Fairtrade Certification

How it works 

Fairtrade is a supply chain certification. This means that, for a product to carry the FAIRTRADE Mark, each company involved in the growing, trading, processing and manufacturing of the product must be certified against the applicable Fairtrade Standard and audited every year. At last, the brand-owner must obtain the license to use the Fairtrade Mark on packaging.

Fairtrade certification is managed by FLOCERT, which is a third-party auditing body specialised in Fairtrade, whereas Fairtrade licensing is managed by us Fairtrade Label South Africa.

This is a mock-up of a standard Fairtrade supply chain:

Fairtrade Standards

Donwload the relevant standards for your operation:

Fairtrade Standards are originally published by Fairtrade International. For more information about the standards visit: www.fairtrade.net/our-standards

In addition to Fairtrade Standards, the first buyer of the raw commodity (e.g. coffee beans, wine grapes, etc.) must pay the grower the Fairtrade Minimum Price plus the Fairtrade Development Premium. Visit our Fairtrade Standards page for more information, and consult the Fairtrade Pricing Database to learn about the pricing structure for your product.

Cost of Certification

In alignment with Fairtrade’s purpose and benefits, FLOCERT certification fees are conceived to enable participation and empowerment of weaker trading partners, and allow the company to maintain and provide a high-class and robust certification system.

Certification Fees for Traders
This fee applies to all traders, including importers, exporters, processors and manufacturers. There are three types of fees:

  • Certification Fees for Category 1 Trader. Category 1 Traders are companies who purchase directly from Fairtrade producers (and are therefore responsible for paying the Fairtrade premium), or who trade in perishable products like fresh fruit or flowers.
  • Certification Fees for Category 2 Trader. Category 2 Traders are all traders who do not fall into Category 1.
  • Certification Fees for Small Licensees. Small Licensees are companies with a total company turnover of less than €2million / year and who manufacture and sell the final Fairtrade product under own brand (e.g. a coffee roaster).

Certification Fees for Producers

The certification process

The certification process is managed by FLOCERT, a third-party auditing company specialised in Fairtrade audits. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find all the relevant contact details.


There are five steps to becoming Fairtrade certified. The certification process (which follows ISO 17065 guidelines) is very thorough but relatively simple to complete. ISO 17065 is the leading internationally accepted norm for certification bodies operating a product certification system and replaces the former ISO 65. The standard revision incorporated the changing realities in the certification sector in terms of the significant growth in number of certification schemes, both geographically and across new industries. While ISO 17065 keeps the proven parts of the ISO 65 norm, it puts special emphasis on the impartiality of processes. For more details of this replacement, see the FLOCERT website

Step 1: Application

The certification process begins with an application questionnaire, which establishes whether the applicant falls within the scope of Fairtrade (e.g. that the product is covered by Fairtrade Standards) and provides all the necessary information regarding the rules and requirements for Fairtrade certification.

Step 2: Audit

Once you’ve completed and returned your application, FLOCERT will let you know within 30 days if you qualify to proceed with your certification and agree with you on an initial audit date. With traders, it’s possible to issue a temporary ‘permission to trade’ which is replaced by a fully-fleged certificate after the successful conclusion of the first audit.

Fairtrade audits themselves vary in length and complexity, depending on the size and structure of your organisation and the number of products you want to certify. Here’s how the audit process usually works:

  • A FLOCERT auditor contacts you in advance and provides you with an individualised checklist specifying particular documents you’ll need to prepare;
  • The auditor will then arrange a series of site visits, face-to-face meetings and interviews with farmers, workers unions, managers and committees, as well as check financial and other documents;
  • At a final closing meeting, the auditor will share the findings of the audit with you – pointing out any areas where you’re not conforming to Fairtrade Standards, and giving an opportunity to discuss possible corrective measures.

Step 3: Evaluation

After the audit, the auditor sends a report to a certification analysts to evaluate the results. If areas are identified where your operation is not conforming to Fairtrade Standards, you’ll be given a chance to correct these non-conformities.

Step 4: Certification

Once any non-conformities have been corrected, FLOCERT will either approve or reject your certification.

Step 5: Follow up

After the initial certification there’s a three-year ‘certification cycle’, during which FLOCERT carries out at least two more audits – one ‘surveillance audit’ and one ‘renewal audit’. If the first certification cycle is concluded successfully, FLOCERT will issue a new certificate. If your organisation is classified as ‘high risk’ – perhaps because of the complexity of your trade chains or high volume of trade – more audits may be needed.

FLOCERT also widely carries out unannounced audits.

Apply for certification

For more detailed information about Fairtrade certification visit FLOCERT's website. To apply please contact the local FLOCERT office at africa@flocert.net or 021 6710289

For any general queries about Fairtrade and the certification process please contact us.