Profile: UTZ Certified
Small groups can join
Small groups can get certified. Prices are negotiated between traders and groups/cooperatives. No set premium.
When an UTZ certified producer sells his products (e.g. coffee, cocoa, tea) to a registered UTZ Certified buyer, the product is announced in the UTZ Certified web-based system. By doing so the seller announces when he is shipping what amount to whom. The buyer then gets notified and needs to confirm this in the traceability system. UTZ Certified assigns a unique tracking number to this lot. At the end of the supply chain, the end product manufacturer uses the unique tracking number to know his product credibly links to a certified source.
Open for criticism
UTZ is openly discussing problems on certified farms and does not try to conceal misconduct.
UTZ discloses the average negotiated premiums per crop. Their reports are usually quite detailed and backed with numbers, though the premiums are a drop in the ocean they are certainly better than nothing
No stable premium & no mimimum
UTZ Certified lets farmers negotiate premiums with traders which are usually much more powerful. Premiums have fallen a lot in recent years. Since no minimum price is paid, farmers are not protected form dramatic price volatility.
Michael Conroy, an independent consultant on certification for sustainable development, is cited saying "the environmental standards of UTZ Certified are far weaker than those of either Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance"
No jobs created outside farming
In Africa, where most cocoa comes form, all the certified cocoa beans leave the country before being transformed into chocolate. Only exporting the raw materials does not create any new jobs.
False Sense of Ethical Buying
UTZ is a very cheap way for brands to tap the ethical market. Consumers are made believe that the products are ethically produced, which might not be true at all, as there are no monthly minimum wages involved for instance