Han de Groot - Articles and news items
Issue 3 2012 • 3 July 2012 • Han de Groot, Executive Director, UTZ CERTIFIED
More and more people are getting familiar with the word sustainability. It is after all everyone’s future that is at stake. Although the concept sustainability is winning terrain, it is still not a ‘reason to buy’ for consumers. Only five per cent are willing to pay more for a product that is responsibly sourced. The other 95 per cent base their choice for products on price, quality and brand familiarity. To make a substantial contribution to sustainability, a more practical approach is needed. UTZ CERTIFIED (one of the largest sustainability programs for coffee, cocoa and tea) has adopted such a practical approach by working together with existing brands. The manufacturers of these brands need raw materials on a large scale – raw materials that are produced by farmers in developing countries. By increasing the sustainability of these raw materials, we are able to raise the standard of living of a large number of farming communities.
The question then is how to convince these large manufacturers of the importance of sourcing sustainable if consumers are not willing to pay extra; by showing them the economic viability of trading responsibly and showing that sustainably sourced, certified raw materials don’t necessarily lead to more expensive products. The UTZ CERTIFIED sustainability program works from a bottom up approach using the UTZ-Code of Conduct to analyse the major problem areas for farmers on issues that have the most impact on income and sustainability, as well as a top down approach meeting market requirements.
The most well-known chocolate bar in the Netherlands gets UTZ CERTIFIED quality mark…
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