Focusing on better farming practices, UTZ encompasses a wide range of relevant social and environmental sustainability aspects. All transactions are registered in a web-based system that allows product traceability back to the individual farm. This up and coming standard is product-specific and covers coffee, tea, hazelnuts and cocoa.

Description

UTZ Certified is an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit sustainability label and program aimed to create an open and transparent marketplace for socially and environmentally responsible agricultural products. It is made up of three tools: the traceability system, Code of Conduct and Chain of Custody documents. UTZ Certified has grown to be one of the leading sustainable coffee programs worldwide which has provided the model for cocoa and tea and certification. A new sustainability program on hazelnuts has been developed and certified hazelnuts are expected to available in early 2016. UTZ provides traceability services for RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) certified sustainable palm oil. The product-specific standards are based on a model of continuous improvement with mandatory and additional control points from which the farmer can choose.

UTZ collaborates with traders, NGOs and local organisations who help out with implementation of the standards by adapting them to local contexts. A monitoring and evaluation program is in place to collect evidence on outcomes and impacts on certified farms. All transactions are registered in the web-based system traceability system which allows buyers and consumers to track products down to its certified source. Price payed for certified products is agreed between buyer and seller. The price is transparent and registered in the UTZ Member Portal where average price is displayed per country and region. Producers pay for auditing and buyers pay a volume-based administrative which is passed on through supply chain to final buyer. Certification is conducted by independent third-party certifiers approved and trained by UTZ. In 2014, 575 000 farmers and 335 000 workers representing 908 farmer groups and 1012 estates participated in UTZ sustainability programs. UTZ certified products are produced in 37 countries.

Farming

Irrigation water is abstracted from sustainable sources. Also mentioned under water efficiency which should take individual supply / communal water needs into account. No requirement to map all water sources and water consumption from these.

Irrigation water is calculated using evapotranspiration data, used efficiently (considering needs of crop, timing, rainfall information and performance of irrigation system) recorded (type of water, date, quantity, area irrigated) and quality analysed. Practices are implemented to adopt to water scarcity such as rainwater harvesting.

Organic fertilizers produced on farm used first, inorganic fertilizers should be seen as supplementary. Manure stored away from water bodies.

Integrated Pest Management implemented, list on banned pesticides. Safe handling, diluting and storing of pesticides, ways to deal with spillage. Priority given to non-chemical weed control to optimize nutrient and water uptake of crop.

No deforestation or degradation of primary forest unless permission is given by land owner, government. Appropriate clearing techniques and compensation with reforestation activities of at least equal ecological value must be ensured. No production or processing within 2 km of protected areas unless approved by national or regional authority. Ecological diversity promoted biological corridors, planting trees, preserving semi-natural areas such as meadows. Buffer zones of native vegetation are established along water bodies.

Some aspects related to harvest and post-harvest is included in the criteria but no specific mention of food waste reduction. More specifically it says that products should be harvested at the appropriate time and using the best method for optimizing quality and crop health. Good practices for storage, handling and processing.

Energy used in production and processing is recorded and monitored. Measures taken to improve energy efficiently.

Workers have access to safe drinking water and receive instructions on basic hygiene. Hygiene instructions are visibly displayed at central locations. There are toilets and hand washing places on production, processing, and maintenance sites. Workers living on-site have clean and safe living quarters. Special attention given to hygienic sanitation and safe drinking water.

Measures taken to address climate change impacts (using fertilizers and pesticides efficiently, plant shade trees, install water harvesting system). Suitable varieties are used (e.g. resistance to drought and pests). Diversification on agricultural production is promoted as an climate adaptation strategy.

Soil erosion prevented through soil conservation measures.

Soil compaction monitored and regulated by avoiding heavy machinery on wet, fragile soils.

Soil fertility improved through agroforestry and planting of nitrogen fixing species.

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