What does the UTZ certification provide for the farmers?
The below visual summarizes it nicely; UTZ certified farmers are required to implement good agricultural practises, working conditions and take better care of the environment and next generations. In return, the UTZ program contributes to a better crop, better income, better environment and a better life for all.
What is the cost of the UTZ certification to a farmer?
Farmers don’t pay any fee for joining the UTZ program, as we want to make membership as accessible as possible to enable more small farmers to adopt sustainable farming practices. They do have to pay for their yearly certification audits and investments necessary to implement the UTZ requirements, for which they can use the premium they receive for selling certified cocoa.
What are the key criteria regarding following principles?
a) People - UTZ farmers must create a safe & healthy work environment. Examples include: protective clothing, proper housing for workers, and access to clean drinking water, sanitation and health care. Child labor is prohibited and farmers are stimulated to send their children to school.
b) Planet - UTZ farmers need to be careful and efficient in the ways they use land, water and energy. Examples include: prevention of deforestation, reduction of artificial fertilizers, respect for protected areas, plants and wildlife and efficient waste collection.
c) Profit - UTZ farmers learn to manage their farm in a profitable way. They are trained to use better farming methods that lead to better quality crops and higher yields at lower costs. Farmers negotiate a better price for their products and generate a higher income.
d) Traceability - The UTZ label on a product is a guarantee for consumers that their purchase is supporting sustainable farming. All farmers and manufacturers must register their transactions of UTZ certified products in an online system. This ensures full traceability throughout the supply chain.
How do you measure the impact created by the UTZ certification?
Monitoring and evaluation are an essential part of our program and we invest in studies that assess the economic, social and environmental impacts of UTZ. This helps our process of continuous improvement and enables companies which source UTZ certified products to communicate the impact of sustainable sourcing to their consumers. Have a look at the impact of UTZ.
What is the main impact that you’ve been able to create? What are you most proud of?
UTZ wants sustainable farming to become the most natural thing in the world. Not only for cocoa, but also for coffee, tea and hazelnut farming. Currently UTZ is the largest certification program for cocoa and coffee in the world. We work with a large number of companies globally which together sell their UTZ certified products in 136 countries. This enables us to support more and more farmers and their families to achieve their ambitions. And we’re on the right track, we have already reached more than a million farmers and workers in 36 countries!
Hearing from farmers themselves about how joining UTZ changed their lives in a positive way is what makes us most proud. A study with cocoa farmers in Cote d‘Ivoire for example showed that 92% of farmers experienced positive changes from certification.
What is the biggest challenge or area of development of the UTZ?
UTZ wants to make sustainable farming the norm. Certification has been proven effective; we are already positively impacting the lives of more than a million farmers and workers, and their families around the world. However we realize that certification alone is not enough to achieve this.
Many issues UTZ works on have causes beyond the farm level, such as child labor, gender inequality and climate change. These are the most critical issues for farmers, whether they are certified or not and where we need to see change on a sector level. But we can’t do this alone, to tackle these structural issues, we must work togehter in partnerships with governments, civil society and the private sector.
That’s why UTZ has expanded its strategy from 2016 onwards. We will be finding new ways to work with market leading companies on sustainability as well as building the capacity of farmer groups and NGOs to drive change on these important topics.
To make cocoa sustainable, cocoa farming should provide a living income. What is the most efficient action to reach this?
Making a living from farming is tough, there’s no doubt about it. But the UTZ program is about making the farmer’s business more viable in the long run. UTZ certified farmers increase their income by growing better crops. They are trained to use better farming methods that lead to a better quality product and higher yields at lower costs. Farmers can get a better price for these better quality products. Additionally they receive a variable premium on top of the market price.
More information: www.utz.org