica.org.

Complaints, Allegations and Appeals

If you are aware of a violation of Fairtrade America’s policies and procedures or if you wish to lodge a complaint or appeal regarding a licensing decision, please email license@fairtradeamerica.org with a full explanation of the complaint or appeal.

Allegations regarding Fairtrade America operators (for example, brands that carry the FAIRTRADE Mark on their products) should be made directly to the Fairtrade America Licensing Department. Find our Complaints, Allegations and Appeals Operating Procedure here (PDF).