How much eco-certified coffee is purchased by the big coffee companies?
Not to be used without permission. Latest update July 2016; original post from 2010
Focus is on the major world buyers and others with top U.S. market share. These players change over time, and the table is updated to reflect this.
I’m going to consider eco-certifications or standards only: Rainforest Alliance and organic. Since Smithsonian Bird-Friendly is produced in such tiny volumes and must be certified organic, it is included in the organic category. I also note Starbucks CAFE Standards. Although it only applies to Starbucks coffee, it includes good environmental criteria. I’ll disregard but may mention coffee purchased under Fair Trade, UTZ, the 4C Code, and Nespresso’s AAA program, although these do not have strong, meaningful, or transparent environmental standards. You can read about all of these certifications and criteria on my certifications guide page.
Data sources will be linked or included in the footnotes. I’ve converted all volumes to metric tons for comparison; some volumes and percentages are calculated or extrapolated from closely related figures. As a point of reference, world coffee production in 2015 was over 8.6 million metric tons.
Brands owned include Nescafé, Nespresso, Nescafé, Dolce Gusto, Taster’s Choice, Clasico.
2010: 870,0001 (49,020 tons was Nespresso2)
|2010: 2000 Fair Trade, Utz, Rainforest Alliance, and/or organic1 (0.2%), see note.
2013: 2000 Fair Trade/organic5 (0.2%).
See note for info on their 4C and AAA purchases, which don't count here as eco-certified.
|In their 2011 "Creating Shared Value" report4, the company noted, "There are no plans to market certified coffee to consumers... We believe that our own Responsible Sourcing platform...offers a more targeted approach than certification alone."
Nestlé's The Nescafé Plan sourced 191,700 tons of coffee4 that was 4C compliant, up from 130,500 tons in 2014 (read about these very marginal standards here). This exceeded their 2015 goal of 180,000 tons. Their next goal is to source 90,000 tons of Nescafé coffee under Rainforest Alliance principals (not certification) by 2020.
Nestlé has a proprietary Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality program, based on Rainforest Alliance principals. Their goal is to source 100% of their Nespresso coffee under these standards by 2020. In 2013, they sourced 55,000 tons5 of coffee under this program, and 85% in 20154. See this post for details.
|Jacobs Douwe Egberts|
Brands include Maxwell House, Gevalia, Kenco, and Tassimo (see note below on partnerships and acquisitions by parent company).
|2008: 29,500 Rainforest Alliance (4%)
2010: 50,000 Rainforest Alliance (7%)
2012: 52,000 Rainforest Alliance
2013: 55,000 Rainforest Alliance (11%)5
|Company created in 2015 after a merger between Mondelēz International (which had previously taken over most of the coffee brands of Kraft Foods) and European coffee giant D.E Master Blenders 1753 (which itself was spun off from the coffee business of Sara Lee Corp.). Majority stake holder JAB Holdings has also acquired majority shares in Peet’s Coffee and Tea, Caribou Coffee, Keurig Green Mountain (see below prior to acquisition), Einstein Noah, and (via Peet’s) Intelligentsia and Stumptown.
Both JDE and the new KraftHeinz Company list Tassimo, Gevalia, and Maxwell House as their own brands. It's unclear if they are in partnership, or have divided some operations of these brands regionally.
JAB is privately held, and thus future data on purchases and certifications may not be possible to obtain.
Brands owned include Folgers (#1 brand in U.S.) and Millstone; Kava; Dunkin Donuts grocery store coffee; Rowland Coffee (Café Bustelo and Café Pilon); Sara Lee's former North American foodservice coffee operations including Java Coast.
|2008: 1,500 (0.5%) was certified either Rainforest Alliance, Fair Trade, and/or organic.
2010: Data not disclosed. See note.
2013: Apparently, none5
|Smuckers' purchases of various coffee brands now make up the largest portion of the company's product sales. In addition to buying hardly any certified coffee of any sort, Smuckers has the essentially the worst sustainability initiative and reporting of all major coffee companies. The TCC1 notes, "[Smucker's] seems to lack a clear and concise CSR stategy, ... does not provide verifiable procurement figures of certified coffees, has no specific goals for a more sustainable coffee sector, and its future commitment is extremely vague."|
|2007: 103,000 CAFE Practices (64%)
2008: 134,000 CAFE Practices (77%) + 4536 organic
2009: 136,000 CAFE Practices (82%) + 6350 organic
2010: 103,000 CAFE Practices (84%) + 4400 organic
2011: 167,000 CAFE Practices (86%) + 4354 organic
2012: 230,878 (90%) CAFE Practices + 3946
2013: 171,004 CAFE Practices (94%) + 1996 organic
2014: 199,696 CAFE Practices (95%) + 2091 organic
|All data comes from Starbucks annual reports unless otherwise noted. Organic totals are provided, but some may be included in CAFE Practices purchases due to multiple certifications, so I've only given percentages for amounts noted in reports as CAFE Practices. Fair Trade purchases are not included in the figures above.
The environmental standards of Starbucks CAFE Practices preferred buyer program are more detailed and stronger than many third-party certifications, including Fair Trade and UTZ Certified. See also my post on recent CAFE Practices assessment reports. The TCC1 notes, "Starbucks appears to be far and away the best in terms of sustainable coffee procurement [of the top ten buyers]..."
|Keurig Green Mountain|
Brands include Timothy's World Coffee, Tully's, Diedrich, Coffee People, Donut Shop
|2007: 15,030 |
|2007: 3170 Fair Trade/organic (21%)
2008: 4133 Fair Trade/organic (22.4%)
2009: 5006 Fair Trade/organic (22.5%).
2010: 1220 Rainforest Alliance + 38 organic + 7531 Fair Trade/organic = 8987 (22.9%)
2011: 8098 Rainforest Alliance + 90 organic
+ 12133 Fair Trade/organic = 20321 (22.5%)
2012: 7030 Rainforest Alliance + 6 organic + 10856 Fair Trade/organic = 17892 (19.1%)
2013: 4804 Rainforest Alliance + 19 organic + 12118 Fair Trade/organic = 16941 (17.3%)
2014: 3781 Rainforest Alliance + 9252 Fair Trade/organic = 13033 (12.6%)
|Acquired in 2015 by JAB Holding; see Jacobs Douwe Egberts entry above. JAB is privately held, and thus future data on purchases and certifications may not be possible to obtain.
Most data from Keurig/Green Mountain annual sustainability reports on their website.
In 2012, KGM stopped breaking out their Fair Trade Organic (FTO) and Fair Trade non-organic figures. I used 47% FTO as a typical percentage of FT coffee also certified organic as reported by FT USA.
1Tropical Commodity Coalition, Coffee Barometer 2012.
2Nestlé Nespresso Ecolaboration Progress Report, June 2011.
3Accelerating progress on the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality Program in Central America. March 2011.
4Nestlé Creating Shared Value Reports; latest available on this page and past reports on this page.
5Coffee Barometer 2014 (PDF)
Starbucks Global Responsibility Reports available on this page
The Coffee Barometer 2009