Eco-certified coffee: How much is there?

by on May 31, 2011

Latest update 17 June 2013

When sales and market shares of various certified coffees come out, I try to put them together in a post. Each certification scheme tends to announce them at different times of the year, and provides slightly different data. I’ve decided to put the most salient data together in a table for four of the main coffee certifications with environmental criteria, plus Starbucks CAFE Standards (a third-party verified set of supplier standards), with past data for reference. I’ve standardized the unit to metric tons for easy comparison. Links on the year go to source information, which usually has more detail.

For a little perspective, world production over the last several years has been around 8 million metric tons, and the U.S. imports around 1.5 to 1.6 million metric tons of coffee a year.

Hectares
certified
Production
(metric tons)
Sales in metric tons
(% of production)1
Smithsonian Bird-Friendly 2008: 5000
2010: 7600
2012: 8650
2006: 3600
2008: 2700
2010: 4400
2012: 4735
2006: 200 (5.5%)
2010: 206 (4.7%)
Rainforest Alliance 2007: 200,000
2009: 305,383
2012: 323,500
2006: 27,152
2007
: 41,494
2008: 62,296
2009: 168,114
2010: 219,337
2011: 263,000
2012: 375,000
2009: 87,583 (52%)
2010: 114,884 (52%)
2011: 129,864 (49%)
Organic2 2007: 546,541
2008:
463,500
2009:
560,368
2010
: 642,833
2010: 135,000 2006: 30,000
2007: 38,000
2008: 40,000
2009: 42,185
2010: 105,000
Starbucks CAFE Practices3 2010: ~435,000 2008: 134,000
2009: 136,000
2010: 103,000
2011: 166,468
2012: 230,878
UTZ Certified4 2006: 163,300 2006: 108,500
2007: 218,358
2008: 308,464
2009: 365,010
2010: 394,003
2011: 476,903
2012: 715,648
2006: 36,000 (33%)
2007: 53,000 (24%)
2008: 77,500 (25%)
2009: 82,000 (22%)
2010
: 121,000 (31%)
2011: 132,752 (28%)
2012: 188,096 (26%)

1 Not all coffee produced under certification criteria is sold as certified.

2 Amount imported into North America only. The estimate of the amount of organic coffee produced worldwide (under various standards, not just USDA Organic, required for sale in the U.S.) is about 200,000 metric tons. 2010 figures are from the Coffee Barometer 2012 by the Tropical Commodity Coalition.

3 Land area is extrapolated from data in 2011 Ethical Sourcing Factsheet stating that at least 102,000 ha are set aside for conservation on Starbucks’ suppliers farms, and that represents about 23% of total area verified under CAFE Practices.

4 UTZ figures for sales are actually the amount of certified coffee purchased by the first buyer. The amount of coffee sold as UTZ certified is slightly lower, about 10-15% in the years where this data was provided.

Here is more detail on the data that is new to this compilation.

In reporting 2011 results, Rainforest Alliance showed that both sales and production of certified coffee increased, but as the table above shows, the percentage of RA-certified coffee produced that is sold as certified has remained steady at around 50% for several years (I used the larger of two numbers provided on the report for the production figure). The organization also states that RA-certified coffee represents approximately 3.3% of the global market share.

Organic coffee statistics are not centrally aggregated and notoriously hard to parse. Figures on total land in organic coffee come from The World of Organic Agriculture yearbooks (latest are 2010 stats from the 2012 yearbook) based on research by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL. This report indicates that current land in organic coffee represents about 6.5% of the world’s harvested coffee area, with 93% of organic coffee grown in Peru, Ethiopia, and Mexico.

Starbucks regularly publishes updates to their ethical coffee sourcing program on their web site. Their goal is to source 100% of their coffee through their CAFE Practices supplier guidelines and/or some other third-party certification by 2015, and they are on track by increasing that proportion to 93% of their total purchases in 2012. Their latest coffee report can be downloaded here (PDF).

UTZ accomplishments and data are gleaned from past annual reports, which can be downloaded here.

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Revised on March 23, 2014

Posted in Certifications,Data summary tables

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Bela June 16, 2011 at 2:17 am

Thank-you so much for the data and stats. I am impressed by Starbucks transparency in reporting.

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