Fairtrade International, short FLO, is the umbrella organization of the national Fairtrade organizations. The association was founded 1997 in Bonn, Germany, with the purpose to unite the many different labels and standards of fair trade. FLO consists of two branches:
• FLO e.V. develops the conditions and principles that need to be met to obtain a Fairtrade-certification.
• FLO-CERT (FLO Certification) controls the compliance with these principles. This is important to ensure that the meaning of the word fair “fair” really is behind where the label “fair” stands.
The international Fairtrade-system consists today of three producer networks, 25 national Fairtrade-organizations, FLO e.V. and FLO-CERT. The Fairtrade-organizations allocate the seal in the respective countries. In Germany is that for example the TransFair e.V. In Switzerland the Max Havelaar Foundation and in Austria is it carried out by Fairtrade Austria. The producer networks represent the many different groups of producers in Latin America, Africa and Asia (CLAC: Coordinadora Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Comercio Justo, AFN: African Fairtrade Network and NAP: Network of Asian Producers).
The Fairtrade seal of FLO is according to the opinion of the Fairtrade-forum the most famous, and one of the strictest quality marks of fair trade. The products being certified are products that are being produced under fair conditions or that contain ingredients that have been produced under fair conditions. Ingredients such as coffee, bananas, cotton, cosmetics, jewelry, as well as wood and gold.