As of July this year, FLOCERT will use an updated toolset to check trader compliance, based on a combination of state-of-the-art assurance methods and tools. While this does not require any immediate action from our trader customers, it will bring about some changes in the way we audit certified traders. Here are more details about our updated toolset’s main features.
As of July 2023, as a trader customer you will receive a mix of onsite, digital and remote audits, tailored to your company’s profile and supported by data from our technical systems. This variety of tools allows us to extend the certification cycle from three to five years.
With this innovation, we aim to improve and modernise our assurance work without increasing costs for you. The updated toolset allows us to leverage our competence, processes, data insights and technology, responding to the current and future needs of the Fairtrade system. As a customer, you will benefit from smoother audits and highly informed auditors. Trust in the Fairtrade Mark will also be strengthened as we will be able to detect more effectively and quickly if a company is not following the Fairtrade Standards.
These are the main new features of our updated toolset:
Extended certification cycle: The mix of assurance tools allows us to extend the certification cycle for traders to five years. We will therefore conduct renewal audits every five years. During this cycle, there will be a mix of onsite and remote focused audits, and digital audits. To reflect the prolonged cycle, your current certificate will be extended by two years. You will automatically receive your updated certificate via the Intact Platform over the course of this year.
Inclusion of digital audits: We introduced this new audit type (which requires no direct customer involvement) as a complementary tool in 2021. Now, every customer will have a digital audit once per certification cycle. This audit allows us to identify potential compliance issues by exploring the data a company has reported in the Fairtrace platform. The audit covers all transactions and focuses on critical criteria, such as ensuring that the supply chain is certified and the correct Fairtrade Minimum Price and Premium are paid.
Continuation of remote audits: These audits have been a necessity since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and have proven to be a highly credible assurance tool for audits where no physical checks are needed. For these cases, a remote audit will replace one onsite audit in the new certification cycle.
Dashboards supporting auditors: Our auditors can now use dashboards based on business intelligence solutions to prepare for audits, for example, by identifying in advance possible deviations or topics worth investigating and discussing during the audit.
Fairtrace alerts: This tool scans our reporting platform Fairtrace for critical compliance and reporting issues and sends automated notifications to certification analysts so they can take action immediately. These alerts enable us to monitor compliance based on almost real-time information and thus quickly clear up any discrepancies directly rather than being flagged during audits.
E-learning induction for new customers: To ensure that all new customers enter the system with a minimum level of knowledge on specific relevant topics, we have launched an e-learning induction initiative. This training supports new customers in their certification journey, preventing common mistakes.
We will start applying these features as of 1 July 2023. If you have an audit coming up, we will – as usual – contact you beforehand with information on how it will be carried out.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Customer Service Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org.