Standards and Certification

Products carrying the Fairtrade label are traded according to international standards set by Fairtrade Labelling Organizations (FLO) International. These standards are divided into three major sections: social issues, trade, and the environment.

The international network is made up of various labelling initiatives (Max Havelaar, TransFair, Fairtrade, etc.) and has been able to open up a wide range of markets through its promotion of a common label.

FLO Standards


  • Working conditions (ILO conventions)
  • Organised farmers and workers
  • Transparency
  • Community projects


  • Guaranteed minimum prices
  • Fairtrade premium
  • Long-term trading relations
  • Pre-financing


  • List of banned substances
  • Environmentally friendly production techniques
  • Promotion of organic agriculture

Producers commit themselves to respect working conditions (ILO conventions) and environmental criteria. The use of genetically modified seeds is banned, as is the use of pesticides that present a known health risk. In return, Fairtrade producers benefit from a fixed minimum price and a Fairtrade premium for social projects. Producers, independent experts, traders, and representatives of national labelling initiatives and civil society develop new standards and periodically review existing ones.

The Fairtrade cotton standards define working conditions not only in cotton production but also for the whole processing chain in accordance with recognised social criteria. This is true of every step in processing the cotton including ginning, spinning, dyeing, knitting or weaving, and garment making.

You can find further information about the standards by visiting:

FLO Standards

FLO Product Standards


Current discussion

Access for registered members only

Upcoming discussions

 Any suggestion for a topic to discuss? Just get in touch with

Previous discussions

Summaries of online discussions held to be found in the library

Search database


No item all

This platform is a joint project by ICCO, SECO, Textile Exchange and HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation. For any queries please contact: [email protected].