• Fairtrade Label Organization


    The FLO role is to:

    • Promote Fairtrade coffee in consumer markets (this is done by the national labelling initiatives).
    • Identify and assist eligible groups of small growers to become inscribed in the FLO coffee producers’ register, i.e. to obtain FLO certification.
    • Verify adherence by all concerned to the Fairtrade principles, thus guaranteeing the label’s integrity.

    The Fairtrade labels aim to make the initiative and the growers behind it visible and therefore marketable on a sustained basis. The labels enable FLO and others to provide sustained publicity and support where it counts most – in the consuming countries – for example by building a public image of quality, reliability and respect for socio-economic and environmental concerns that consumers recognize and appreciate. Fairtrade does not aim to replace anyone in the traditional marketing cycle and works on the basis that there is a place for each provided all accept the Fairtrade goal of selling the largest possible volume of smallholder coffee at a fair price: fair for growers and consumers alike. The labels guarantee for the consumer adherence to this principle while leaving production, purchasing, processing, marketing and distribution where it belongs, in the coffee industry.

    Fairtrade is a certification programme that all smallholders’ organizations and roasters who satisfy the criteria can join. But in the end success in the retail market depends on consumer support. By end 2001 some 200 groups were inscribed, representing approximately 500,000 smallholders. As yet, much of this production cannot be absorbed by the Fairtrade labels; some groups manage to sell perhaps 50% of their output but others only about 10% so the supply potential exceeds the demand. Despite these limitations the label is well established in a number of markets and additional growth can be expected, not only in consuming countries but also in producing countries with a substantial home market (for example, Mexico). Sales growth is accelerating, particularly in the United States, but for aspiring grower organizations to share in Fairtrade growth in any import market they will first have to achieve FLO certification – see 03.06.07.

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