Sara Lee Coffee to be More Sustainable in 2009

Sara Lee further increases its commitment to sustainable coffee as the company will buy 26,500 tons of certified coffee beans in 2009. That is approximately 30percent more than in 2008 and a tenfold increase since the company formalised its sustainable sourcing commitment five years ago.

Sara Lee is the world's third largest coffee roaster and sells its coffee blends under flagship brands such as Douwe Egberts, Senseo, Merrild, Maison du Café and Marcilla.

Sara Lee's sustainable coffee sourcing initiatives are aimed at creating a more sustainable mainstream coffee sector. Since 2004, all of Sara Lee's coffee brands have become increasingly sustainable as Sara Lee's UTZ certified coffee volumes have increased from 2,500 tons in 2004 to the 26,500 tons Sara Lee committed to buying in 2009.

From the start, Sara Lee has partnered with UTZ CERTIFIED because of its shared commitment to making the mainstream coffee market more sustainable. UTZ certifies coffee farmers based on a comprehensive set of social, business and environmental criteria for the production and processing of coffee whilst taking care of the environment. This results in a more professional way of producing coffee and improved living conditions for farmers and their families.

Besides the partnership with UTZ CERTIFIED, Sara Lee is a founding member of the Common Code for the Coffee Community (4C), a multi-stakeholder initiative in which producers, trade, industry and civil society work together for more sustainability in the entire coffee sector. Sara Lee also established its own Douwe Egberts Foundation (DE Foundation), working with Solidaridad and other partners to improve living conditions of, in particular, small coffee farmers in the main countries of origin.

"Our commitment to sustainable sourcing is aimed at steady growth. Eventually, we want to buy only sustainably sourced coffee," said Stefanie Miltenburg, international CSR officer at Sara Lee. "Coffee is the world's second most traded commodity after oil, and to make a difference in sustainability as the world's third largest coffee roaster, you simply have to make an effort that involves the total sector. I am amazed at how much we have already achieved since we started our programs, and how much of a difference we have already made."

"Not only do we consider CSR to be the right ethical course of action, it is a necessary ingredient for long-term business success as it is so important to our consumers and customers," said Frank van Oers, CEO International Beverage at Sara Lee. "I am very pleased that we have been able to increase our sustainable coffee volumes significantly year after year, for five years in a row. I am proud that our company has been a frontrunner in making the mainstream coffee sector more sustainable."

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