The Bottom line: Simple Comparative Analysis

DFTA Evaluation of Fair Trade and

Social Justice Certification Claims

Please Note: With the exception of the Equitable Food Initiative's evaluation (published in May of 2015), the following evaluations were originally published on the DFTA's site in May of 2014 incorporating only information collected prior to the publication date. DFTA evaluations hold for two years, unless significant changes are made to a program. At this time, the DFTA is undergoing a revisions process of our own standards as well as re-evaluating the programs which may reflect changes they have made. We look forward to publishing the results upon completion of this phase. 


  = all DFTA principles have a check or check-plus

 = 11-12 DFTA principles have a check or check-plus

 = 8-10 DFTA principles have a check or check plus

  = 5-7 DFTA principles have a check or check-plus

 = 2-4 DFTA principles have a check or check-plus

0 Stars = 0-1 DFTA principle has a check or check plus


Food Justice Certified (program of the Agricultural Justice Project)

Food Justice Certified is a strong, credible program with an overall high bar approach to both farmers' welfare and workers' rights. There are, however, weaknesses in a small handful of specific areas the DFTA would like to see improvements.

For more information, click here.


Fair for Life

Fair for Life certification contains some very positive elements that can serve a s a model for other programs and hased closed some the troubling loopholes for labor protections that exist in some other fair trade programs. However, some deficiencies and concerns still exist. 

For more information, click here.


Fair Trade USA

DFTA Evaluaton of Fair Trade USA is currently being revised to reflect program changes and updates. 



Fairtrade International

DFTA Evaluaton of Fairtrade International is currently being revised to reflect program changes and updates. 



Rainforest Alliance

No Stars 

While Rainforest Alliance Certified appears to have some positive impacts for communities in the Global South, there are multiple weaknesses and deficiencies in the program that are of serious concern. 

For more information, click here.


Food Alliance

No Stars

Overall Food Alliance Certified falls too short of what the DFTA considers to be a claim of "fair working conditions" for the DFTA to recommend or support it. 

For more information, click here.


Equitable Food Intiative

No Stars

Equitable Food Initiative is in essence a farmworkers label. Its approach to workers’ rights and participation meets the DFTA criteria expectations. EFI’s significant deficiencies and concerns are mainly ones of omission rather than commission; specifically, the absence of support for small scale farms and long-term, direct and fair trading relationships.

For more information, click here.



Instructions for using the web interface:

This page provides a general overview of the fair trade and social justice claim landscape and links to access points for the detailed information and findings.

  • The tab "For More Information Click Here" listed under each program sends the reader to the program's claim in its own words and a summary of findings, including a narrative of its performance in addressing and meeting our principles. Clicking on the name of the program at the top of the Chart achieves the same result
  • The "Key to Chart" identifies the eight symbols used to represent the programs' qualities and relationships.
  • By hovering over any symbol in the Chart a pop up box will appear with the findings related to any of the six Summary Indicators found in the left hand column. When appropriate, a specific reference or citation from the program's materials is referenced.

Programs included in the current evaluation:

  • FJC / AJP: Agricultural Justice Project’s Food Justice Certified program is a partnership of four NGO's and is currently active in North America.
  • FFL: Fair for Life is a certification program of the Institute for Marketecology (IMO), described as department of the Bio-Foundation based in Switzerland. 
  • FTUSA: FairTrade USA a more recent program and organization that previously was affiliated to FLO.
  • FLO: FairTrade Certified governed by the FairTrade Labeling Organization and FLO-CERT and including FairTrade America its North American affiliate.
  • RA: Rainforest Alliance Certified is implemented and oversen by Rainforest Alliance and the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) a coalition of independent non-profit conservation organizations. 
  • FA: Food Alliance Certified is governed and implemented by the Food Alliance.
  • EFI: The Equitable Food Initiative is a new, multi-ogranizational program currently active on the West Coast of the United States.

Plans are already underway to add more programs as resources allow.

Read more about our methodology here

Read our statement of purpose here.

Key to Chart
The program is exemplary and meets the DFTA's criteria expectations. The program has some innovative approaches to this issue that may serve as a model.
The program appears to have a comprehensive approach to this issue in general alignment with DFTA criteria. There are some concerns or issues to highlight regarding the program's approach to this issue.
The program addresses this issue and may meet some of the criteria, but significant concerns, questions, or shortcomings compromise the approach. There is inadequate information or outstanding questions preventing a reliable assessment of the program's approach to this issue.
The program either does not address the issue at all, or clearly fails to address it in a manner consistent with DFTA criteria. Not applicable / not addressed by program

Programs with fair trade claims (domestic and/or international)

Programs with no fair trade claims, but addressing certain fair trade principles

Summary Indicator
1. The Bottom Line
2. Supports small scale and/or family farms
3. Ensures decent working conditions for farm and food workers
4. Supports long-term, direct, and fair trading relationships
5. Adequately restricts materials and practices that are harmful to people and the environment
6. The program is implemented well and has thorough monitoring in place

For a print version of this summary, please click here.