Three quarters of the world’s hazelnuts come from Turkey, where they are mainly grown in the Black Sea region.
Low productivity is a problem for many hazelnut farmers, and this is a sector that has been associated with child labor and poor conditions for migrant workers.
Sustainable hazelnuts: the journey so far
The UTZ program for sustainable hazelnuts brings together a strong coalition to tackle these sustainability challenges.
The program was launched in 2014. UTZ already runs the world’s largest program for sustainable cocoa, and many of the major players in the confectionary industry were keen to source more sustainable products. Four of these companies – Migros/Delica, Natra, Rewe Group and Jumbo Supermarkets – joined forces with UTZ to get the program started.
Farmers in the program follow the core standards of the UTZ program, covering good agricultural practices, farm management, and social and environmental criteria. In addition, there are requirements that address the specific agricultural and social challenges of the hazelnut sector. These were developed in consultation with farmers, supply chain actors such as exporters and traders, the confectionary industry, governmental institutions, and local and international NGOs.
More than 2,000 hazelnut farmers are applying the UTZ standards for sustainable farming.
The program in Turkey
UTZ is the first independent, third party sustainability label working in the hazelnut sector in Turkey. Farmers appreciate the focus on good agricultural practices, as this contributes to increasing productivity on hazelnut farms.
In parallel, we focus on the prevention and elimination of child labor on UTZ certified farms.
Child labor is a complex problem that we cannot tackle on our own. We are working with other local and international organizations, finding ways to collaborate and complement our program. Besides raising awareness around the child labor issue with farmers, we work with NGOs who provide school or day care facilities for children.
In 2015, the first hazelnuts produced by UTZ certified farmers were traced from the field to the market.
We are working with many of the major supply chain actors in the hazelnut sector. We look forward to increasing the demand for sustainable hazelnuts and scaling up the program in the field, reaching out to more farmers in the years to come.
Join the program
For more information and to get involved in the program, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.