Fair Trade Labelling Organisations International (FLO) is the international umbrella organisation for national Fair Trade organisations. FLO was founded in Bonn, Germany in 1997 with the aim to unify the different national Fairtrade standards and labels. FLO consists of two independently operating branches:
- FLO e.V. develops certification criteria and standards.
- FLO-CERT (FLO certification) is an auditor that ascertains whether the criteria and standards have been met.
Today the international Fairtrade-structure comprises three producer networks, 25 national Fairtrade organisations, FLO e.V. and FLO CERT. The national Fairtrade organisations manage the Fairtrade label in their respective countries.
In Germany the national organisation is TransFair e.V., in Switzerland it is the Max Havellar Foundation, in Austria it is Fairtrade Österreich, in Britain it is the Fairtrade Foundation … The producer networks represent the many different producer groups in Latin- and South America, Africa and Asia (CLAC: Coordinadora Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Comercio Justo, AFN: African Fairtrade Network, and NAP: Network of Asian Producers).
According to the German non profit organisation ‘Forum Fairer Handel’ the FLO Fairtrade label is one of the strictest Fair Trade labels and also the most recognised one. Both, fairly traded produce and products produced with fairly traded ingredients can be Fairtrade labelled, there are Fairtrade coffee, bananas, cotton, cosmetics, jewellery, wood and even gold.
Here’s a snapshot (from June 2016) of how established the Fairtrade label has become in Germany:
- 83% of consumers say they have seen the Fairtrade label frequently or occasionally
- every second consumer buys Fairtrade products
- 95% of Fairtrade customers believe the label is trustworthy”