Who can Use the Logo and Who Cannot
The Fair Trade Logo is the mark of a product that meets the standards for fair trade set forward by the Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International. Another name for this group is FLO. The mark goes on products not the companies which produce them. There are strict regulations on who can use the label and how they can use it. The logo marks products which meet the fair trade practices of buyers paying a fair price for goods produced in developing countries. It provides the opportunity to individuals and small groups to get a sustainable wage and to improve their lives. The focus is on rebalancing the imbalances in power with conventional trading.
How can a product earn the Fair Trade Logo? Two standards which feed into get use of the logo. The first focuses on small organizations of cooperative producers such as farmers. The second focuses on workers who work for larger companies. Both sets of standards have things in common. Those companies that trade products with use of the logo have met standards such as paying a price to the producers which covers sustainable production cost, pay into a common fund for the community to develop, sign contracts with producers for long-term production, and will pay a partial amount up front if the producer requests it.
For individuals working together in small groups, there is usually no hired labor in their ranks. Their labor comes from each individual and their family. In order to gain use of the Fair Trade logo, they must divide all profits equally. Everyone must have a democratic voice in the group’s decision-making. For hired labor situations, the standards are a bit different. Workers must have the option to form organized unions that can negotiate working conditions. There must be equity in conditions and salary among all workers. There needs to be basic health and safety standards in practice. The company must work with the hired labor to manage any money that comes in for development.
Use of the Fair Trade Logo is to show that the product came from producers and buyers who both practice fair practices. The standards continue to evolve as business practices around the world continue to evolve. Today, more focus is on environmental stability as part of the fair trade practices. Working to give local producers the means to sustain the environment pays off for everyone. These standards will continue to change and evolve as the world moves forward.