All coffee from Arvid Nordquist is certified as being 100% sustainable. Fully 90% of the beans in the basic product range are UTZ certified. The remaining 10% comprises a combination of certifications from UTZ, Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance. These certifications guarantee that sustainable farming practices, sustainable working environments and sustainable working conditions are used in the production of the entire range. So what do all these certifications mean?
UTZ Certified stands for a sustainable agriculture and better opportunities for farmers, their families and our planet. UTZ Certified is an independent organisation which, by means of its certification programme, sets a minimum standard for responsible coffee production. The UTZ programme makes it possible for farmers to learn better farming practices (to grow better crops that generate higher revenues), improve working conditions and take better care of their children and the environment. UTZ Certified works with coffee farms of all sizes and types. The focus is on bringing about market-oriented improvements which both develop the farmers' businesses and the competitiveness of the buyers. An independent third party monitors UTZ-certified farms to ensure that they comply with their requirements for good farming practice and farm management, safe and healthy working conditions, the abolition of child labour and the protection of the environment. Since 2005, we have been a member of UTZ Certified. Almost 50% of all sustainable-certified coffee in the world is certified by UTZ.
Fairtrade works to ensure that farmers and employees receive improved economic conditions, by applying criteria for higher wages and a minimum price which exceeds the cost of production. They also strive to promote long-term trade agreements which will provide more security for all those whose survival depends on fine margins. In addition to the higher payment, farmers also receive an extra premium. This is used to develop the local community, socially and economically, in the form of, for example, new schools, new housing and health care, or investment in agriculture. The Fairtrade criteria also promote democracy, organisational freedom and production which shows consideration to the environment. Fairtrade promotes increased environmental awareness and encourages producers to change to organic production methods. Examples of Fairtrade's action areas include the taking of responsibility for ground and surface water, the protection of local endangered species, showing consideration to biological biodiversity and using buffer zones to protect sensitive areas. Discrimination and the use of child labour are actively worked against. Fairtrade works with farmers (individuals or families) who make their living from small-scale agriculture and who have joined a producers' organisation - often a co-operative, association or similar form of organisation. Third-party checks are carried out by Flocert, an independent international certification body with ISO65-accreditation.
Rainforest Alliance is an international non-profit organisation which works to promote the conservation of biological diversity and to create sustainable livelihoods. Rainforest Alliance works to counter the largest threats to the environment: logging, agricultural expansion, livestock farming and tourism. Farms that are certified by Rainforest Alliance are forbidden to strip their forests. Instead, they must reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases and increase the amount of carbon that is stored in the plantation, by working to promote prosperous soils, by protecting native ecosystems and by reducing the use of energy, water and agricultural chemicals. Rainforest Alliance and their partners provide tools and knowledge to farmers and foresters to help them to better manage natural resources. Rainforest Alliance-certified farming and forestry protects nature, wildlife, and ecosystems. Employees receive decent wages and good housing and Rainforest Alliance also works to provide access to health care and education.
KRAV is a verification association for organic production. KRAV's objective is to ensure that the production of food and other high-quality products is both sustainable in the long term and instils confidence in the consumer. The aim is to demonstrate care for natural processes and behaviours, ecosystems, and biological and genetic diversity, at every stage (production, processing, distribution, etc). Farmers shall minimise the use of energy and, in particular, fossil fuels and other non-renewable natural resources, and also minimise the emission of pollutants. No chemical pesticides, artificial fertilisers or genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) may be used. The farmer, and others who are active in the production process, should also receive a reasonable income, a safe working environment, and feel happy and satisfied in their work.
Since 1st July 2010, it has been obligatory for the EU logo for organic production to be used on all pre-packaged organic food. The EU's agricultural policy supports an agriculture that provides a safe and secure food supply. Agriculture must fulfil several functions. It must meet the expectations of the public regarding availability, price, variety, quality and safety. At the same time, the environment must be protected and farmers shall enjoy a reasonable standard of living. Use of the EU logo is optional for imported food. We use this logo on all our ecological (KRAV-marked) products.
More and more coffee products on the market have different certification labels. To clarify what the labels stand for and what they include, we have commissioned an external party to go through the criteria and background to the most common labels. Making a fair comparison in all aspects is almost impossible when the boundaries can be difficult to interpret and certifications have different purposes.
We have focused on the areas that we believe are particularly important and significant to get a sustainable, equitable and ethical production that contribute to poverty reduction. We have chosen to have a "stricter” attitude by raising the initiatives that have "mandatory requirements" before the ones that only recommend or have several different levels.
Our analysis is compiled in a certification guide. We have used the criteria of the State of Sustainability Initiatives.
A review of the analyzed criteria is available here. We have used several sources but much is based on the SSI / Entwined's report "The State of Sustainability Review 2014" and on the various certification bodies own documentation and standards.
If you want to read our complete sustainability report, you'll find it here.