Filed under: Fair Trade | Tags: Fair Trade Certification, Fair Trade Certified, Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International, FLO, FLO-Cert
[This fall will mark the end of my sixth full year of involvement in the fair trade movement beyond the local level. I have been going through my old files to purge those I no longer need. I came across this file today. I was sent this about 2 years ago by someone who used to be involved in the management level of FLO-Cert. I figure many people don’t often get access to these types of things all that easily and I don’t understand why that is since fair trade is a movement seeking transparency in trade, amongst other things. This isn’t all that exciting really but it might give you a bit of a glimpse into the technocracy of fair trade certification on the international level. …Ian Hussey]
FLO Trade Certification Policy General
1. PURPOSE FLO-Cert policy documents tell you how FLO-Cert will interpret and enforce FLO Fairtrade Standards. This document describes the FLO-Cert policy that applies to all products. There are also Trade Certification policies for each product that add details about that specific product. Where FLO-Cert policy documents and FLO Fairtrade standards do not agree, FLO Fairtrade standards will apply.
Processors, exporters, importers and manufacturers who do not pay the annual trade certification fee must continue to give an external audit to FLO-Cert. They can ask FLO-Cert to do the external audit. Please refer to the FLO-Cert TC External Audit Policy for the costs of this service.
Register with Condition
Condition must be met before next inspection
Register with Corrective Action
Corrective action must be taken before deadline
Failure to take corrective action can result in de-registration, suspension, or financial sanction
May not make new contracts for FLO Fairtrade products.
Should honour already existing contracts.
May not buy or sell FLO Fairtrade products
Must re-apply if would like to start trading again
Financial sanction possible
normally used where suspension or de-registration would be too harsh
If you do not submit your flow of goods reports on time we will give a corrective action request.
FLO registered operators; and
FLO national member licensees.
All FLO Fairtrade products must be originally produced and sourced from FLO Certified producers. Only FLO registered importers may purchase FLO Fairtrade products from the original producing country.
FLO operator lists are available on the FLO internal web pages. (Please see the FLO internal web pages and the section called “FLO-Cert Traders + Producers List Search”.)
You need to ask FLO national members for up-to-date lists of licensees. See
There are also special rules for tea. Please consult the Trade Certification Policy for Tea.
If you buy a product from a producer before the producer was certified, and you want it to be FLO Fairtrade, then you must ask FLO-Cert to retroactively certify the product. Please see the FLO-Cert Retroactive and Product Compensation Policy.
the FLO ID of seller,
the FLO ID of the original producer; and
include the text “FLO Fairtrade”
the quality you want to buy,
what price you will pay or fixing price methods, including differential if relevant,
the terms for pre-financing and payment ,
the estimated shipping schedule,
the text “FLO Fairtrade”,
FLO standards require pre-financing;
they (or exporter) buys directly from producer groups or their exporters;
the producer group has sold the product to the importer before and met the quality and shipping requirements; and
the producer group asks for pre-financing.
The importer does not need to give pre-financing when:
they can show that the producer is a credit risk or there other similar business reasons why they should not give pre-financing; or
pre-financing is irrelevant for the product or the producer’s country. (Contact FLO-Cert for details.)
The importer must charge an interest rate that is reasonable. In general this will be no more than the central bank rate in the buyer’s country plus 8%.
To make things easier, all contracts and invoices should show “FLO Fairtrade” and the FLO ID of the buyer and the seller.
The important thing is that we know quantity the of Fairtrade inputs it takes to make a Fairtrade product.
When a producer or exporter believes that they may not be able to deliver for some reason beyond their control they must inform the importer immediately.
If the buyer and seller cannot sort out a technical dispute, such as whether the producer had no coffee because of crop failure, they should take the matter to arbitration.
FLO-Cert Retro-certification and Product Compensation Policy
FLO-Cert product policies
shown on the FLO-Cert operator list.
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