Sara Lee sustainable coffee champion

Posted by Josette Dunn on 24th February 2010

Sara Lee, global manufacturer and marketer of consumer products, announced last week that in 2009 it expanded its lead as the world’s largest buyer of UTZ CERTIFIED® coffee by exceeding target of 26,500 tons.

For 2010, Sara Lee steps it up, and will source more coffee from sustainable sources, 40,000 tons, than in any previous year.

Sara Lee’s 2010 target is 33% greater than its previous commitment (30,000 tons in 2009). It also represents a dramatic sixteen-fold increase from a target of 2,500 tons in 2004.
UTZ CERTIFIED is one of the most respected coffee certification programs worldwide, dedicated to achieving sustainable agricultural supply chains that meet the growing needs and expectations of farmers, the industry and consumers. The program gives independent assurance of sustainable production and sourcing and offers online real-time traceability of agricultural products back to their origin.

The program is based on the UTZ CERTIFIED Code of Conduct: a set of social and environmental criteria for responsible coffee growing practices and efficient farm management.  The Code of Conduct includes elements such as standards for minimized and documented use of agrochemicals for crop protection, protection of labor rights and access to health care and education for employees and their families.

A web-based Track and Trace system follows the UTZ CERTIFIED coffee through the chain from grower to roaster. This gives buyers insight into where their coffee really comes from.

“At Sara Lee we’re very proud of our role in making the mainstream coffee sector more sustainable,” said Frank van Oers, CEO International Beverage and Bakery at Sara Lee.

“Our long-term vision is to source all of our coffee sustainably, and every year we are moving the bar higher. Our 2010 commitment represents a significant step towards that goal.”

Sara Lee is the world’s third largest coffee roaster and sells its coffee blends under flagship brands such as DOUWE EGBERTS®, SENSEO®, MERRILD®, MAISON
DU CAFÉ®, and MARCILLA®, will source 40,000 tons of sustainable coffee in 2010.

Sara Lee has worked in partnership with UTZ CERTIFIED since 2004, buying UTZ CERTIFIED coffee and helping farmers achieve certification.  Farmers with an UTZ certificate are trained and checked to ensure that they are growing coffee in a sustainable way.

Sara Lee also established its own Douwe Egberts Foundation ( in 2002, to improve living conditions of, in particular, small coffee farmers in the main
countries of origin.