Fair Trade Certification Explained

Organizations vs. Products

We often get asked, "What does it mean to be the 1st and Only WFTO Fair Trade footwear brand on the planet. After all people say there are other people who say their shoes are Fair Trade as well.”

The Charter of Fair Trade recognizes two different approaches to Fair Trade: the product certification route (used by FLO) and the integrated supply-chain route (used by WFTO). 

The ‘product certification route’ guarantees fair production of a specific product.


The integrated supply-chain route  which is a system in which all the actors across the chain – everyone from producers, to exporter/importers, wholesalers, retailers, etc. -  are jointly committed to Fair Trade and fair practices.

The World Fair Trade Organization is strongly committed to the ‘integrated supply-chain’ model, in which Fair Trade Organizations (FTO) have Fair Trade at the core of their activities. soleRebels proudly  follows and promotes this approach. In fact we become the 1st and to date only WFTO footwear brand precisely because we wanted to show the ENTIRETY of what we Do and what we are about is enveloped by Fair Trade.

WFTO has an independent verification and monitoring system (the WFTO Guarantee System) that guarantees that its members act according to the 10 Fair Trade principles  as a whole organization. WFTO members thus represent the entire  supply chain from producer to sale and hence respect Fair Trade principles on all levels. This implies that products are imported and/or distributed by organizations that have Fair Trade at the core of their mission and activities, using it as a development tool to support disadvantaged producers and to reduce poverty, and combine their marketing with awareness-raising and campaigning.

The WFTO approach differs substantially and substantively from the labelling initiatives in which products complying with international standards are certified indicating that they have been produced, traded, processed and/or packaged in accordance with the specific requirements of those international standards.

The Bottom Line: WFTO guarantees that an entire organizations’ behaviors and commitments are Fair Trade, whereas other schemes certify only a product as being “fair trade”.