UTZ Certified

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UTZ Certified, dt UTZ UTZ -certified or short, is a program and label for sustainable cultivation of agricultural products. The program is operated since 2002 by an eponymous foundation with headquarters in Amsterdam. It maintains claims to be the biggest label program for coffee worldwide and also certified tea, rooibos and cocoa. Requirement for certification compliance with a code of conduct by the farmers, the social criteria sets and demands on the environmental impact and efficient management.


The Dutch coffee roaster Ahold Coffee Company, part of the food giant Ahold, the UTZ program founded in 1997 in collaboration with Guatemalan coffee farmers under the name Utz Kapeh, " good coffee " in the Maya Quiché language. The goal was to promote responsible, sustainable coffee production, global foothold in the market and create transparency along the supply chain. The first settlement they founded in 1999 in Guatemala City. In 2002, Utz was an independent foundation with headquarters in Amsterdam and led Utz- certified coffee in the market. In 2007, the organization renamed itself Utz certified, because its activity to other areas, such as cocoa and tea, stretched.

Financing of the Foundation

UTZ Certified is financed by donations and by administrative fees that are levied on the buyers of certified products. So the charge for a cocoa buyers according to buyer size is annually from 250 € to 4000 € plus 10 € per ton of cocoa purchased, with discounts for large quantities.

In 2011, the Foundation through donations and grants 1.41 million euros, 3.88 million euros through management fees and other unspecified contributions 0.26 million euros a.

Code of Conduct

The criteria of the UTZ Certified go from the private sector standard GlobalGAP, formerly EurepGAP, of good agricultural practice. The traceability and transparency system goes beyond this standard. Accordingly, UTZ Certified focuses particularly on the management of farms, especially small farmers. In contrast to Fair Trade certified UTZ Certified sets no minimum sale price, but leaves the pricing of the market. The advantage over a mere compliance with the GlobalGAP criteria exists for producers and distributors in the fact that compliance with the criteria and the merchants of end users is visible through the label. Whether compliance with the UTZ criteria is rewarded financially, ultimately depends on the willingness of buyers to pay a premium for certified products. Compared to systems of Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International and Rainforest Alliance, it is considered by some authors as the most market-oriented.

To become certified, farmers do not meet all the criteria from the beginning of the relevant Code of Conduct. So certified companies must ensure, for example, until the third year of certification that a trained first aid staff is present there. Even products with UTZ seal must not contain 100% certified raw materials, in 2013 the proportion required was 60%.


To ensure the traceability of UTZ Certified products, certified Farmers need their grown according to the standards of the organization products fully document and keep away from uncertified products at any time. Additional documentation requirements relating to compliance with other standards, for example, must be led a list of all used and pre -preserved fertilizers.


Instead of fixed environmental standards of the Code of Conduct requires only that environmental aspects are considered in the crop planning regularly. So no fertilizers are excluded for coffee cultivation except raw sewage, but the companies have to demonstrate expertise in dealing with fertilizers, follow a documented fertilization plan and document the actual application of manure.

The codes include the use of genetically modified seeds is not sufficient, but only demand transparency towards the Foundation and buyers.


The social criteria are based on conventions of the International Labour Organization. Workers must be allowed to organize and collectively negotiate rates. Forced labor and the employment of children under 15 is prohibited. Young people between 15 and 18 years may not be employed in hazardous or detrimental to their health activities. With the use of harmful pesticides protective clothing is to be made available.

The "normal" total working time must not exceed 48 hours per week. Overtime must be paid, may be demanded on a regular basis and not exceed 12 hours per week. Corporal punishment are prohibited.

Local minimum wages are to be observed and pay for equal work equal. Additional requirements to the wage level does not exist.


To ensure compliance with all criteria, the Foundation provides annual inspections by independent auditors.


Products with the UTZ Certified label are an Internet-based system from the farmer to the producer of the finished product ( coffee roaster ) traceable. This traceability system is made initiative for palm oil and cotton available in cooperation with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and the Better Cotton.

Market effects

In 2008, claims to be about 0.8 % of world coffee production and 383 producers were UTZ certified. Most of the producers were located in South America. The market share was slightly lower than that of FLO- certified coffee. UTZ Certified is distributed worldwide. One-third of in any form "sustainable" designated as coffee is provided with the UTZ Certified seal of approval. In the first half of 2012 a total of 93 703 tons of certified coffee, 1,500 tons of certified tea and 59,800 tonnes of certified cocoa were sold, according to UTZ Certified.

In Germany there are on the market, such as sweets, pastries and coffee since 2011 UTZ -certified products. Large producers of sweets and pastries as well as discounters have partially or completely changed for Germany and Switzerland on UTZ certified cocoa and coffee or announced this.


In July 2012, the magazine Ökotest published an article in the UTZ Certified as was "unfair" declared because the standard does not provide for pre-financing of seed and no minimum purchase prices. The Foundation has published a response to the article in which it states that UTZ Certified Certify no fair trade and do not claim their work but overall positive effect on tropical farmers. In addition, the Rainforest Alliance and UTZ Certified already shared in February 2011, Fair Trade, in a joint press statement that they total the same objective in spite of different standards, namely to change the production and processing of agricultural products around the world and align sustainable.