Fair Trade labels

2015 03 02

Lately consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the existance of various eco-labeling schemes. Eco-labels serve the purpouse of ensuring that certain principles have been followed in the production and distribution of the product, i.e. the product has been produced ecologically, without using chemicals or destroying natural habitats.

Likewise, a similar type of labelling systems called the Fair Trade labels are focused not only on the environmental, but also on the social and economic aspects throughout the supply chain of a product. These types of labels have the following set of principles which must be complied with by a company that wishes to wield one of the Fair Trade marks:

  • The producer receives a fair price for his product

  • The production process and the supply chain is characterized by democracy, social equality and a complete prohibition of child labour

  • The economic development of the producer organisations is stimulated so that the producers not only receive fair pay for their product, but also have the ability to improve the life conditions of their family and community.

  • The production process must not be hazardous to the environment – decreased usage of agrochemicals, proper waste management, preservation of soil fertility, sustainably managed water resources and the non-usage of GMOs are the focus points of fair trade enviromental policy.

These principles are common for all the fair trade certifying bodies,yet the demands or the path by which the fair trade principles are achieved are a little different among various fair trade organisations. Larger part of the organisations are also focused on different certified products or countries of origin. The most popular fair trade certifying bodies have been summarised below. Each of these has their own label that is placed on products that have been certified in this organisation.


FLO Fairtrade is the most widely recognized fair trade certifying organisation in Europe. This organisation certified various products, however the ingredients of the products are produced solely in the developing countries. The products with the highest sales are coffee, bananas, coccoa, tea and sugar, however FLO Fairtrade also certifies cotton, hand-crafts, jewelery (golden and silver), also flowers. FLO Fairtrade sets a minimal price that the producer (grower) must recieve for his product, as well as the minimal amount of premium. More about FLO Fairtrade can be found here.


UTZ Certified was found on 2003. It deals solely with the certification of coffee, chocolate, tea and rooibos tea. It is a strong competitor to the FLO Fairtrade in coffee and coccoa markets. In contrast to FLO FairtradeUTZ Certified has not set specific minimal prices or fair trade premiums. These are agreed upon by the grower and the manufacturer within the UTZ system. (Information collected from www.standardsmap.org)


Hand in Hand is a privately owned certification system, that certifies only products made by a German company Rapunzel. The label is said to include the principles of organic farming as well as those of fair trade. Rapunzel currently works with aproximately 20 partners within the HIH system. Every year Rapunzel and the partners agree upon the minimal price of the product.   Katru gadu Rapunzel un HIH partneri vienojas par produkta minimālo cenu. The partners also receive an aditional premium that must be invested in the ecological or social improvement of the lives of farmers and workers.



IMO Fair For Life follows the exact same standards as the FLO Fairtrade, however the Fair for life certificate is attainable irrespectively of the geography or the GDP of the producing country or the type of product. In other words – the Fair For life certificate can be given to any product in any country as long as the socio-economical and environmental standarts are complied with. The system does not set the general minimal prices fot a product, these are calculated judging every situation seperately and taking into account the actual production costs. FFL also recognizes other certification labels as equivalent within its own system and supply chains. (Information gathered from Fair for life website, thorough info in www.standardsmap.org)


 World Fair Trade Organisation  (WFTO) is a union between various fair trade organisations, which has its’ own guarantee system. The union links various food-plant growers, producers, manufacturers, distributors, importers, exporters, wholesalers and other companies that follow fair trade principles in all their operations as stated by the WFTO. WFTO also oficially recognises other certification systems as equivalent. Organisations that are registered in the WFTO, work in different spheres and produce different goods: food, cosmetics, clothes etc. Find more on WFTO webpage.


Fairwear Foundation is specialised in the certification of clothes and textiles. The certificate can be obtained by a producer of any size, distributor, also factories. Fairwear has defined its’ standards in accordance to fair trade, which include free choice of work, non-usage of child labour, fair pay, healthy work conditions to workers etc. More information can be found on Fairwear website.


Fairphone started as an joint initiative by 3 NGOs. Their goal was to inform the society about the extraction and production of materials used in electronics – something often asociated with various economic, social and political conflicts. Currently Fairphone works as a social enterprise which produces a smartphone – Fairphone. Fairphone is produced in a way which supports the improvement of local economies, sustainable product design (focused on the pro-loging of the life cycle, reuse and recycling); proper payment to workers and betterment of their working conditions. Read more on the Fairphone website.


Fair trade Tourism is an initiative focused solely on fair tourism practises. Currently it operates only in South-Africa and expands slowly. The principles are similar as with other fair trade organisations – all staff must be paid properly, their opinions respected, the services must be reliable, sustainable and transparent. Read more on the Fair trade Travel website.