If you are at all interested in environmental certifications, then you probably already know: UTZ and Rainforest Alliance are merging. Instead of The Big Three certifying bodies, we’ll now have the The Big Two. And quite honestly, we here at Moyee are pretty happy about this move. And for more than one reason.
First, all these certifications are expensive. We’ve never made a secret about it – for us they are necessary evils. But honestly we’d rather pay all that money to the coffee producers, not the middlemen.
Second, these types of certifications are designed for big companies not operating on the front lines of radical change. If we’re cynical about it, big companies pay to be good. Nothing wrong with that, but companies like Moyee have to pay as well. Because if we don’t have the certification people think we’re doing something wrong.
Third, many of our corporate partners demand some sort of certification, and interpret more certification as better. So one less is a godsend, really!
Fourth, we’ll choose collaboration over competition every day of the week. Let these two certifying organizations merge their ambitions and systems and simplify the whole certification process. Heck, they should even expand their categories to include ‘living income’, ‘climate smart agriculture’ and ‘local value creation’. These all-important points are currently unaddressed by either organization.
Go! Fight! Win!
One of our dearest partners in Ethiopia is Mesfin and family, running a farm that happens to be UTZ certified. He told us what he thinks of the merger: “It is great news indeed. The certification process really helped us improve our farm, but we kept asking ourselves, “how do we choose from all the existing certifications?” and “what is the marketing value of each?” We were seriously comparing the two (UTZ and Rainforest Alliance) when this news arrived. Now we are left with the question, how about the other certifications?