Increased proportion of certified green coffee grades

In the medium term, we only want to offer coffees whose culti­vation meets economic, ecological and social require­ments. We took another step forward on this path in 2016, by increasing the proportion of green coffee grades which are certified by an inter­na­tional standards organ­i­sation by about 1% to 15.9%. Our certified coffees are sourced from coffee farms certified according to the require­ments of Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, UTZ, or the organ­i­sa­tions behind the European organic seal.

All our premium assort­ments, such as the Cafissimo capsule range, were converted to 100% certified coffee grades back in 2012. Now we are gradually expanding the proportion in other segments. Since 2016 our For Black n’White filter coffee has carried the UTZ seal. The Blonde Roast coffee product, newly intro­duced in 2017, as well as our Gala Espresso and Caffee Crema, all carry the Rainforest Alliance seal.

Since 2011, we have signif­i­cantly increased the proportion of Fairtrade coffee in our coffee range. Around 21% of the Fairtrade coffee sold in Germany in 2016 came from Tchibo, making us one of the largest suppliers of coffee with the Fairtrade seal in Germany. In the years ahead, we plan to contin­ually increase the share of certified green coffee grades in our assortment.

New paths in the mainstream segment

In 2016, we took a new strategic path in sourcing green coffee grades that are validated according to the 4C baseline standards. In our view, the basic require­ments of the validation system for the 4C standards will soon no longer be suffi­cient to continue the sustainable devel­opment of the supply chain. That is why we are increas­ingly shifting our commitment and financial resources from purchasing 4C-validated grades to our own Tchibo Joint Forces!® quali­fi­cation programme and our ‘Mainstreaming Sustainable Coffee Production’ multi-stake­holder initiative which we initiated with the Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung. In the course of this shift, we reduced the proportion of raw coffee grades validated according to the 4C baseline standards by 6% in 2016 and used the freed-up funds from the premiums for our ‘Mainstreaming Sustainable Coffee Production’ initiative. We plan to reduce 4C coffee by a total of 8% by 2020.


Green coffee, certified and validated as sustainable

As a result of these strategic changes, the share of green coffee (certified and validated as sustainable) covered by the Tchibo sustain­ability concept in the total green coffee volume was at 36.3% in 2016, slightly down year-on-year for the first time since 2008 (previous year: 41.2%). Meanwhile, the share of certified green coffee grades increased by approx. 1% to around 15,9%.

Inter­na­tionally recog­nised standards for sustainable coffee farming

Inter­na­tionally accredited standards organ­i­sa­tions work to help coffee farmers increase their income, improve their living and working condi­tions, and increase environ­mental protection. Each organ­i­sation sets its own prior­ities in terms of individual objec­tives.

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 Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal stands for ecolog­i­cally sound agriculture and socially respon­sible corporate behaviour. This includes, for example, the conser­vation of natural resources and the creation of educa­tional oppor­tu­nities for coffee farmers.


Fairtrade stands for better working and living condi­tions for small­holders and workers in Africa, Asia and Latin America. 1.6 million small­holders and workers already benefit from fixed minimum prices as well as the Fairtrade premium for community projects. Such projects can include, for example, the construction of a school, a health centre, or investment in the local infras­tructure. Fairtrade prohibits forced labour and illegal child labour. Fairtrade provides support, training and advice for producers in the growing regions. Environ­men­tally friendly culti­vation is promoted. The independent certi­fi­cation company FLOCERT carries out on-site verifi­cation of whether producers and traders comply with Fairtrade standards.


UTZ is not an acronym, but comes from the Mayan language, an indigenous people from South America, and means ‘good’. And it is used here with good reason: 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 operate more success­fully and at the same time protect the environment. By purchasing UTZ certified products Tchibo customers can actively promote better prospects for farmers.

Bio ‘organic’ label

Organic coffee is produced from sustainable agriculture in harmony with nature. Organic farming is charac­terised such things as the use of natural fertilisers and beneficial insects that keep the soil fertile in the long term. This method of farming also helps to conserve biodi­versity and protect raw material reserves. The Bio label ensures the controlled production of organic products. The provi­sions of EU legis­lation on organic farming determine the standard. Only products that are produced and controlled according to this EU legis­lation may carry the Bio label. For more infor­mation, please visit:

4C Associ­ation

In March 2016, the Sustainable Coffee Program (SCP) – a cooper­ation between inter­na­tional coffee roasters and the Netherland’s Initiative for Sustainable Trade (IDH) as the public partner – joined forces with the 4C Associ­ation to form the Global Coffee Platform (GCP), to consol­idate the strengths of the two organ­i­sa­tions alliance and achieve a greater impact in devel­oping a sustainable coffee sector.

The Baseline Common Code 4C is still the basic standard of the coffee sector. It reflects the principles and minimal reference practices for sustainable production and processing. Coffee Assurance Services (CAS), an independent company whose share­holder is the Global Coffee Platform (GCP), is now in charge of verifi­cation.