UTZ Certified Coffee

Launched in 2002, the UTZ Certified coffee certification program is one of the largest coffee certification programs. Originally known as Utz Kapeh, the name was officially changed in 2007 to UTZ Certified ‘Good Inside’.

The UTZ certification program is a code of conduct that is internationally recognized and contains a set of criteria for socially and environmentally appropriate growing practices in the coffee business. Included in the elements of the code of conduct are standardized recordkeeping, minimize and document the use of agrochemicals, and protected labor rights with access to education and health care to producers and their families.

Independent certifiers do annual inspections to ensure that producers are complying with the requirements of the code of conduct.

UTZ Certified coffee has a track-and-trace system that traces coffee from the grower to the roaster, so consumers know exactly where their coffee came from. The certified growers are in Latin America, Africa and Asia. The coffee is sold in France, Belgium, UK, Scandinavia, Japan, US, Switzerland and Canada.

The UTZ Certified program has sometimes been criticized for offering a cheap alternative for companies who want to get in on the trend in the market for more ethical practices. The standards used to certify UTZ coffee are considered by some to be less stringent than they should be.

In practice however, the UTZ Certified has shown to be effective in having a positive impact on people’s lives. A project was done in Honduras in cooperation with UTZ Certified, and the results were found to have improved the skill levels, income levels, and supported the positive effects on the environment in coffee communities.

The UTZ Certification has become a multi-commodity program. It now includes products such as cocoa, tea, and palm oil. These products are grown in areas similar to where coffee is produced. Cocoa and tea benefit from soil management, and organic growing practices just as coffee production does. So, while the UTZ Certification program has its critics, it is also expanding its program to help the lives of more of the world’s farmers. What has been learned through coffee can now improve the cultivation, harvesting, and trade of other food products.