Get a taste of sustainability

Demand for sustainability-sourced coffee is up and one company is looking to meet that demand while raising living standards for farmers

Sustainability is important for everyone. After all, our future is at stake. In order to be able to make a substantial contribution to sustainability, UTZ Certified has adopted a practical approach, working together with existing brands. The manufacturers of these brands need raw materials on a large scale – raw materials that are produced by farmers in developing countries. By increasing the sustainability of these raw materials, we are able to raise the standard of living of a large number of farming communities.

The importance of sustainable production for multinational companies is emphasised in the report The Third Industrial Revolution, written by ING. Multinationals should commit to the producers in upcoming markets such as Brazil, by passing on knowledge and investing in the economic development of these countries.

UTZ Certified: providing practical solutions for coffee farmers

Companies who fail to do so should take into account that this will eventually lead to a weakening of their own market position, according to ING. The bank calls this development ‘the third industrial revolution’.

UTZ Certified supports the position for sustainable sourcing that has been pointed out in the report. Sustainability is emerging from the niche position where it has been over the past years. This becomes evident through the increasing demand for sustainably sourced coffee and also through the increased willingness to invest in and commit to sustainability by the mainstream market’s biggest players such as Sara Lee, an important partner of UTZ Certified. It is no longer just an issue of poverty reduction – it is about achieving more efficient production and increased cost-efficiencies.

Sustainable agriculture starts with knowledge being passed on to the producers about how to manage their farms. UTZ Certified therefore trains farmers and provides them with practical solutions for common challenges in the area of coffee farming. The UTZ Certified sustainability programme works from a top- down approach using the UTZ Certified code to meet market requirements, as well as a bottom- up approach analysing the major problem areas for farmers on issues that have the most impact on income and sustainability.

UTZ Certified is convinced that increasing sustainability should also reinforce the independent position of farmers. This is why farmers are trained in the professionalisation of their agricultural practice and operational management. This improves the quality of their products and allows them to produce higher volumes at lower costs and, in turn, improves their standard of living as it enables the farmers to negotiate a better price for a better product. Moreover, farmers who work with UTZ Certified in the global marketplace receive a premium for their crop and they do not have to pay for taking part in the programme.

Its no longer just an issue of poverty reduction – it is about achieving more efficient production and increased cost-efficiencies

By working with a strict code of conduct, UTZ Certified sets stringent requirements for the farmers when it comes to the sustainable growing of coffee, cocoa and tea. Their operational management is checked by independent third parties.

The UTZ Certified tracking system subsequently guarantees that the raw materials have actually been grown and harvested in a responsible manner.

UTZ Certified has grown to become one of the largest sustainability programmes for coffee, cocoa and tea in the world: one-third of all coffee that is sustainably traded worldwide is certified by UTZ. Brands that have committed themselves to the sourcing of sustainable UTZ Certified raw materials are global market leaders. One of those market leaders is Sara Lee, roaster of Douwe Egberts coffee.

Sara Lee’s approach to sustainability means sourcing commodities in a sustainable way, improving efficiency of their manufacturing processes, bringing responsible products to the market and supporting local farming communities in origin countries.

Sara Lee chose a certification programme to work with which best fitted with their broader objectives. Based on intensive research by Sara Lee, the values associated with UTZ Certified are closely linked to consumers’ expectations of a certification programme and also match the company’s goals very well.

In the past five years Sara Lee has become the world’s largest buyer of UTZ Certified coffee thanks to cumulative purchases of more than 110m kilos of coffee. Today the company committed to more than triple that amount over the next five years and will purchase at least 350m kilos across all its markets and product segments. The company estimates that its sustainability investments can give coffee farmers, their associations and representatives up to $100m of additional income over what they would have earned by selling uncertified coffee beans in the open market.

In November 2010, Douwe Egberts UK underlined this commitment and took an important step in its journey towards sustainability, pledging that by 2013 only 100 per cent UTZ Certified beans would be used in its ground coffee products. Its new range of coffees – being launched in late October 2011 – contain an ever-increasing amount of sustainably sourced, UTZ Certified coffee, and meet the needs of coffee drinkers in every way.

The coffees are suitable for all coffee makers and each of the six blends has its own unique flavour, so there’s sure to be something to suit every mood or occasion. Join UTZ Certified on the journey to sustainability; enjoy your favourite Douwe Egberts coffee while at the same time contributing to a more sustainable world.

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