The issue of fair trade labels, certification systems and credibility has been the subject of considerable debate by the Fair Trade movement and consumers, particularly in Europe, where most international certification organizations are based.
Among the many fair trade organizations that have recently taken action related to label issues, Equal Exchange, the largest Fair Trade organization in North America, has changed its label and certification system from FLO/TransFair USA’s Fair Trade Certified to the Fair for Life label of the IMO (Institute for Marketecology, a renowned international agency for inspection, certification and quality assurance of eco-friendly products). According to Equal Exchange the idea of the modification is to give customers more information and confidence about the final seller by submitting itself to the same scrutiny required of producers.
Ecocert, based in Europe, informed that they have launched a new fair trade, solidarity and responsibility certification and label; and Ethiquable, a company based in Belgium, has launched its first Ecocert ESR certified products, which include potato crisps from Peru and chocolate bars from Ecuador.
The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) certified its first member to have complied with the requirements of the organization’s new pilot certification system (Sustainable Fair Trade Management System), enabling the company (the UK-based Pachacuti) to use the interim label “Certified Fair Trade.”
In a similar initiative, Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO) has begun a year-long process revamping its framework for Fair Trade Certified standards.
The world’s first government authority on Fair Trade has been established in France. This official agency, called the National Fair Trade Commission (CNCE), offers legal and statutory support to Fair Trade and recognizes at least three fair trade identification systems: FLO, Ecocert and Artisans du Monde.