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UTZ Certified sets 50% target for sustainable coffee, tea and cocoa by 2022

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 15-Oct-2012

UTZ Certified has said it will aim for half of the world’s coffee, tea and cocoa to be produced sustainably by 2022, at a tenth anniversary seminar held in Amsterdam this week.

That aim covers the 4% to 5% of the world’s coffee already certified as sustainable under the UTZ Certified scheme, as well as that covered by other sustainability schemes. UTZ Certified also certifies tea and cocoa as sustainable, although in smaller quantities – but its goal is to help build demand for sustainable production for all three commodities over the next decade.

According to UTZ Certified’s corporate communications officer Stephanie de Heer, about 8% to 10% of the total global coffee market is certified as sustainably produced under a range of programmes, and coffee is currently the most successful of the three crops in terms of sustainable certification. She acknowledged that reaching the 50% target for certified sustainable coffee, tea and cocoa is a lofty goal.

“We are not close at all, so it’s quite ambitious,” she said, but added that some regions are more active than others.

The Netherlands, for instance, already sells 40% of its coffee from certified sustainable sources.

“It is realistic. Of course it is ambitious – we are very aware of that, but there is room for growth. Sustainability is no longer in the niche it was before. It is becoming integrated in company policies,” she said.

Increasing the proportion of sustainably produced tea, coffee and cocoa is an effort that needs to start with investment in origins, de Heer said, with support at the other end of the supply chain in encouraging companies to commit to sustainable sourcing.

“It is about using the industry as a motor, rather than trying to get the consumer to pay more,” she said. “I think it is mainly industry-driven, as long as you can have a win-win situation.”

UTZ Certified has seen interest in sustainably sourced cocoa soar over the past couple of years, she said, while tea supply is largely focused on domestic markets.

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