UTZ is an initiative for responsible growing of cocoa, coffee and tea based in the Netherlands. It has offices in the United States, Switzerland, and Japan, which strictly monitor compliance with the standards set out in the program. In 2007, over 52,000 tons of UTZ certified coffee was sold, making it the world’s largest certified coffee program.
There are three sets of requirements that coffee-producing farms must meet to obtain a UTZ certificate – social, ecological, and agro-economic.
Social requirements are aimed at improving the quality of life of farm workers. These include the observance of national laws on age, working time, insurance, working conditions and security, access to medical assistance for workers and their families, acceptable living conditions and housing, access to clean drinking water. In terms of security, workers are required to learn in their native language how to handle chemicals and wear protective clothing during this activity. An important element is the promotion of free expression of cultural forms and the provision of education for children.
Among the environmental requirements is the reduction of soil erosion, the minimal use of agrochemicals, integrated pest management, the reduction of pollution, the optimization of the use of sustainable energy, the cleaning of contaminated water, the protection of water resources, forests and species, endangered by extinction, and the use of local trees that provide shade in coffee plantations.
Farmers must also comply with agro-economic requirements such as business process monitoring, fertilization documentation and agrochemicals, product tracking and hygiene maintenance. Workers must undergo compulsory training, and in case of disaster or emergency situations, special procedures should be applied. Internal inspections are expected to be conducted.
The origin of each item can be traced through an online application. Each year, the coffee grower is required to produce documents to verify the performance and maintenance of each of the above criteria.
Rainforest Alliance is a non-governmental organization (NGO) working to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices, and consumer behavior.
The main objective of the organization is achieving practically sustainable agro-cultures. It has training programs aimed at small, medium and large farms that produce over 100 different crops such as avocado, cinnamon, coffee, cocoa, potatoes, palm oil, tea, bananas, and others.
Most of the Rainforest Alliance certified farms have small production – about 75% or 780,000 farms.
To obtain a certificate, farms must meet the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) standard for biodiversity, forests, waterways, regulated use of chemicals, and the welfare of workers and the community.
Another main goal of the organization is to encourage and educate consumers to choose products from small certified manufacturers.
Without meeting these criteria, the farm cannot obtain a certificate: ecosystems conservation program, wildlife habitat conservation, water ways, prohibition of discrimination at work, banning the employment of children under the age of 15, guidelines for agrochemical use and banning transgenic crops.
In early January 2018, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ merged under the name Rainforest Alliance. The aim is to combine good practices from both organizations, leading to even more successful sustainable development.