18/12/2015 – Today we make an important step towards a more sustainable world, for farmers, workers, their families and the planet. Today, UTZ starts the five-year Sector Change project. This project aims at contributing to inclusive growth and mainstreaming of sustainable farming in the global agricultural sectors in which UTZ is active, with the participation and inclusion of civil society organizations.

“This partnership enables us to enhance the positive effects of certified sustainable coffee, cocoa and tea,” says Han de Groot. “Together with local and international organizations we can now strive for impactful change on sector level. Through strong collaboration, with both market and civil society, we aim for a sustainable future.”

Han de Groot, Executive Director at UTZ Certified and Jeroen Roodenburg, Director Sustainable Economic Development, signing the Sector Change Partnership

Han de Groot, Executive Director at UTZ Certified and Jeroen Roodenburg, Director Sustainable Economic Development, signing the Sector Change Partnership

The project

Funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Sector Partnership project will be deployed in 10 key countries. There, UTZ will work in partnership with the Dutch Ministry and local actors to bring about sector change by:

  • Strengthening the capacity of Civil Society Organizations to lobby & advocate
  • Expanding UTZ’ capacity to lobby & advocate

To achieve this sector change, UTZ will work in: Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, India, Ethiopia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and Uganda. These countries, besides being part of the UTZ program key countries, they are also defined as lower to middle income countries by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. We will focus on our 3 key commodities: coffee, cocoa, tea and on 6 themes: productivity, farmer group strengthening, gender, climate and water, child labor and living wage.

The project will work towards strengthening the lobby & advocacy capacity of local and national civil society organizations to enable them to advocate for policy change or support services towards governments and companies that will lead to more sustainable farming practices. It will create an evidence base for advocating a sustainability practice, through development of practical interventions like tools, approaches and research that show how sustainability can be broadened (addressing more issues) and deepened (creating more impact).

Why a sector change:

UTZ Certified has been working towards better farming and a better future for the past 13 years. Through certification we have seen significant impacts in the lives of farmers and their workers, but we have also seen that some of the problems they face cannot be addressed through certification alone. Issues such as child labor, wages or the impact of climate change req

uire a cross sectorial approach. This means that only when UTZ works together with producers, NGOs, governments and buyers, can these issues really be tackled. Building on our experience and reach we are expanding our work to look at how we can join forces with others to make a lasting impact on these sectorial issues in order to create a better future for everyone.

“While we have made good progress so far, it is clear that certification alone cannot solve key sustainability issues in origin countries. For these issues certification needs to be complemented by a comprehensive sector wide approach.  Herein lies the strategic importance of this partnership for UTZ. It enables UTZ to link and complement our supply chain based interventions with sector-wide efforts to combat child labor or climate change, amongst others.” Mariecke van der Glas, Sector Change project manager.