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Fair Trade Certification

Fair Trade Certification
Recognizing Sustainability and Equitable Trade
Jennifer Watters, Client Services Manager, Sustainability 510-452-8054 Email

Fair Trade Certified™ products provide the rigorous social and environmental guarantees that many retailers and buyers are now demanding. Fair Trade empowers consumers to support farmers and farm workers, and to have a positive impact on farm communities through their everyday purchases.

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Program Details

Certification audits are conducted for food products covered by Fair Trade USA standards, including: coffee, tea, herbs, cocoa, fresh fruit and vegetables, sugar, beans and grains, flowers, nuts, oils and butters, honey and spices, and certified ingredients used in ready-to-drink beverages. This list of products continues to expand.

Certification Criteria

SCS offers compliance assessment under the Fair Trade  Farm Workers Standard, the Independent Smallholders Standard, and the Small Producer Organization Standard. Participants must comply with requirements generally covered by the following areas:

  • Empowerment
  • Economic Development
  • Social Responsibility
  • Environmental Stewardship
  • Trade Requirements
Complementary Services

In addition to auditing farms, estates, smallholders and traders for conformance to Fair Trade USA standards, SCS Global Services offers a wide range of complementary certification services. Let us know if you are interested in having us expand the scope of your audit to include a GFSI, GAP or GMP food safety audit, certify conformance with the National Organic Program requirements, evaluate your flavor management system, confirm antioxidant levels in your products, or certify that your harvested crops are pesticide residue free.

Service Offerings

SCS performs Fair Trade USA compliance assessments for all types of agricultural operations including:

  1. Farms and Estates: For agricultural entities that depend on hired labor. May have single or multiple production sites, but only one central management and administration.

  2. Independent Smallholder Groups: For smallholders who are not members of a product organization such as a cooperative or association.

  3. Smallholder Groups: For groups engaged in commercial activities whose members are primarily individual smallholders.

  1. Apply for Certification

    Complete a Fair Trade USA application form (downloadable at and email the application to Once Fair Trade USA has reviewed your application to ensure eligibility, your application will be forwarded to SCS..

  2. Authorize a Proposal

    SCS will review your application and prepare a proposal for your approval with scope of work, timeline and quote. To initiate the certification process, you return the signed Work Order.

  3. Schedule and Prepare for Audit

    Upon receipt of the signed Work Order, SCS will contact you to schedule the audit. SCS will provide an audit plan and request documents in advance of the onsite audit.

  4. Undergo Audit

    The on-site audit includes document review, worker interviews, and field observations. Draft findings are communicated in the closing meeting. Audit report is sent to client within 20 business days.

  5. Corrective Actions

    Any issues cited in the Non-Conformity Report (NCR) are addressed by Corrective Action Plans (CAPs) within 30 days. CAPs provide clear evidence that implementation occurred.

  6. Decision

    SCS issues a certification decision based on the CAPs prepared by the client.

  7. Certification

    SCS provides a Fair Trade certification registration number, certificate, and applicable on-product label. Certificates are valid for 3 years and surveillance audits are conducted annually.


Certified farmers enjoy these benefits and more:

  • Brand your products as an ethical alternative for values-based shoppers
  • Reap the long-term benefits of employing strong environmental protection measures.
  • Maintain positive worker relations
  • Provide funds for community enrichment projects that benefit the community

Request Information

For immediate service:

Jennifer Watters, Client Services Manager, Sustainability 510-452-8054 Email Jennifer