Screening Process

To become a Fair Trade Federation member, businesses undergo an intensive screening process that evaluates their practice of all nine Fair Trade Principles. These fair trade principles are based on the internationally accepted principles of the World Fair Trade Organization, which grew out of a global consensus. They are considered the gold standard in fair trade.

The Fair Trade Federation screening process is a rigorous self-reporting process. Applicants must demonstrate outstanding work in all nine of the fair trade principles by providing information about their business practices and relationships with producer groups. A high level of transparency is required.

A screening committee, comprised of three Fair Trade Federation members, reviews each application and measures it against the Fair Trade Federation’s Code of Practice. The committee makes all membership decisions by consensus. The Federation must feel confident in the intentions and practices of its members; as a result, the Federation accepts only 50 – 60% of applicants.

Upon annual renewal, members must submit specific information about their fair trade practices and update the Federation on any changes within their business. Each year, at least 5% of members are rescreened at random to ensure continuous adherence to the practices. The rescreening process also allows the Fair Trade Federation to investigate and respond to any complaints that may be received about a member’s practices.

The Fair Trade Federation does not conduct or require independent, third party verification of working conditions. Rather, we rely on members to maintain close relationships with their suppliers, to ensure continual growth and adherence to fair trade principles. We believe that this is best way to reach the most marginalized producers, while also demonstrating sustained, long-term commitment to the principles of fair trade.

Fair Trade Federation members seek to adhere to the highest standards of fair trade. By joining the Federation, you can display your organization’s commitment to doing business differently.