Updated on June 10, 2019

We’re sometimes asked why sustainably produced coffee costs more. The reason is simple. Sustainable coffee is an investment in a better future – for farmers, farm workers and our environment and, like most investments, this costs time and money.

Investing in the future

 Anita Aerni, Emerging Markets Lead explains,

“When farms and farmer groups join the UTZ program they are investing in the future of their farms. They need training to improve their practices and to help them apply the UTZ Code – this costs money. If worker wages are below minimum levels they will have to increase so the wage bill goes up, and they must pay for auditing and certification costs.”

Environmental protection measures can also be a cost for farmers. For example, they need to pay for soil and plant analysis to help them use pesticides and fertilizers more efficiently and implement sustainable pest management techniques.

The price of sustainable coffee is often higher because over time it helps to cover the cost of these investments – contributing to a better life for farmers, workers and their families.

Keeping costs down

Given the many benefits of sustainable coffee, it may be a surprise to know that the price difference is small – working out at just 1 cent per cup.

Anita Aerni: “One of the reasons is that we and our partners all work hard to keep costs down and to improve efficiency each year. For example, we regularly update the UTZ Code of Conduct to make it easier for farmers to use and to take out any unnecessary requirements.”

Given the many benefits of sustainable coffee, it may be a surprise to know that the price difference is small – working out at just 1 cent per cup.

“Before the merger with the Rainforest Alliance in 2018, we also lead work to help bring down the cost of auditing, for example by combining audits for UTZ and Rainforest Alliance certification”, Anita adds. “The merger will will result in one agricultural standard for producers (expected in 2020) which further reduces the costs of certification.”

Good news for consumers

Many consumers want to buy from sustainable brands but don’t want to compromise on price or quality. They expect value for money and sustainability.

The good news is that sustainable coffee often doesn’t cost consumers any extra. Most companies don’t increase the price of their products when switching to UTZ certified coffee, with the price increase absorbed in the supply chain. So your consumers can continue to enjoy their favorite coffee brand for the same price, knowing it is better for farmers and the planet. That tastes good!

Want to know more?

If you’d like to know more or want some ideas for communicating the benefits of sustainable coffee get in touch with us.