High standards for a more sustainable coffee supply chain

Our sustain­ability strategy pursues the aim of gradually estab­lishing minimum environ­mental and social require­ments across our supply chains. In 2014, we took a further step on the way towards including 100% of our coffee range in our sustain­ability concept. In 2014, about 35% of our processed green coffee came from farms that meet the require­ments of our sustain­ability concept. They are either certified and bear the Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade, UTZ Certified or European Bio (organic) seal – or are validated according to the baseline standards of the 4C Associ­ation. In this way we are expanding the reach of our commitment in combi­nation with our own Tchibo Joint Forces!® quali­fi­cation programme, and thereby contributing to devel­oping a more sustainable coffee supply chain.

According to a survey included in the Coffee Report 2014 published by Tchibo in cooper­ation with the business magazine Brand Eins, one third of consumers in Germany already prefer environ­men­tally and socially respon­sibly produced coffees and speciality coffees. The findings confirm us in our goal of integrating all Tchibo coffees into our sustain­ability concept in the medium term.

Growing share of validated and certified grades

Since 2008, we have been gradually increasing the share of green coffee grades that are validated or certified by inter­na­tionally recog­nised standards organ­i­sa­tions. When selecting them, we make sure that their standards were developed in dialogue with all relevant stake­holders, in ‘multi-stake­holder dialogues’. The organ­i­sa­tions help coffee farmers on the ground to apply environ­mental and social criteria for growing coffee, and check their compliance. This ensures that producers meet the minimum require­ments of our sustain­ability concept. We currently purchase our certified coffee from providers who work with the Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade and UTZ Certified, and the organ­i­sa­tions behind the EU Bio label. Validated coffee meets the baseline standards of the 4C Associ­ation. We have achieved our goal for 2014 of sourcing 35% of our coffee from validated or certified coffee farms. In 2015 we intend to increase this proportion to 40%.

Greater reach through a variety of require­ments

The inter­na­tionally recog­nised standards organ­i­sa­tions pursue one basic set of objec­tives: to help coffee farmers increase their income, improve their living and working condi­tions, and protect the environment. Each organ­i­sation sets its own prior­ities in the details of the individual goals:

Rainforest Alliance

The Rainforest Alliance is an inter­na­tionally recog­nised, independent environ­mental organ­i­sation that campaigns for the protection of sensitive ecosystems and promotes the sustainable management of land. The seal stands for ecolog­i­cally sound agriculture and socially respon­sible corporate behaviour. This includes, for example, the protection of resources and the creation of educa­tional oppor­tu­nities for coffee farmers. For more infor­mation about the Rainforest Alliance, please visit: www.rainforest-alliance.org


Fairtrade standards ensure the payment of minimum prices and empower coffee farmers to sustainably improve their living and working condi­tions. The Fairtrade premium is used to sponsor community facil­ities such as hospitals or educa­tional insti­tu­tions. Fairtrade supports small­holder struc­tures in particular, thereby strength­ening families and village commu­nities. Fairtrade gives small­holders and workers a voice, gets them noticed and empowers them to make self-deter­mined decisions. For more infor­mation on Fairtrade please visit: www.fairtrade-deutschland.de

UTZ Certified

UTZ is not an acronym, but comes from the language of the Maya, an ancient people from South America, and means “good”.Nomen est omen: UTZ Certified trains coffee farmers in the fields of business, social working condi­tions and environ­mental management, helping them, for example by learning better farming methods, to work more success­fully while also protecting the environment. By purchasing UTZ certified products, Tchibo customers can actively promote better prospects for farmers. For more infor­mation on UTZ, please visit: www.utzcer­tified.org

‘Bio’ (organic) label

Organic coffee is synonymous with sustainable agriculture in harmony with nature. Organic farming is charac­terised by such things as the use of natural fertilisers and beneficial insects that keep the soil fertile long-term. This method of farming also helps to conserve biodi­versity and conserve resources. The Bio label ensures the controlled production of organic products. The provi­sions of EU legis­lation on organic farming set the standards for the label. Only products that are produced and controlled according to this EU legis­lation may carry the Bio label. For more infor­mation, please visit: www.bio-siegel.de

Baseline standards of the 4C Associ­ation

Tchibo is a founding member of the 4C Associ­ation. This inter­na­tional organ­i­sation unites producers, traders, coffee roasters and civic society groups worldwide in working together towards a shared goal: to improve sustain­ability throughout the coffee sector. As a 4C member, we contin­u­ously campaign to further improve sustain­ability in coffee production, processing, and trading.

The different prior­ities of the standards organ­i­sa­tions signif­i­cantly increase the scope of our efforts for a more sustainable supply chain. It enables us to respond more flexibly to fluctu­a­tions in supply, ensure the avail­ability of sustainable raw coffee and consistent product quality, and involve a much larger number of coffee farmers in our sustain­ability concept beyond our own Tchibo Joint Forces!® quali­fi­cation programme.