With a few fair trade certifications out there, it can be hard to know how each is different and which best fits your business.
We often get inquiries from businesses who know they want to get their products certified but aren't sure what the different logos and labels mean. It's a great question that we're happy to answer.
Our research shows that interest in fair trade is growing, but US shoppers currently hold little loyalty to a singular label, logo, mark or seal. Instead, shoppers are looking for certified products on the whole. With that in mind, businesses should consider three things: the organization they want to work with, the level of service they expect, and the standards they're committing to.
1. We’re the OG
… Original and Global, that is. We have 30 offices around the world in addition to our US base in Washington, DC. The first Fairtrade label got its start in the Netherlands in 1988 to get coffee farmers in Mexico a better deal during a market low. It took off and Fairtrade was born. During the next decade, more organizations popped up all over Europe using different labels. In 1997, Fairtrade International (then called FLO) came on the scene to unify the different country offices. By working together, the Fairtrade Mark, a single standardized label, debuted in 2002. Fast-forward to the present to see the Fairtrade logo on thousands of products in dozens of countries. It’s been quite a journey!
Learn about other Fairtrade markets by visiting http://info.fairtrade.net. If you want to sell your Fairtrade products internationally, we can put you in touch with the right people - from Ireland to India!
2. We have outstanding customer service
Fairtrade is unlike other business services – it’s a partnership. You want to know that you’re working with an organization that you not only trust, but people who are on your side. At Fairtrade America, we pride ourselves at our high levels of customer service. Our team is always available on the other end of the phone, via email or even to come to your office. It’s not unusual for our team to give you their personal mobile numbers so that you get the very quickest response. We’re so excited about the work we do, and we want you to feel just as excited. A friendly call or visit hopefully does just that.
Read case studies about how we can help brands like yours.
3. We have strong standards – made possible by lots of consultation
We’re not in the greenwashing game. Our fair trade label is backed up by some seriously rigorous standards. For example, we have different sets of criteria for family farms vs large plantations. We also look at the special nuances of different commodities. If you want to source cotton from smallholder farmers, you would expect the Fairtrade standards to be different than those for banana plantations, right? We think so. There is no one-size-fits-all fair trade standard in our minds.
We review our standards regularly, and producers, businesses and other organizations get a chance to take part in this process. It’s through group consultation where we hear from many different stakeholders that we make our standards stronger. In fact, it’s one of the reasons why we are accredited by ISEAL, the certifier of the certifiers.
Ready to take the next step? Learn how to certify your products.