Certified hazelnuts are becoming more widely available as consumer demand for better working conditions for farmers increases. Swiss company Delica has been sourcing their hazelnuts sustainably for over three years. We spoke to Head of Marketing and Sales Food, Gina Largo, to find out why they made the move.

“We knew there were a lot of problems within the hazelnut sector, for example living conditions for hired migrant laborers and the use of child labor, and although we were already supporting our own project, we were not really talking about it,” says Gina. “Partnering with UTZ meant we could scale up that work and bring it to public awareness.”

Delica has long held a strong commitment to sustainability, and prides itself on offering high-quality natural products sourced through long-term relationships with suppliers. The company has worked with UTZ on coffee since 2009, now sourcing 90% of its coffee from UTZ certified farms. Delica also produces coffee brands such as Cremesso and Café Royal, which carry the UTZ label.

Pioneering in hazelnuts

In 2014, Delica became one of four companies to partner with UTZ in a three-year pilot project to draw up a sustainability standard for the Turkish hazelnut sector. Since then they have also collaborated on developing the UTZ standard for sustainable sourced hazelnuts, and have been one of the first suppliers to sell UTZ certified hazelnuts through Migros supermarkets.

We chose UTZ because they really look for the issues within the country and they like to be different.

“We wanted to do something good with the opportunity to scale up the groundwork we had already done in the hazelnut sector,” says Gina. “We chose UTZ because they really look for the issues within the country and they like to be different, offering more balance within their program. It has definitely made a difference for us to link with them.”

Making a difference to farmers’ livesHazelnut farmer quote Hamza Furtun Turkey

The Swiss market is one that already offers many options in terms of sustainability and sustainability labels, and Delica were aware that few consumers knew what each stood for. “And so we visited our Turkish suppliers, and used their stories and experiences to inform our customers about what working with UTZ means for them, via print and social media,” explains Gina.

But the proof will always be in the pudding, and seeing the difference the work is making to people’s lives on the ground that is the real selling point for the company. “Partnering with other NGOs and supply chain actors such as UTZ provides childcare facilities and school programs during harvest seasons. It’s giving young children the opportunity to be kids, and to stay kids, instead of having to work.”

Think big

Looking to the future, Delica plans to keep expanding into other countries and sectors, helping farmers to work more effectively, and to continue to improve the social and living conditions of farmers and their workers.

Remember to think big and have a number of milestones along the way. Step-by-step you can make a difference.

“I think all companies working on sustainability should be proud about the moves they are making, even if they seem small,” says Gina. “Remember to think big, and have a number of milestones along the way. Step by step, you can make a difference – as we have done – by working with a sustainable standards such as UTZ.”

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