First of all there are two organizations which work together to set and maintain global "Fairtrade" standards which apply to farmers, workers, and trading practices. These two companies are Fairtrade International, who sets and maintains the standards themselves, and Flo-Cert, who performs inspections and grants certifications.
The standards themselves vary in specifics from country to country. Specific standards also vary according to the organizations stage of development, meaning, things change as an organization (a farm, for example) gets bigger. Keeping that in mind, the standards cover the following areas:
- Structure and composition: "Fairtrade" pertains to "small-scale" farmers "organized into cooperatives."
- Social development: participating organizations must have a democratic management system and their management strategies must be "transparent," meaning, information is fully disclosed and available.
- Economic development: standards ensure that participants meet the "Fairtrade premium" in terms of paying employees and selling goods at a standard price.
- Environmental development: standards are in place to ensure organizations are protecting the natural environment and that this is a priority