A fair trade certification is an official recognition that gives small farmers or producers from developing countries an edge in marketing and selling their products especially when it comes into competition with products from large multinational firms. By putting a certification on the product, the producers and the sellers give their guarantee that the product is environment friendly and give benefit to the producers. The certification of the products is given by many groups around the world two of which are FLO International and TransFair USA. With their approval consumers are ensured that the products are high standard.
Fair trade certification however is not without its critics. Though labeling can indeed help the farmers, critics claim that these same farmers or producers do not have the much needed resources in order to be certified. Further the requirements needed are also disadvantageous to some of the producers especially the farmers. For example, it costs around $2,000 to $4,000 just to have certification. The amount is often higher than what the small farmers could afford to spend. Because these same farmers cannot afford the cost then they are excluded from being part of the fair trade and thus continue to earn less.
Even if the farmers do manage to spend that amount for fair trade certification, they have trouble changing their business practices geared towards sustainability. Thus even if they spend money for the certification, their products remain uncertified because of this. However there are organization and even other fair trade companies that assist producers or farmers so that they can have their goods labeled.
The latest complaint that critics have is that it seems some of the members of the movement are rushing to have large companies become members in order for fair trade to grow. Critics claim that some companies are in fact receiving special treatment from agencies. It remains to be proven though if indeed there exists special treatment for large corporations. Organizations like FLO and TransFair remain steadfast in their efforts of applying the same rules to everyone.
Criticisms or comments against fair trade certification are not likely to go away soon. What everyone needs to do is to make certain that the rules are applied correctly and that it is applied to everyone. While some of the rules or standards may seem unfair, they are needed if we want to ensure that fair trade prosper in the near future..