MoRE About FairTSA
Every year, an inspector visits the small farms and processing facility to check whether the organic and Fair Trade requirements have been met. They evaluate whether the fair price has been paid, whether the community development project has progressed accordingly, and if other requirements regarding occupational health, safety, and fair wages, have been satisfied. A report is then drawn up and sent to the certification agency where it is analyzed for compliance with the FairTSA Fair Trade standard. FairTSA uses a network of organic certification bodies to provide local support and to make certification affordable for small holding farmers who would normally be excluded from certification. All authorized certification bodies and their inspectors are individually trained and updated on FairTSA standards and protocols.
While FairTSA has made community development a central tenet of its Fair Trade program, documenting such efforts has proved to be not without its own unique set of challenges. This has mostly to do with different cultural expectations and norms – people from cultures more rooted in oral traditions and exchanges often experience difficulty documenting on paper what they can see has already happened; it is also hard to convey that folks in far-away countries might be interested in their challenges and accomplishments. Initially, FairTSA took a more lenient approach to this documentation, but we have realized with the maturation of our program that it is helpful to provide more structure and more stringent requirements, while at the same time continuing to support and encourage producers’ efforts. We now require community proposal updates for the ongoing year and evaluations for the past year by February 15 of each calendar year. We aim to provide summaries of the updates and the evaluations to all partners in the supply chain by March 31 for all our projects.
budget proposal pROCESS
Each year FairTSA Fair Trade Certified producers must provide a community project proposal, based on an estimate of Social Premium to be received. The inspector then checks the traceability of the project expenses and documents the projects carried out. Differences of up to 5% between the premium received and the expenses documented are acceptable, differences between 5-10% trigger a minor noncompliance with a request to straighten out the bookkeeping procedure per the certification body’s request, and differences greater than 10% constitute a major noncompliance, which, if unresolved, can trigger suspension or, in grave cases, revocation of certification.
fAIR pRICE pREMIUM
In addition to the Social Premium for investment in community projects, there is a Fair Price Premium that is paid directly to the farmers and included in their purchasing & sales contracts. Like with the Social Premium, these contracts are audited at the annual inspection.