When you see that fair trade products that are certified, do you ever wonder what goes into that certification? I mean, what do these organizations look at when they’re certifying all these products?
Well, the World Fair Trade Organization (WTFO) has 10 standards they measure a company or organization against before they’ll grant a fair trade certification.
Want to know what they are?
The 10 Standards of Fair Trade Certification
1. Creates Opportunities for Economically Disadvantaged Workers
This means that the company is helping disadvantaged workers climb out of poverty and become more self-sufficient. They’re helping develop local communities, and they have a plan to continue this into the future.
2. Transparency and Accountability
The WTFO wants to see that the company or organization is open and honest about what they’re doing. Communication channels stay open, and they company also finds ways to involve employees in the decision-making process.
3. Trading Practices
Trading practices go under extreme scrutiny. The WTFO makes sure that the organization isn’t maximizing profit at the artisans’ or employees’ expense. They make sure the organization keeps its promises to its staff, vendors, and suppliers, and that they honor the contracts they make.
4. Payment of a Fair Price
The WTFO defines a fair price as one that has been agreed upon by all parties. The producers especially must agree that the price is fair. This also means that women and men are paid equally for equal work.
5. Child Labour and Forced Labour
The company or organization must adhere to the UN Convention on the Right of the Child. This means it cannot use child labour, or any forced labour, in any part of the production or distribution process.
Now, children can learn a trade or craft with fair trade companies. But, there are strict rules as to how much time per day they can spend learning this trade. They must have ample time left for schooling, rest, eating, and play.
6. Non-Discrimination, Gender Equity, and Freedom of Association
This policy means that the company or organization cannot discriminate based on age, gender, religion, caste, disability, HIV/AIDS status, sexual orientation, union membership, national origin, political affiliation, or age.
The organization must also take into account the special health needs of pregnant or nursing mothers.
And, women are paid just as much as men for equal work.
7. Working Conditions
Working conditions for artisans or employees must be safe and healthy. And, working hours must abide by local or national laws.
8. Capacity Building
The company or organization takes step to help improve the skills of its employees or artisans. This could include production skills, learning about higher quality methods, or even management and leadership training.
9. Promotion of Fair Trade
The organization must raise awareness of fair trade, and supply customers with information on fair trade and what it means.
Fair trade companies or organizations must consider the environmental consequences of their actions. They source products locally and use renewable energy technologies whenever possible. They try and minimize their impact on the waste stream.
As you can see, a lot goes into certifying a company for fair trade! The WTFO look at many different aspects, and impacts, of the company. It’s definitely a lengthy process, but at least you know that once a company has certification it’s golden.
Filed under: Fair Trade Basics on February 19th, 2010