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 February 2017.

Methods

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. 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 2016 was about 9.1 million metric tons.

Company
Purchases
Certified
purchases
Nestlé
Brands owned include Nescafé, Nespresso, Nescafé, Dolce Gusto, Taster’s Choice, Clasico.
2008: 780,000
2010: 870,0001 (49,020 tons was Nespresso2)
2013: 860,0004
2014: 842,0004
2015: 849,0004
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.
Approximately 22.6% world share, 3.9% US share (retail sales, 2015)6

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" report4)

In their 2015 "Creating Shared Value" report, 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.

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. See this post for details.
JAB Holding Co.
Through other holding companies and acquisitions owns or is majority holder of many brands including Keurig Green Mountain and Jacobs Douwe Egberts (see graphic on this page). Some brands (e.g., Peet's Coffee & Tea, Caribou Coffee, Intelligentsia Coffee, Stumptown Coffee) have likely retained their own supply lines.
2008: 740,000
2010: 700,0001
2013: 500,0005
2016: 728,000 for JDE alone, based on 8% of world production
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%)5

JDE states only that it purchases some certified coffee.

Caribou Coffee continues to purchase all Rainforest Alliance certified coffee. Other brands that have maintained independent sourcing may also buy certified coffee, but amounts may not be disclosed.

2008-2013 figures are historical and reflect purchases of some acquisitions.
Approximately 14.7% world share, 12.1% US share (retail sales, 2015)6

Consolidation of many brands began around 2014 or so 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.). JAB obtained a majority stake in the resulting company, Jacobs Douwe Egberts, and continued acquisition of other coffee entities.

JAB is privately held, and thus future data on purchases and certifications may not be possible to obtain. Some brands are continuing their own sourcing.
JM Smuckers
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: 280,000
2010: 250,0001
2013: 300,0005
2008: 1,500 (0.5%) was certified either Rainforest Alliance, Fair Trade, and/or organic.
2010: Data not disclosed. See note.
2013: Apparently, none5
2015: 10% of some unknown amount from all sources (UTZ, Rainforest Alliance, and Fair Trade7
Approximately 2.9% world share, 14.8% US share (retail sales, 2015)6

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 (the TCC1 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 7.
Starbucks 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
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
Approximately 2.4% world share, 8.1% US share (retail sales, 2015)6

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]..."
Kraft/Kraft Heinz Maxwell House, Gevalia in USApproximately 2.9% world share, 7.6% US share (retail sales, 2015)6. Amount of coffee purchased by Kraft Heinz is unknown.None of the Maxwell House branded coffee is certified.
Maxwell House was the only major brand held by Kraft after selling off most of its coffee business to Mondelēz International, now acquired by JAB Holding.

Kraft Heinz does not publish a corporate responsibility report, and makes no mention of coffee on their single sustainability page or in their supplier guiding principals.

References:

1 Tropical Commodity Coalition, Coffee Barometer 2012.
2 Nestlé Nespresso Ecolaboration Progress Report, June 2011.
3 Accelerating progress on the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality Program in Central America. March 2011.
4 Nestlé Creating Shared Value Reports are available on this page.
5 Coffee Barometer 2014 (PDF)
6 Euromonitor statistics; those for JAB Holding combine companies and brands in which JAB is a majority shareholder.
7 Smuckers Corporate Responsibility Reports are available on this page.

Starbucks Global Responsibility Reports available on this page
The Coffee Barometer 2009

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Revised on February 9, 2017

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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