Many of the retailers mentioned on our site display labels on their packaging or logos on their website that indicate their ethical practices have been verified in some way. Below are some common certifications or memberships that you might come across while shopping, and a brief description of what each designation means.
Fair Trade Federation member
The Fair Trade Federation is a trade association for retailers and wholesalers in the United States and Canada who commit to following fair trade practices. FTF membership is a designation for organizations, not specific products. To learn more about the FTF and their membership requirements, visit www.fairtradefederation.org.
Fair Trade certified (Fair Trade USA)
These are the marks used by Fair Trade USA (formerly TransFair USA) to label products that meet their standards, or that contain ingredients that have been Fair Trade certified. The black-and-white logo on the left is the old design, the green logo on the right is a new, updated version that was released in late 2011. You may still see some packaging with the old logo on it. These marks designate specific products, not overall organizations. To learn more about Fair Trade USA’s standards, visit www.fairtradeusa.org.
Fairtrade certified (Fairtrade International)
This is the mark used by Fairtrade International, whose full name is Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO). Fairtrade International coordinates fair trade labelling at an international level and sets international fair trade standards. This mark certifies specific products, not overall organizations, and is often seen on European products, though its use in the United States is increasing. Learn more about this designation at www.fairtrade.net.
World Fair Trade Organization member
The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) is similar to the Fair Trade Federation, but its members are from outside North America. Serving Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Pacific Rim, the WFTO certifies organizations, not specific products. Learn more about WFTO’s membership requirements and their 10 Principles of Fair Trade at www.wfto.com.
Fair for Life
The Fair for Life certification is offered by a Swiss organization called the Institute for Marketecology. The group offers two options for labeled certifications, one focused on social requirements, and another that adds fair trade practices to those same social requirements. This label can be applied to specific products or overall organizations. To learn more about Fair for Life standards and certification, visit www.fairforlife.net.
Green Business Network Certified Member
The Green Business Network is powered by Green America, a leading environmental action group. Businesses are screened for environmental, social, and accountability criteria. The GBN is currently in the process of transitioning from an overall approval method to one that includes bronze, silver, and gold tiers for different levels of achievement. You may see older versions of their certification logo on retailers’ websites. To learn more about the GBN and its screening process, visit www.greenbusinessnetwork.org.
Certified B Corporation
To become a certified B Corporation, a company must earn at least 80 out of 200 possible points on an assessment that evaluates practices related to accountability, employees, consumers, the community, and the environment. B Corps seek to harness the power of private enterprise to create public benefit. To learn more, visit www.bcorporation.net.