"When you buy UTZ certified coffee, cocoa, tea or hazelnut products, you help build a better future".
This is how UTZ certification, which since its inception has focused on farmers and their families without forgetting the planet, presents itself in simple but concise terms. The program implemented by UTZ aims to enable all those involved in the daily processing of natural products to apply the most modern farming methods, thus improving both the quality and quantity of the products.
UTZ, premium raw materials and labor
Obtaining UTZ certification, however, is not an easy challenge. No one can achieve perfection without putting in many hours of work and effort. Before being awarded the seal of approval, each product must demonstrate compliance with numerous strict requirements that are closely monitored by independent testing institutes. This requires good agricultural practices and management that respects the environment and all workers. The focus is on healthy working conditions that comply with the law. Particular energy is devoted to the fight against child labor and forced labor, which are unfortunately still widespread in the poorest regions of the world. The overriding goal is, of course, the protection of the environment.
The UTZ certification program was born as "UTZ kapeh" (pronounced: o͞otz kahpāy), which means "good coffee" in the Guatemalan Mayan language Quiché. Founded in 2002 as the result of a joint initiative between a farmer in Guatemala and a Dutch coffee roaster with the intention of promoting the impact of sustainable agricultural practices worldwide. In the meantime, the certification has now reached extraordinary goals, mainly thanks to the support of the Rainforest Alliance, of which it has been a member since 2018.
UTZ and Rainforest - A Union to Save the Environment
Since their merger, the UTZ and Rainforest Alliance Certified programs have worked in perfect synchronization, sharing the common goal of creating a better market for both the people involved and for nature. Today, the UTZ brand is being phased out as it has been almost fully integrated into the Rainforest Alliance brand. The launch of the new certification, initiated by the Rainforest Alliance in mid-2020, is now considered decisive. For this reason, the two organizations have been working in recent months to facilitate a smooth and correct transition from the UTZ mark to the Rainforest seal, so that all products that have already achieved this recognition can continue to exist in the market. A shared commitment to promote a production method that invests in and rewards sustainable production. A commitment that is appreciated by consumers who trust and can believe in the product that comes to their table.
To make a difference in the world, sometimes you have to take an interest in the most mundane things that most forget or neglect because they are taken for granted or undervalued. Sustainability is one of them, but thanks to the efforts of UTZ and the Rainforest Alliance, as described on the organizations' official website, more than 50 percent of the world's sustainably grown coffee, tea and cocoa fall under UTZ's purview.
"It is the little things, the everyday acts of ordinary people, that keep the darkness at bay." J.R.R. Tolkien
Even J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of the famous fantasy saga Lord of the Rings, sensed the importance of the details and the less sublime actions. UTZ has practically taken up the baton, proving itself to be an attentive and committed partner for the betterment of society. Thanks to its work, the value of raw materials and products bearing the certification seal has increased and they have assumed a prominent position in the international market.
The future is in good hands.
UTZ Certified is a program and label for sustainable farming worldwide. It's one of the largest programs for coffee and cocoa, and it also covers a range of other products, including tea, hazelnuts, and herbal teas.
The UTZ certification is a seal of approval that the product has been produced in a socially and environmentally responsible way. This means that:
- Farmers have been trained to improve quality and productivity while reducing their impact on the environment. This includes efficient use of water and other resources, managing waste and pollutants, maintaining soil health, and minimizing the use of harmful chemicals.
- Farm workers and their families benefit from good working conditions, fair wages, and access to education and healthcare.
- The UTZ program promotes biodiversity and the use of renewable energy.
- Certified products are kept separate from non-certified products, and every step in the supply chain is recorded so that it's clear where the product came from and how it was produced. This is known as traceability.
UTZ merged with the Rainforest Alliance in 2018 to create a single agriculture sustainability standard, with the goal of simplifying certification for farmers. The new organization continues to operate under the Rainforest Alliance name and has adopted a new certification seal.