Our Family > Responsibility
About Utz Certified
Utz Kapeh ("good coffee" in a Maya language) is a worldwide certification program that sets the standard for responsible coffee production and sourcing.
Worldwide, the concept of coffee quality among consumers is growing. Taste is important, but there is also growing interest in the conditions in which the coffee was made. Food legislation in Europe, America and Japan is also moving in the direction of transparency of origin and traceability of the final product.
The Utz Kapeh program provides the assurance of responsible coffee production and sourcing that coffee drinkers expect. It answers two crucial questions for the global coffee chain:
- Where does the coffee come from?
- How was it produced?
Where does my coffee come from?
A web-based Track and Trace system follows the Utz Kapeh certified coffee through the chain from grower to roaster (in our case, this is one and the same for all but our organic coffees). This gives buyers insight into where their coffee really comes from.
Utz kapeh's Chain of Custody criteria assure that Utz Kapeh certified coffee is not mixed with non-certified coffee.
Land at the farm recently donated to the nearby town to build a brand new school for the nearby area.
Code of Conduct
How was my coffee produced?
The Utz Kapeh certification program is based on the Utz Kapeh Code of Conduct: a set of social and environmental criteria for responsible coffee growing practices and efficient farm management. Coffee producers who are Utz Kapeh certified comply with this Code of Conduct.
Independent certifiers conduct annual inspections to ensure producers comply with the requirements of the Utz Kapeh Code of Conduct.
Summary of the Code
Good Agricultural & Business Practices
- Monitoring business processes
- Record keeping of fertilizers & agro chemicals
- Good housekeeping practices
- Workers trained properly
- Implementation of accident and emergency procedures
- Implementation of hygiene rules and practices
- Traceability of coffee
- Annual internal inspections
Path at the farm surrounded by coffee on one side and large, overhanging trees on the other.
- Reduce and prevent soil erosion
- Responsible and minimal use of agrochemicals
- Implementation of Integrated Pest Management
- Minimize water usage and environmental pollution
- Minimize energy use
- Optimize use of sustainable energy sources
- Treatment of contaminated water
- Protecting water sources
- No deforestation of primary forests
- Use of native tree species as coffee shade trees
- Protecting endangered species
- Workers are protected by national laws and ILO conventions regarding age, working hours, pensions, working conditions, collective bargaining and safety
- Workers receive training in their own language about safe handling of chemicals
- Access to health care for the workers and their families
- Access to education for children
- Access to decent housing
- Access to clean drinking water
- Freedom of cultural expression
The origins of Utz Kapeh
Utz Kapeh was founded in 1997 by Guatemalan coffee producers and the Dutch coffee roaster Ahold Coffee Company.
The idea behind Utz Kapeh was to create recognition for responsible coffee producers and tools for roasters and brands to respond to a growing demand for assurance of responsibly produced coffee.
The founders created an organization that could stand independently from the producers and the roasters. They chose the name "Utz Kapeh", which means "good coffee" in the Mayan language Quiché. An office was opened in Guatemala City in 1999. In 2002 the head office was opened in The Netherlands.
The Utz Kapeh Code of Conduct is officially benchmarked against EurepGAP's coffee code. The Utz Kapeh Code of Conduct contains 100% of the EurepGAP 'coffee reference code' and includes additional social criteria.
The Code of Conduct is evaluated and revised every year through an internal and external revision procedure, using as input the experiences of producers, agronomists and certifiers working with the code. Technological, economic and social developments in the coffee industry are also included. Utz Kapeh consults with stakeholders throughout the coffee industry and with the EurepGap technical standards committee.
Origins of the Code of Conduct
The Utz Kapeh Code of Conduct was originally based on the EUREPGAP Protocol for Fruits and Vegetables. That Protocol was developed by leading European retailers and provides assurance of food safety and appropriate growing practices in fruits and vegetables.
Utz Kapeh translated the EUREPGAP Protocol to the specific conditions of coffee production in 1997. Criteria from ILO (International Labor Organization) Conventions have also been added. The result is the Utz Kapeh Code of Conduct: an internationally accepted code for responsible coffee production.