Douwe Egberts has announced that it continues to move towards achieving 100% sustainability for all its coffee products, by increasing purchases of sustainable green coffee beans by more than 30 per cent to 26,500 tonnes in 2009.
Douwe Egberts has chosen to partner with Utz Certified, formerly known as Utz Kapeh, which claims to be the largest coffee certifier in the world. Utz certifies coffee farmers based on the three areas of sustainability; economic, social responsibility and protecting the environment.
This means that Douwe Egberts has increased its purchases of sustainable coffee significantly for the fifth year in succession, says Paul Freeman, the marketing manager for Sara Lee Coffee & Tea Out-of-Home.
"With sustainability continuing to be high on the agenda for most companies, it is increasingly important to show the proof points of this commitment, rather than just a badge. With complete transparency throughout the coffee supply chain, our customers and consumers can trace their coffee to its origins and see the positive impact their choice of coffee has made."
Asked by Coffee House magazine whether it was a disadvantage to partner with probably the least-known certifying authority, he said:
"Yes, of course it has often been the case that people have confused sustainably-sourced coffee with Fairtrade, believing that FT is the one and only solution. But over time, people are beginning to understand that there are other solutions that address the issues that surround true sustainability in coffee supply.
"Key to our success with Utz Certfified coffee has been in demonstrating the various proof points that the Utz certification programme brings, such as visible traceability from farm to cup, and evidence of actual improvements that the programme has made in coffee growing communities.
"It has been challenging championing a certification scheme where no money from the coffee price is taken and invested into marketing the certification brand itself. However, we have already seen some fairly major retailers take the decision to choose Utz Certified coffee - IKEA, Debenhams, and McDonalds (except in UK) and there are more set to make the move."
By Ian Boughton
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