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Responding to Climate Change 2011

Home | Biodiversity & Land Use | UTZ CERTIFIED More than one kind of energy in coffee

There's more than one kind of energy in coffee


A woman picking ripe coffee cherries on a UTZ CERTIFIED farm
A woman picking ripe coffee
cherries on a UTZ CERTIFIED farm

UTZ CERTIFIED is exploring the possibilities in producing energy from coffee waste. Agriculture is expected to be highly vulnerable to climate change, yet simultaneously, it is an important contributor in creating the causal conditions. The coffee sector is no exception to this.

Coffee processing is energy intensive and a potential source of contamination. The waste, the pulp and waste water that leave the coffee processing units, is rich in organic matter (minerals and bacteria) and a major source of pollution if not handled well.

A first assessment carried out in Central America showed one factor with a negative impact on the climate is the methane produced in the fermentation process. To help prevent this, UTZ CERTIFIED and its project partners started the project, ‘Energy from coffee Waste in Central America’.

UTZ CERTIFIED is a sustainability programme which has developed sustainability models for the production of coffee, cocoa and tea and offers traceability services for palm oil. The programme enables farmers to become better businessmen by implementing a commodity-specific Code of Conduct which focuses on the three pillars of people, planet and profit.

By implementing the Code of Conduct for coffee, producers address a variety of climate issues. Through the promotion of good agricultural and environmental practices, such as the prohibition of deforestation of native forests, correct and/or reduced use of fertiliser and the planting of shade trees, UTZ CERTIFIED farmers assist the mitigation of climate change. Realising with all the new data coming out that climate change is a threat to coffee production worldwide, UTZ CERTIFIED is now stressing the importance of developing further measures and sharing knowledge with different groups in order to facilitate up scaling climate change projects.

Small scale coffee producers in Central America are having a hard time in obtaining sufficient income for their families. With this project, coffee producers can profit from renewable energy sources.

This project is a concrete step in addressing climate change issues in the coffee supply chain and has huge potential to be replicated in other regions, once the technique is fully developed.

The activities undertaken are to:

  • develop, test and evaluate the technology of biogas production from coffee waste;
  • implement a Carbon Credit pilot project to investigate the possibilities; and,
  • roll out the pilots to other countries.

It will take place from April 2010 to April 2013 in a consortium with Fundación Utz Kapeh and Climate Neutral Group in Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala. Financing is from the Dutch fund, Biomassa Mondiaal, and executed on behalf of the Netherlands’ Minister for Development Cooperation with a mandate from Agentschap NL, an agency of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The Global Sustainable Biomass Fund also aims to contribute.

Search for Funding

UTZ CERTIFIED will represent the project consortium and is responsible for the overall project management. It will additionally contribute to outreach and dissemination activities to other countries, while providing guidance to the various stakeholders involved. The other partners involved in the project are Solidaridad, BZ Innovation Management (BZ) and ACERES.

Although the technical full proposal has been developed and all technical partners are ready to contribute in-kind, co-funding is needed. The consortium is looking for partners to participate as part of their search for improving sustainability and addressing climate change.

UTZ CERTIFIED enables farmers to become better businessmen. The results: improved product quality and yield, less costs and lower environmental impact. Sustainably grown and traceable products provide a better market position for farmers. UTZ provides the assurance of ‘good inside’ products, grown with care for people and the planet.



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