All members of WFTO are aligned at global and regional levels. This means that once an application has been approved, that organization will automatically become a member at both WFTO (global) and WFTO-Europe.
Becoming a full WFTO Member happens in two steps – each step has unique procedures and carries different rights and responsibilities.
This two-step process is valid for all types of members, except for associates (Associate Organizations and Individual Associates). An organization is first a provisional member, and then once they have completed the Guarantee System process they become a Guaranteed Member.
STEP 1 : Becoming a Provisional Member
1. Submit the Application
– Fully complete the Membership Profile Form available here. Please ensure you include the complete contact details for three referees in section 4. They should be easy to contact by e-mail in order to speed up the process. One of your referees must be a WFTO member.
– Attach all the required documents
– Email the completed Form and documents to membership[at]wfto-europe.org.
If your organization is eligible for WFTO membership, you will be invoiced a Application Fee. We start processing your application once the payment has been confirmed.
2. Contacting your Referees
Obtaining references may cause major delays in your application. If you wish to speed up the process, get in touch with your referees by the time you submit your application.
As soon as the application file is complete with the references and in-country comments (we will ask all other WFTO members in the same country to comment on the organisation applying for membership), the WFTO Board considers the application for approval. If your application is approved, you will be invoiced for membership fees and receive provisional membership status once the payment is confirmed.
STEP 2 : Becoming a WFTO Full Member
The procedure for gaining full membership depends on the type of your organization:
1. Trading Organizations
If you are a trading organization, you are required to go through the WFTO Guarantee System within one year. To do this, you will have to submit a Self-Assessment Report and be checked by an external audit (approved by WFTO).
Once your organization has gone through its first monitoring cycle and gained full membership, WFTO will inform the member of its risk assessment and its monitoring schedule for the next years. All trading members will be regularly assessed against the WFTO Standard (the criteria to asses compliance with the WFTO Fair Trade Principles), including:
– a Self-Assessment Report (every 2 years);
– Peer visits by peers nominated by the member but approved by WFTO (every 2-6 years depending on the risk category); and
– Monitoring audits by an approved WFTO auditor (every 2-6 years depending on the risk category).
The peer visits should happen in between the monitoring audits. Together these three phases will constitute your monitoring cycle and it is your obligation to keep attention to the deadlines for each, but WFTO will remind you when these are approaching.
2. Fair Trade Support Organizations and Networks of Fair Trade Organizations
Support or Network FTOs do not have the same obligations in the Guarantee System as trading members. Unless they opt to fulfil the requirements of the Guarantee System, they may not use the WFTO Product label.
When Fair Trade support or network organizations apply to be members of WFTO, they need to complete the Self Assessment Report for all the compliance criteria which apply to them. They will also undergo an initial monitoring audit and peer visit.
However after they are admitted as full members they are not given a monitoring schedule in the Guarantee System, and do not have to undergo periodic Peer visits and Monitoring audits. They also do not have to fill in a Self Assessment Report every 2 years.
However to remain as members they will need to send their audited accounts and Annual Report to WFTO every year.
2.1 Support or Network FTOs with some trading activity
Some organizations are admitted as Fair Trade support or network FTOs even though they do some trading as a minor part of their activities. When they do their initial Self Assessment they will need to answer all the questions which apply to them, and their initial audit will look at their trading activity.
If they however wish to use the WFTO Product Label on any of their products , then they will need to comply with all the requirements of the Guarantee System for trading members. They will receive a monitoring schedule and undergo Peer visits and Monitoring audits as well as complete a Self Assessment every 2 years as explained in section 1 under step 2 above.
How much will it cost you ?
The application procedure includes an Application Fee set according to your organisation’s size/income. This will be invoiced to you once we have received your complete application and are set to process it.
Once you have been approved as a provisional member, you will be invoiced for membership and a monitoring fees.
The current fees can be viewed here.
To learn more about the application procedure and the WFTO Guarantee System, please visit the WFTO website.
Last updated: August 2017