As part of a series, these 2016 joint reports by IDH and True Price aim to measure and value the environmental and social externalities of coffee, cocoa and cotton supply chains and by comparing conventional to certified products. Certifications included in one or more of these reports are; UTZ, 4C, Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance. Attribution of impacts to the standard-setting organisations is beyond the scope of these reports.
These studies find certified cotton, cocoa and coffee have between 16% and 35% lower external costs of cultivation than conventional products and that certified farms are on average between 13% and 52% more profitable than conventional farms. Lower costs for certified farms is attributed to higher productivity of certified farms, better environmental conditions, better social conditions and lower water usage, to varying extents for each of the three commodities. The reports also display evidence for lower rates of underpayment and gender discrimination on certified cotton farms and lower rates of child labour, accidents and deforestation on certified cocoa farms.
According to these reports, targeted interventions that reduce scarce water use, eliminate income, working towards zero deforestation improve yields, lower fertilizer application and reduce scarce water use have the potential to further decrease external costs of certified coffee, cotton and cocoa. Future impact research is needed for certified and conventional farms, especially on; wages, child labour, bonded labour, discrimination, occupational incidences, fertilizer and pesticide application rates and water and energy use in order to improve the robustness of the results and better steer future interventions.
To read the original, full reports, click below