SCS Global Services

Fair Trade Certification



Fair Trade Certified products provide the rigorous social and environmental guarantees that many retailers and buyers are now demanding. Fair Trade empowers consumers to support farmers and farm workers, and to have a positive impact on farm communities through their everyday purchases. SCS is Fair Trade USA's exclusive certification partner. Through this partnership, we are extending our common aims of helping businesses and consumers support workers and communities across the globe while protecting the environment. By requesting and successfully completing the Fair Trade certification process, including a rigorous audit performed by SCS, your operation can achieve this distinctive recognition.

SCS performs Fair Trade USA compliance assessments for all types of agricultural operations including:

  1. Farms and Estates: For agricultural entities that depend on hired labor. May have single or multiple production sites, but only one central management and administration.
  2. Independent Smallholder Groups: For smallholders who are not members of a product organization such as a cooperative or association.
  3. Smallholder Groups: For groups engaged in commercial activities whose members are primarily individual smallholders.

Certification audits are conducted for food products covered by Fair Trade USA standards, including: coffee, tea, herbs, cocoa, fresh fruit and vegetables, sugar, beans and grains, flowers, nuts, oils and butters, honey and spices, and certified ingredients used in ready-to-drink beverages. This list of products continues to expand.

Certification Criteria
SCS offers compliance assessment under the Fair Trade Draft Farm Workers Standards, the Independent Smallholders Standards, the Small Producer Organization Standards, and the Trade Standards. Participants must comply with requirements generally covered by the following areas:

  • Empowerment
  • Economic Development
  • Social Responsibility
  • Environmental Stewardship
  • Trade Requirements

Complementary Services
In addition to auditing farms and estates, smallholders and traders for conformance to Fair Trade USA standard, SCS Global Services offers a wide range of complementary certification services. Let us know if you are interested in having us expand the scope of your audit to include a GFSI, GAP or GMP food safety audit, certify conformance with the National Organic Program requirements, evaluate your flavor management system, confirm antioxidant levels in your products, or certify that your harvested crops are pesticide residue free.

  1. Apply : Complete and return the application form to SCS at, and copy Fair Trade USA (
  2. Authorize Proposal : Upon application approval, SCS issues a work order and Assessment Services Agreement.
  3. Schedule Audit : SCS provides an audit plan and requests documents in advance of the onsite audit.
  4. Undergo Audit : The on-site audit includes document review, worker interviews, and field observations. Findings are communicated in the closing meeting. Audit report is sent to client within 20 business days.
  5. Corrective Actions : Any issues cited in the Non-Conformity Report (NCR) are addressed by Corrective Action Plans (CAPs) within 30 days. CAPs provide clear evidence that implementation occurred.
  6. Decision : SCS issues a certification decision based on the CAPs prepared by the client.
  7. Certification : SCS provides a Fair Trade certification registration number, certificate, and applicable on-product label. Certificates are valid for 3 years and surveillance audits are conducted annually.

Certified farmers enjoy these benefits and more:

  • Brand your products as an ethical alternative for values-based shoppers
  • Reap the long-term benefits of employing strong environmental protection measures.
  • Maintain positive worker relations
  • Provide funds for community enrichment projects that benefit the community

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