The UTZ program has grown massively since its launch at a single coffee estate in Guatemala in 2002. In fact, it is the world’s biggest certification program for sustainable cocoa and coffee. But just how big is it? Anne Dullemeijer, one of our Data Analyst, looks at the data for 2017 and explains that there are many different ways to understand the size and reach of UTZ.
More than 1.3 million farmers and workers
A clear way to see the reach of the UTZ program is in the number of farmers and workers who are part of the program.
In 2017 more than 987,000 farmers were part of our program. Farmers own their land or run their own business. These farmers together employed over 368,000 workers, either permanently or during particularly busy seasons such as harvests.
Estimates vary a lot for how many cocoa, coffee and tea farmers and workers there are in total, in all countries around the world. For cocoa, one of the most reliable sources is the World Cocoa Foundation, which estimates that there are more than 5 million cocoa farmers worldwide. That would mean that UTZ works with approximately 15% of all cocoa farmers.
More than 3.4 million hectares of farming land
As more farmers join the UTZ program, the area farmed according to the UTZ Sustainability Requirements also goes up. In total, UTZ certified farmers cover an area of more than 3.4 million hectares; that’s around 34,000 square kilometers.
UTZ farming land
The data on the hectares of farming land must be seen as approximate, as it is based on an estimate calculated by farmers. It can be challenging to do this accurately, as farmers don’t always have access to GPS or other measuring tools. To make sure the data is as accurate as possible, we provide guidance on the best ways to make the estimate, and auditors check that a good method has been used.
41 producing and 131 consuming countries
UTZ is truly a global program. UTZ certified coffee, tea and cocoa are grown in 41 countries around the world.
In 2017 there were more than 15,000 new UTZ labeled products in 131 countries, the majority of them chocolate products.
Coffee, tea and cocoa produced
Every year we report on how much certified coffee, tea and cocoa volumes are estimated by UTZ certified farmers.
Just like the data on hectares of farming land, production data is estimated by farmers and submitted to UTZ once a year, looking forward to the upcoming harvest. We offer our guidance to farmers on how to do this, but it can still be difficult. Farmers must make the estimate for the whole year, often before the main harvest period.
The previous year’s average yield can be used as a basis, but a change in weather conditions or farming practices could make a big difference. Certification bodies check the figures during the audit to make sure it was calculated using a credible method.
We are working to improve this data. Auditors also record the actual amount harvested by each farmer, looking back on the previous year. From the data we have so far, we see that actual cocoa harvests are generally around 81% of the estimated harvest.
Coffee, tea and cocoa sold as UTZ certified
If a farmer passes an audit on the UTZ standards, he or she can sell this crops as UTZ certified. This means that the first buyer pays a premium on top of the market price, and the sale will be recorded in our online traceability system – so we know exactly how much was sold and bought as UTZ certified. The volume sold as UTZ certified is always smaller than the volume produced. Find out why here.
Anne concludes: “The data can be complicated, but no matter which measure you use, we can see that the UTZ program has an enormous reach!”