Below is a step-by-step guide to how FTT certification works.
NB Certification is not required for businesses to use this system; it is an entirely optional service that we offer to tourism businesses that want to communicate to the market that their commitment to Fair Trade and responsible tourism has been independently verified.
Certification audit preparation
- Become a member of Fair Trade Tourism. This gives you access to the FTT sustainability management system - a developmental framework based on the FTT standard.
- Work your way through the "reporting" section of the FTT management system, involving key members of your team and getting them engaged with the guidance, peer pointers, and inspiration from best practice and examples of what others are doing.
- Adapt your current operations, where necessary, to embrace a more Fair Trade & responsible tourism way of doing business. The guidance and support tools will help you every step of the way to design something that is suitable for your business context.
- Once completed, the report serves as the application / submission for FTT certification.
- A business that has completed its report and wants to be FTT-certified can contact FTT directly to let us know you're ready.
Submit your certification application
- FTT will review your online report, which serves as your application for a certification audit. FTT will confirm that it is complete and correctly populated. If not, FTT will provide guidance on what needs to be revised. If so, an audit will be awarded.
- An individual from FTT's team of independent, trained auditors will be assigned by FTT - not by the applicant - to carry out the audit.
- Audit payment must be made in full at this time. Please contact us directly about currrent pricing as we are piloting a new approach to certification audits to try and reduce costs.
- Audit dates, time, logistics, and audit process information will be communicated between the assigned auditor and the business.
- For first time applicants, the audit comprises of online and on site verification components.
- The online component entails a review of the business' report as populated and submitted through this platform.
- The on site component is required to verify that the reality on the ground matches up with the submission. Site verification requires that the auditor gather corroborating evidence to support the claims of the online report, where necessary. This is done through observations and interviews.
- Certification renewal candidates are eligible for a combination of online and virtual site audits (currently being piloted).
- To pass an audit, a business is required to meet 100% of the "mandatory" criteria, and 75% of the "general criteria" in the FTT standard. The latter is in recognition of the fact that a business' operating environment, market realities, and priorities are constantly changing, as well as to provide opportunity for continuous improvement and to progress along the journey.
- After concluding the audit, which includes a closing meeting to discuss any non-conformities noted, the auditor will submit an audit report and their recommendation regarding certification. Corrective actions required and additional suggestions will be reflected in this report.
- Based on the audit report, a decision will be taken regarding whether or not to award certification.
- Should corrective actions first be required, the business will have three (3) calendar months to provide evidence that these have been implemented.
Awarding FTT certification
- If an audit is passed, a business will then be given the right to use the FTT-certified logo to communicate its Fair Trade Tourism-certified status for the scope of its offering that was audited. Only the logo provided may be used by the business and then only according to the logo use guidelines (available under "Documents" once you have logged in to your profile).
- Appeals against the findings of the independent audit or decision regarding awarding of FTT certification may be lodged in accordance with FTT's certification protocols (available to all FTT members).
- The audit cycle is 3 yearly, i.e., independent audits of business performance against the FTT standard are conducted every three (3) years.
- FTT-certified businesses are provided with a certificate which reflects the validity dates, unique certificate number, and scope of certification awarded. FTT-certified must be publicly communicated by all FTT-certified businesses.
- Should any member of FTT or the public have a concern regarding the actions or services of FTT, or any of its certified members, they are invited to lodge a complaint with FTT at info(at)fairtradetourism.org.
- Complaints may be lodged for any of the following reasons: the sustainability conduct / performance of a business certified by FTT; inaccurate or unauthorised use of any of FTT's logos; or the activities of FTT itself.
- Complaints must be directed to FTT in writing within 30 days of the offending action coming to the attention of the claimant.
- Complaints must be substantiated; hearsay will not be considered as grounds for a complaint to be investigated.
- The complaint will be reviewed and, where found to have merit, investigated by FTT.
- Where complaints are found to be based on actions that are not aligned with FTT principles and the FTT standards, FTT will support businesses to correct any performance-related issues in the spirit of encouraging better tourism. Where this is not possible, or where the buisness is not willing to take corrective action, sanctions will be reviewed and applied, including de-certification where necessary.