Corporate coffee: How much is eco-certified?

by JulieCraves on January 16, 2012

How much eco-certified coffee is purchased by the big coffee companies?

Not to be used without permission. Latest update March 2021.

The focus here 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. The latest update reflects the past several years of major coffee mergers and acquisitions, primarily by JAB Holding and its subsidiaries. As this is a private company, much of the data that was once public is now unavailable.

Certified purchases include only those that include environmental standards. Organic is a primary consideration; since Smithsonian Bird-Friendly must be certified organic, it is included in the organic category. I’ve included Fair Trade if it is also designated as organic. Rainforest Allaince is included, although the new standards for certification have weakened their ecological criteria. Other certifications or considerations are included in the notes.

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 2020 was about 10.5 million metric tons.

Company
Purchases
Certified
purchases
Nestlé
Purchases about 9.1% of world volume. Relatively small U.S. market share (<9%)1,2
2008: 780,000
2010: 870,0001 (49,020 tons was Nespresso3,6)
2013: 860,0003
2014: 842,0003
2015: 849,0003
2017: 870,000
2018: 845,4907
2019: 907,0001
2010: 2000 Fair Trade, Utz, Rainforest Alliance, and/or organic1 (0.2%), see note.
2013: 2000 Fair Trade/organic1 (0.2%).
2017: All certifications combined, including Fair Trade, approx. 81,000 (9%)
2018: Over 56% of their purchases were "sustainable" coffee, but that includes mostly 4C and their proprietary Nespresso AAA purchases, which don't count here as eco-certified.7
2019: 606,000 tons (66.8%) was "sustainable" including 115,000 tons under their own Nespresso AAA plan (see below).1 Not broken down by other certifications or sustainability schemes.
Nestlé has stated, "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." (2011 "Creating Shared Value" report3.)

In their 2015 Creating Shared Value report3, Nestlé reports that 56% of their coffee is traceable back to the farm or plantation, and is therefore "responsibly sourced." They define responsibly sourced green coffee as verified against the 4C Code of Conduct (read about these very marginal standards here) or equivalent or more demanding standards, private or public. In their 2019 Creating Shared Value Report, the company merely states that their 2020 goals of 70% of Nescafe coffee being "responsibly sourced" and 100% of Nespresso coffee being sourced under their AAA program are "in progress" with few metrics provided. Their "no deforesation" commitment and progress does not include coffee.

Their private standard is the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality program, based on Rainforest Alliance principals (not certification). Their goal is to source 100% of their Nespresso coffee under these standards by 2020. In 2017, approximately 77000 metric tons of coffee was sourced under the AAA program. See this post for details. In 2019, a total of 115,000 metric tons were produced under the AAA program (12.7% of Nestlé's total purchases), but only 87,000 tons were sold as such.1
JAB Holding Co.
I have tried to combine some companies and brands owned by JAB Holding or in which JAB Holding is a majority shareholder, whether under this name or one of its subsidiaries (including Acorn Holdings, Pret Panera, JDE Peet's, Keurig Dr. Pepper, etc.).

Purchases at least 7-8% of world volume (this figure is the JDE-Peet's holdings alone). Relatively small U.S. market share (<4%).1,2,8
2008: 740,000
2010: 700,0001
2013: 500,0001
2016: 728,000 for JDE alone based on 8% of world production
2017: 710,000 for JDE alone.
2019: 730,000 for JDE Peet's alone1

2008-2013 figures are historical and reflect purchases of some acquisitions.
2008: 29,500 Rainforest Alliance (4%)
2010: 50,000 Rainforest Alliance (7%)
2012: 52,000 Rainforest Alliance
2013: 55,000 Rainforest Alliance (11%)1
2017: All certifications combined, including Fair Trade, approx. 142,000 (20%)
2019: For JDE Peet's, 153,000 tons (20.9%) were under some sort of "sustainabilty" scheme. This includes 4C, Fairtrade, UTZ, Rainforest Alliance, and other verifications.1,8

2008-2013 figures are historical and reflect purchases of some acquisitions.
JAB is privately held, and thus data on purchases and certifications is generally not publically available. Some brands are continuing their own sourcing.

The CSR report of their JDE division (prior to the merger creating JDE Peet's) in 2019 stated a goal of working towards 100% "responsibly sourced" coffee by 2025 (accompanied by a nice photo of sun coffee.) Rainforest Alliance aids them in their "Common Grounds" responsible sourcing efforts. 8

Prior to their purchase by JAB, Caribou Coffee was the first major coffee shop to source 100% Rainforest Alliance certified coffee. For a time, they continued their own sourcing of certified coffee, but now many coffees on their site do not bear the seal of Rainforest Alliance or any other indication of certification, nor do they publish an annual report of their own.
JM Smucker

Purchases about 3.6% of world volume. Largest U.S. market share (nearly 20%), nearly all of which is one brand: Folgers.1,2
2008: 280,000
2010: 250,0001
2013: 300,0001
2017: 350,0001
2019: 360,0001
2008: 1,500 (0.5%) was certified either Rainforest Alliance, Fair Trade, and/or organic.
2010: Data not disclosed. See note.
2013: Apparently, none.1
2015: 10% of some unknown amount from all sources (UTZ, Rainforest Alliance, and Fair Trade.4
2017: Approx. 35,000 UTZ and Rainforest Alliance (10%).
2019: 36,000 tons (10%) were Rainforest Alliance or Utz certified.1
Smuckers' purchases of various coffee brands now make up the largest portion of the company's product sales. In response to heavy shareholder pressure and criticism -- at the time the Tropical Commondity Coalition1 noted, "[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"-- the company set a goal to buy 10% of total retail coffee from certified sources. Upon reaching this goal in 2015, they only committed to maintaining, not improving, this level 4. This was reiterated in their 2020 report.
Starbucks
Purchases about 3.1% of world volume. U.S. market share data of about 9% includes retail sales which are distributed in North America by Nestlé. I believe Starbucks still sources much of this coffee, but how much is unclear at this time.1,2,5
2007: 160,000
2008: 175,000
2009: 166,000
2010: 122,000
2011: 193,776
2012: 247,208
2013: 179,623
2014: 209,106
2015: 251,744
2019: 310,0001
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
organic
2013: 171,004 CAFE Practices (94%) + 1996 organic
2014: 199,696 CAFE Practices (95%) + 2091 organic
2015: 249,929 CAFE Practices + other certifications
2019: 310,000 CAFE Practices produced (99%, although another 140,00 metric tons were produced under CAFE Practices but apparently sold to other buyers).1
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 Tropical Commondity Coalition1 noted, "Starbucks appears to be far and away the best in terms of sustainable coffee procurement [of the top ten buyers]..."
Kraft Heinz

Large U.S. market share of nearly 10% dominated by one brand: Maxwell House.2
Amount of coffee purchased by Kraft Heinz is unknown.None of the Maxwell House branded coffee is flagged as certified on packaging, and no information on certified purchases is provided. They did not respond to the 2020 Coffee Barometer survey.1
For many years, and as it was going through mergers and acquistions, Kraft did not publish a corporate responsibility report, or make mention of coffee on their website. Coffee is still not mentioned on their Environmental Social Governance Strategy & Goals page, or specifically regarding responsible sourcing.

In the 2020 Kraft Heinz Environmental Social Governance Report they only highlight their Ethical Bean acquisition, which sources only organic and Fairtrade certified beans. The volume is unknown, but undoubtedly a small enough portion of their total purchases to qualify as greenwash tokenism.

References:

1 The Coffee Barometer Reports supply data approximately every other year. First published by the Tropical Commodity Coalition, they have had several different authors/publishers. Past years are found here: The Coffee Barometer 2009 (PDF).  Coffee Barometer 2012, Coffee Barometer 2014 (PDF); 2018 and 2020 (and hopefully future issues) are now available on this page. Much of their data comes now from companies responding to a survey. Their purchase data is used to calculate percentages of world volume, as provided by the International Coffee Organization statistics. However, these figures should be considered approximate due to company self-reporting, and some changes in definitions of volumes and market shares. Nonetheless, they likely accurately reflect ranking and relative proportions and provide adequate context.
2 Much market share data derives from statistics updated via Euromonitor International, the global market research company.
3 All of NestlÁ©’s Creating Shared Value Reports as well as other press releases and documents are available on this page.
4 JM Smucker Corporate Responsibility / Environmental, Social, and Governance Disclosure reports are available on this page.
5 Starbucks Global Responsibility / Social Responsibility Reports are available on this page.
6 Accelerating progress on the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality Program in Central America. March 2011.
7 Global Coffee Platform, Sustainable Coffee Purchases, Snapshot 2018.
8 JDE Jacobs Douwe Egberts 2019 Corporate Responsibility Report.

Revised on May 20, 2021

Posted in Certifications,Corporate coffee,Data summary tables

Tropical Commodity Coalition February 3, 2012 at 11:25 am

Thank you for your interest in our TCC Coffee Barometers. You are correct in the fact that the Tropical Commodity Coalition has been closed down since last week. Though we have published our last report ‘Coffee Barometer 2012’ with the latest figures available. Please contact me to recieve this last report, so the above story can be replenished.

Celia Marsh March 30, 2012 at 5:44 am

please could i receive this last report

JACraves March 30, 2012 at 6:34 am

The report is now available on the TCC web site.

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