Blog | 05 June 2019

Our awesome clients: FLOCERT

This time round in our series of “Our awesome clients”, we’re shining the light on FLOCERT, the global certifier for Fairtrade. We love what they do for the people providing the produce we all find in our local supermarkets.

FLOCERT’s core business is auditing producers and traders making sure all the actors in global supply chains are fully compliant with the Fairtrade standards – lending the black, blue and green Fairtrade mark its credibility. At the same time, FLOCERT supports Fairtrade in promoting better prices and fair terms of trade for farmers and decent working conditions for workers in the developing world.

FLOCERT is mission-driven and aims at improving the lives of producers and workers in developing countries. It is a social business, using its income to make a positive impact on our society and the environment – profits have never been the company’s focus. In order to guarantee that FLOCERT takes credible and independent decisions in its certification work, they are accredited to the ISO 17065 norm for certifiers and are audited themselves by the German National Accreditation body DAkkS.

A cotton audit in India
A cotton audit in India – © FLOCERT GmbH

They provide services to help companies source products with the Fairtrade principles in mind, even if none are legally required. They hope to encourage companies to not only act fairly when trading to acquire qualifications or certificates, but so that these practices become daily habits, thereby making trade on the whole a much more secure undertaking for the producers.

With its headquarters in Germany and offices in Costa Rica, India, the United States and South Africa, FLOCERT operates in over 120 countries allowing for global reach and local presence. FLOCERT services over 1.6 million small farmers and workers in developing and emerging countries, as well as many traders and brands.

Carrying out a Fairtrade producer audit in Costa Rica
Carrying out a Fairtrade producer audit in Costa Rica – © FLOCERT GmbH

In 2013, we were contacted by Neo to build the new site they were designing for FLOCERT. The main objectives were to make the site more client-focused and its design more consistent. Because many of the producer clients are located in areas where internet connections are limited, there was also a need to reduce the loading time and make it easy to navigate on mobile. So, we ensured producers the world over have easy access to FLOCERT’s information, in both English and Spanish versions of the site.

In 2017 FLOCERT relaunched their site and expanded the range of languages by adding French, Portugese and German. We also focused on improving the ability to search the wealth of information that FLOCERT makes available to their clients.

Rather than searching through dense PDF documents to find the relevant certification compliance criteria, potential customers can now answer a series of questions and be provided with a personalised compliance criteria document. Similarly, a fee calculator allows potential customers to estimate how much certification would cost by answering questions about their organisation. We also made it easier for visitors to the site to search the database of customers to find suppliers by product, country, status or keyword. Search results are presented either as a list or on a map.

Another clever feature helps to ensure that anyone can access FLOCERT’s information in a speedy fashion – the text-only version of the site. This functionality detects if the visitor is on a slow connection and, if so, asks whether they would like to visit the text-only site. This has almost all images and unnecessary styling stripped out, and visitors can switch between the text-only and “full” sites as they wish.

Workers on a certified flower farm in Ethiopia
Workers on a certified flower farm in Ethiopia – © FLOCERT GmbH

As always, we have learnt a lot from the challenges this collaboration provided, such as working with a client abroad. We are proud of the tight relationship we have established and honoured to be working with such a dedicated team, focusing on such a great cause. We look forward to maintaining this partnership for as long as there is a Fairtrade mark.