Evaluation of UTZ Certification on Coffee Businesses in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua
This independent evaluation study assesses the strategies and needs of coffee certificate holders (CHs), businesses that implement the UTZ standard, in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
The study aimed to understand the businesses’ experiences with UTZ implementation, the benefits they derived from UTZ, the challenges they faced to deepen engagement and how UTZ fits into the coffee businesses’ larger strategy around certification, farmer engagement and marketing.
ICRAF selected nine different cases that included four cooperatives (in Honduras and Nicaragua; two emerging and two established), two private buyers (in Honduras and Nicaragua) and three plantations (in Guatemala; two large and one medium-sized farm). Farmworkers or farmer suppliers and other key actors who interact with the businesses (such as buyers, intermediaries, NGOs, governmental agencies) were also interviewed. Finally, three former UTZ CHs (business that had participated but had withdrawn from the UTZ program for at least one year prior to data collection) were asked about their interactions with UTZ and the factors that led to halting participation.
The following three questions guided data collection and analysis for all the CHs:
- UTZ implementation: How do the CHs value UTZ certification (including expectations associated with UTZ adoption); what are the associated benefits and costs (realized and/or perceived)?
- Bottlenecks for deeper UTZ engagement: What are the major bottlenecks faced by CHs to increase sales and obtain greater benefits from participation in the UTZ program; how have they sought to overcome these bottlenecks?
- UTZ in a multi certification context: Why and how have CHs engaged with different types of certification systems; how does UTZ fit into the multi certification strategy; how do these findings vary across different types of CHs?