All coffee from Arvid Nordquist is certified as being 100% sustainable. These certifications guarantee that sustainable farming practices, sustainable working environments and sustainable working conditions are used in the production of the entire range. Fully 90% of the beans in Arvid Nordquist’s basic product range are UTZ certified. The remaining 10% comprises a combination of certifications from UTZ, Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance. So what do all these certifications mean?
UTZ Certified stands for sustainable agriculture and better opportunities for farmers, their families and our planet. The UTZ label shows consumers that the products have been produced in a sustainable way. In order to be UTZ certified, the farmer must comply with UTZ’s Code of Conduct, which contains comprehensive guidelines for good agricultural practices and administration, safe and healthy working conditions, abolition of child labour, protection of the environment and care for future generations. UTZ provides advice on climate adaptation and improved farming practices. This in turn leads to better production, a better environment and a better life for everyone. To ensure compliance with UTZ rules, independent auditors conduct an annual audit. Approval results in certification, which means that farmers can sell their products as UTZ certified. All sales are accounted for in traceability systems. UTZ Certified works with coffee farms of all sizes and types. We have been a member of UTZ Certified since 2005. Almost 50% of all sustainability 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, the right to organise and production which shows consideration for the environment. Fairtrade promotes increased environmental awareness and encourages producers to change to organic production methods. Examples of Fairtrade’s action areas include taking responsibility for ground and surface water, protecting local endangered species, showing consideration for biological biodiversity and using buffer zones to protect sensitive areas. Discrimination and the use of child labour are actively combatted. 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 fertile 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 are required to minimise their 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 have a reasonable income, a safe working environment, and feel happy and satisfied in their work.
EU ORGANIC is the EU label for organic farming. It shows that the product is in full compliance with the conditions and provisions laid down by the European Union for organic farming. For processed products, this means that at least 95% of the ingredients are organically grown. The label guarantees that:
- The product is grown without pesticides or artificial fertilisers
- Nature conservation has been taken into account during production
- Products are produced in a sustainable way
- The product contains no GMO
- Growers and manufacturers of the product are subject to on-site inspections once a year.
More and more of the coffee products on the market carry various labels. To clarify what the certifications stand for and what they mean, we commissioned an independent party to go through the criteria and background of the most common labels. Making a fair comparison on every point is almost impossible, since it can be difficult to draw clear distinctions, plus the fact that the certifications have different purposes.
We have focused on the areas we think are of particular importance and significance in achieving sustainable, fair and ethical production that turns the spotlight on poverty reduction. We have chosen to take a ‘stricter’ stance by prioritising the initiatives that set obligatory requirements over those that set recommendations or have several different levels.
Our analysis is summarised in a certification guide. We have used the criteria of the State of Sustainability Initiatives project.
If you would like to read our Sustainability Report, you can access it here.