With focus 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 available for specific countries and products; covering coffee, tea, rice, 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, the Code of Conduct and the 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 certifications. Another sustainability program for hazelnuts was developed in 2014, with the first certified hazelnuts available on the market one year later. UTZ provides traceability services for RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) certified palm oil. The product-specific standards are based on a model of continuous improvement with a mix of mandatory and voluntary control points.

UTZ collaborates with traders, NGOs and local organisations that 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 traceability system which allows buyers and consumers to track products down to its certified source. Prices for certified products are decided through negotiation between buyer and seller. The prices are transparent and registered in the UTZ Member Portal where average prices are displayed per country and region. Producers pay for auditing and buyers pay a volume-based administrative fee 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. Production is distributed among 37 countries.

Farming

Irrigation water abstracted from sustainable sources, e.g. harvested rainwater or recycled/treated water. Practices implemented to adapt to water scarcity. Documented measures for efficient water use in production and processing, taking into account e.g. water needs (depending on e.g. individual supply, regional/community resources and access, rainfall); activities where water withdrawal, discharge, and potential run-off occurs; suitable water harvesting mechanisms.

Irrigation needs calculated using evapotranspiration data. Irrigation water used efficiently (considering crop needs, timing, rainfall information and performance of irrigation system), recorded (type of water, date, quantity, area irrigated) and quality analysed.

Fertilizers used efficiently to maximize uptake. Available organic fertilizer and farm by-products used primarily and only supplemented by inorganic fertilizer. Human sewage, sludge and sewage water avoided in production and/or processing. Animal manure stored on secure distance from water bodies. Analysis to determine nutrient content of organic fertilizer conducted before application. Planting varieties chosen taking into consideration resistance to pests, diseases and inputs required. Equipment checked and calibrated regularly. Safe storage and disposal of containers.

Integrated pest management measures implemented and documented. Non-chemical weed control prioritized. Legal restrictions of pesticide use followed and pesticides listed in accompanying “banned pesticides list” avoided. All applications recorded. Planting varieties chosen taking into consideration resistance to pests, diseases and inputs required. Equipment checked and calibrated regularly. Safe storage and disposal of containers.

New plantings follow suitable crop pattern taking into account varietal requirements, diversification, intercropping and planting density. Integrated pest management measures implemented and documented.

Buffer zones of native vegetation along each border of seasonal and permanent water bodies to protect wildlife habitats. No deforestation or degradation of primary forests. No production or processing in or nearby protected areas unless allowed under a management plan of the area. The management plan must be approved by relevant national or regional authority and include at least the following: identification of boundaries of areas accessible for production and processing and ban on further conversion and new land clearing outside of this area, specific actions to mitigate or compensate for impacts on the environment such as reforestation, adoption of agroforestry practices and establishment of biological corridors, clearly defined roles for supervision and implementation of the plan.

Threatened and endangered species in the production area identified and protected. Promoting ecological diversity by protecting and enhancing on-farm and/or neighbouring habitats and ecosystems. Examples include planting trees and/or flowers, safeguarding biological corridors, preservation of semi-natural areas (hedges, meadows. etc.). Shaded cropping/agroforestry systems fulfil this requirement.

Products should be harvested at appropriate time and applying the most appropriate method for optimizing quality and crop health. Good practices for storage, handling and processing.

Rinsing water for pesticide containers disposed of properly or returned to application equipment tank for later use in a spray mix. Surplus pesticide and liquid fertilizer application mix or tank washings disposed of in a way that minimizes negative impacts to humans and the environment.

Energy used in production and processing recorded and monitored. Measures taken to increase energy efficiency and where appropriate, climate smart energy sources used. Applies to production, processing, and communal eating and living sites.

Workers have access to safe drinking water and receive instructions on basic hygiene. Hygiene instructions visibly displayed at central locations. Toilets and hand washing places on production, processing, and maintenance sites. Workers living on-site have clean and safe living quarters.

Measures taken and documented to address important climate change impacts identified in the risk assessment. Measures include e.g. using fertilizers and pesticides efficiently, planting shade trees and installing water harvesting system. Producer diversifies agricultural production and/or other sources of income to adapt to market and/or climate change. Planting varieties chosen taking into consideration resistance to pests, diseases and drought.

Untreated sewage water avoided. Treated sewage water can be used if quality complies with the WHO guidelines for safe use of wastewater and excreta in agriculture. Buffer zone of native vegetation kept along each border of seasonal and permanent water bodies to limit contamination from pesticides and fertilizers. Pesticides and inorganic or organic fertilizers avoided nearby permanent or seasonal water bodies, distance depending on size. Documented measures for efficient water use in production and processing, taking into account e.g. activities where potential run-off occurs and minimizing water pollution. Surplus pesticide and liquid fertilizer application mix or tank washings disposed of in a way that minimizes negative impacts to humans and the environment.

Soil erosion prevented through soil conservation techniques. Soil covered when clearing and/or replanting land (e.g. cover crops, mulch). A buffer zone of native vegetation is kept along borders of seasonal and permanent water bodies.

Soil structure identified and maintained or improved by avoiding heavy machinery on wet, fragile soils.

Soil fertility monitored annually. Measures taken to improve soil fertility according to nutritional needs of crops; e.g. planting of nitrogen-fixing species, agroforestry practices, composting, applying inorganic fertilizer. Fertilizers used efficiently to maximize uptake.

Processing

Practices implemented to adapt to water scarcity. Documented measures for efficient water use in production and processing, taking into account e.g. water needs (depending on e.g. individual supply, regional/community resources and access, rainfall); activities where water withdrawal, discharge, and potential run-off occurs; suitable water harvesting mechanisms.

Documented measures for efficient water use in production and processing, taking into account e.g. activities where potential run-off occurs and minimizing water pollution. Surplus pesticide and liquid fertilizer application mix or tank washings disposed of in a way that minimizes negative impacts to humans and the environment.

Waste stored and disposed of only in designated areas. Non-hazardous waste is reused or recycled whenever possible. Organic waste used as fertilizer. Established collection centre for potentially hazardous waste such as batteries, expired medicines, and electronic waste, and collected waste is disposed of in a way that minimizes negative impact to environment and human health.

Energy used in production and processing recorded and monitored. Measures taken to increase energy efficiency and where appropriate, climate smart energy sources used. Applies to production, processing, and communal eating and living sites.

Workers have access to safe drinking water and receive instructions on basic hygiene. Hygiene instructions visibly displayed at central locations. Toilets and hand washing places on production, processing, and maintenance sites. Workers living on-site have clean and safe living quarters.

Documented measures taken to reduce air contamination from sources identified in the risk assessment. Measures include using alternative energy sources (e.g. solar energy) for processing activities, regularly servicing agricultural machinery, no burning of organic or inorganic matter.

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