89 certificate holders

17 key coffee stakeholders in Brazil



workers interviewed

Study included farmers from Minas Gerais and São Paulo states


Publication date: Februari 2015

This evaluation study was independently carried out by BSD Consulting and Ibi Eté Consultoria. The objective of this evaluation study was to describe the effects of UTZ certification, in social, environmental and economic areas, as experienced by UTZ certified coffee farmers and workers in Brazil. The methods used are Case Studies and Validation Workshops. The research was commissioned and financed by UTZ.



Brazil is the largest coffee exporter globally and UTZ’ largest coffee origin. Approximately 35% of UTZ certified coffee originates from Brazil. The UTZ program in Brazil was initiated in 2002. Currently there are over 700 UTZ certificate holders. The majority of these are medium and large farms (over 100 hectare), and together they employ more than 150,000 workers.



Icon 1methodsUTZ certification has contributed to the improvement of farm management and internal organization, reducing costs and increasing profitability. The implementation of the UTZ code requirements, especially the on-farm traceability requirements, resulted in a positive impact on the quality of the end-product. 43% of the producers noticed quality improvements in their coffee.


Icon 6incomeUTZ certification has contributed to reduced costs and increased profitability. 60% of farmers mentioned having lower costs. The proper implementation of the local labor law results in economic benefits for workers, where proper legal wages as well as health and social security benefits are offered.


Icon 3natureUTZ farmers are required to comply with the Brazilian environmental law, ensuring the protection of biodiversity and safeguarding of natural resources. The certificate holders have seen an increase of vegetation, better soil quality and restoration of natural habitats. 49% have seen a significant environmental improvement due to UTZ certification practices.


Icon 8lifeImproved health and safety at work and appropriate facilities, such as canteens and lavatories were all cited by workers as benefits UTZ certification had brought them directly. Nearly all workers interviewed felt UTZ had brought them benefits with 70% stating that they experience benefits since certification.


UTZ premium transparency – The UTZ premium is clearly of great concern to farmers. Because the premium needs to be negotiated between the farmer (or his/her trading agent) and the first buyer, farmers do not always know how much premium they exactly receive for their certified coffee. To improve transparency on the premium value and its payment procedure, the UTZ Code of Conduct requires records on which part of the UTZ premium is transferred to the producer. Furthermore audits will put emphasis on the control of the premium amount agreed and its use.

Inclusion – The study focused on medium and large-scale producers, which represents 98% of UTZ certified holders in Brazil. Up to now UTZ has not been adopted by smaller coffee producers in Brazil.To make certification more interesting for smallholders, UTZ has started a collaboration with Certifica Minas Café (CMC), a local sustainability standard. Furthermore, advisors of the Nucoffee program are training and supporting smallholder farmers to become UTZ certified. The effects of certification on the working conditions of seasonal workers needs needs further research.

Self-monitoring – In order to enhance the relevance of UTZ certification to farmers, the study recommends that UTZ assists farmers to monitor key performance indicators. This should allow them to monitor and manage further sustainabilty improvements. In 2016 UTZ expects to roll out a first pilot of IT tools which will provide better insight in internal organization and performance of farmer groups.

Boosting environmental protection – Farmers expect more guidance from UTZ on how to further improve their environmental performance, beyond legal compliance with Brazilian legislation. UTZ is currently piloting tools that will help farmers to reduce their water usage and to estimate and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.


“It is encouraging that so many of the producers stated the desire to professionalize their farm management as a key reason for choosing UTZ certification. It is also encouraging to note that most certificate holders are noticing the economic, social and environmental benefits from certification. In Brazil, where laws and regulations are often in place, but sometimes face issues around compliance, it is a positive signal that UTZ is contributing to a shift in mind set, where accountability is increasingly considered the “new normal”.

UTZ certification was highly regarded by farmers and external stakeholders. More than 90% of the farmers surveyed were satisfied with UTZ certification and believed it was worth joining the program, as well as, recommending UTZ certification to other farmers.

97% mention better health & safety conditions.

86% intend to continue with UTZ certification.

43% see coffee quality improvements.

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