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The UTZ program is all about impact – we exist to help create better farming and a better future. But how do we know that what we do is really working? And how do we measure the benefits of joining UTZ for farmers? Anne Dullemeijer, Project Manager of Tailored Programs at UTZ, helps to get these questions answered.
“Monitoring and evaluation are an essential part of our program and we invest in studies that assess the economic, social and environmental impacts of UTZ”, says Anne. “This helps our process of continuous improvement and enables our partners to communicate the impact of sustainable sourcing to their customers. ”
Great, but what does this mean in practice? Anne Dullemeijer: “Our Impact Report, for example, brings together findings from several studies, including independent research into the impact of the UTZ program. We have combined these findings with our own monitoring data. And we’re pleased that the report demonstrates many positive benefits for farmers, workers, communities and the environment.” Let’s take out some highlights.
A truly global program
In 2017 more than 1,3 million farmers and workers have been reached by the UTZ program. Together they produce UTZ certified coffee, cocoa and tea in 41 countries. Demand for certified products has grown tremendously. In 2017 enough UTZ certified cocoa was sold to make 29 billion chocolate bars. More than 4 billion cups of UTZ certified tea and 43 billion cups of UTZ coffee were enjoyed. Currently UTZ is the world’s largest certification program for coffee and cocoa.
Satisfied farmers and better incomes
The significant increase in the number of farmers joining UTZ indicates high levels of satisfaction with the program. A study of UTZ certified coffee farmers in Brazil found, for example, that more than 90% of farmers were satisfied with UTZ certification, believed it was worth joining the program, and recommended UTZ to other farmers.
A better income is one of the reasons farmers are satisfied with UTZ. The studies show, for example, that in Côte d’Ivoire 50% of UTZ farmers found their income has increased since certification. And overall, over 90% of UTZ certified farmers in Brazil and Côte d’Ivoire experience improved living conditions with UTZ.
Better working conditions and stronger communities
The studies in the report also show that life is better for workers and communities in the UTZ program. For example, 70% of workers in Brazil reported that they were experiencing benefits from certification such as improved health and safety at work and appropriate facilities, such as lavatories. While in Ghana great improvements have been made in cocoa producing communities towards the elimination of child labor, with more children going to school.
On the environmental side, studies show a number of improvements. In Colombia, for example, the environmental sustainability index improved significantly with UTZ as a result of the adoption of soil conservation practices, recycling and better agrochemical handling.
The report also highlights ongoing challenges in producing countries. As Anne Dullemeijer explains:
“While significant improvements have been achieved, issues such as child labor, low wages and climate change cannot be addressed by certification alone. In the future we will be working more closely with governments, companies and civil society to tackle these issues and bring about lasting change. All of the findings from impact studies will be fed back into the program to make it stronger for the future.”