Sara Lee Corp. announced a new 5-year initiative to boost its sustainable commodity program. In the past five years Sara Lee has become the world's largest buyer of UTZ Certified Good Inside® coffee thanks to cumulative purchases of more than 110 million kilos of the commodity. Today the company committed to more than triple that amount in the next five years and purchase at least 350 million kilos across all its markets and product segments. The company estimates its sustainability investments can deliver to coffee farmers, their associations and representatives up to $100 million of income over and above what they would have earned by selling uncertified coffee beans in the open market.
"Sara Lee's long-term goal is to use only certified coffee and tea in all products worldwide, and this new aggressive five-year plan is a very important step in accelerating our progress," said Frank van Oers, chief executive officer of Sara Lee's international beverage and bakery businesses in a prepared statement. "By providing coffee growers visibility five years out and publicly committing to buy very large quantities of certified coffee we can contribute to improve sustainability in the mainstream coffee market worldwide."
By 2015 Sara Lee will have more than 20 percent of its entire annual coffee volume certified sustainable, a percentage currently unmatched by its peers among the largest mainstream coffee manufacturers. Sara Lee ranks third worldwide in coffee volume behind Nestlé and Kraft Foods, and ahead of other leading firms such as The J.M. Smucker Company and Tchibo. Sara Lee's portfolio of coffee brands includes market leaders such as DOUWE EGBERTS®, MAISON DU CAFÉ®, SENSEO®, MARCILLA® and MERRILD®.
Sara Lee announced also that it is expanding the number of sustainable certification partners with which it works. Although the UTZ CERTIFIED Foundation will remain Sara Lee's main partner for sustainable certification, the company will liaise occasionally with other programs such as certified organic or Rainforest Alliance.
In 2010 Sara Lee became the first to bring to market UTZ CERTIFIED Good Inside® tea as part of its long-term commitment to achieve full certification. Sara Lee is already using certified tea for one third of its total European tea volume, which is sold under flagship brands such as PICKWICK® and HORNIMANS®. The company is a long-standing Sara Lee launches ambitious five-year sustainable coffee plan – Page 2 member of the Ethical Tea Partnership, an international non-commercial alliance of 20 tea-packers with a vision for a thriving global tea sector that is socially just and environmentally sustainable.
Sara Lee's international beverage division operates in more than 40 countries around the world and generated $3 billion in net sales in the fiscal year ended in June 2010. The company is the main sponsor of the Douwe Egberts Foundation, a multi-million euro investment to improve the living and working conditions of small coffee and tea farmers in countries of origin.
The UTZ CERTIFIED Foundation is an independent non-profit organization that runs one of the most popular and respected agricultural commodity sustainable certification programs. The foundation is dedicated to achieving sustainable agricultural supply chains that meet the growing needs and expectations of farmers, the industry and consumers.