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Sara Lee, Tiny Footprint Announce Sustainable Coffee Initiatives

Sara Lee will get more than a fifth of its annual coffee volume from certified sustainable sources by 2015, the company has announced.

The food manufacturer has committed to more than tripling the cumulative amount of UTZ certified Good Inside coffee that it buys. Sara Lee said that in the next five years it will bring its cumulative purchases of the certified coffee up to 350 million kilos, from 110 million bought in the past five years.

This move will deliver up to $100 million to coffee farmers, their associations and representatives, above what they would have earned in the open market, the company said.

Sara Lee says it is the world’s largest buyer of the certified commodity.  It is the third-biggest coffee seller in the world, behind Nestle and Kraft Foods. Sara Lee coffee brands include Douwe Egberts, Maison du Cafe, Senseo, Marchilla and Merrild.

The company said it will also expand the number of coffee certification partners it works with, seeking labels such as Rainforest Alliance and certified organic. But it said UTZ will remain its primary coffee stamp.

Last year Nestle said it will source 90,000 tons of coffee according to Rainforest Alliance and Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) principles by 2020.  It also said it will double the amount of coffee it buys directly from farmers to 180,000 tons over the next five years, and will ensure that all directly purchased green coffee will meet 4C sustainability standards by 2015.

In other coffee news, small producer Roastery 7 said it intends to plan 2,000 trees in Ecuador’s Mindo Cloudforest starting this December, creating the potential to suck 1.4 million pounds of carbon from the atmosphere.

Minnesota-based Roastery 7 makes Tiny Footprint Coffee, billed as the world’s first carbon-negative coffee. The company sells more than 2,000 lbs. of coffee per month.

Part of the revenue from each pound of Tiny Footprint goes towards tree planting by the Mindo Cloudforest Foundation, which owns nearly 15,000 acres of land.

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