UCC Holdings Co., Ltd (Headquarters / Kobe City, Capital / 100 million Yen, President / Gota Ueshima) has renewed the “UCC QUALITY CONTEST -Helping build a sustainable future-” (hereinafter referred to as “UCC quality contest”) which has been held since 2001 in coffee- production areas in six countries around the world, with the aim of building a recycling society in coffee-production areas where high-quality coffee can be produced permanently.
Furthermore, today on Wednesday April 28 the first award ceremony in Vietnam after the renewal will be held online between Japan and Vietnam (* 1) via livestreaming on the official Instagram account of UCC Coffee Academy.
UCC Group is developing a consistent coffee business through its unique value chain “From Cup to Seed”. In addition, UCC Group has established the UCC Group Sustainability Vision and 4 priority
items (* 2), and has been engaged in a variety of activities, including initiatives that also take into consideration the sustainability of the coffee industry at all stages, from the country of origin to the manufacturing process, products, and every single cup to be served to the customers.
“UCC Quality Contest” is a coffee quality competition for coffee producers in specific production areas. “UCC Quality Contest” was first held in 2001 in the state of Espirito Santo, Brazil, in response to the coffee crisis, and has been held continuously for the past 20 years in six countries around the world.
Producers submit their highest quality coffee to the “UCC Quality Contest” and compete for the highest ranking. Producers can improve their quality and increase their income by working hard to list their product in the contest, which will also motivate their production of better coffee. The top prize winners of the “UCC Quality Contest” can get supplementary prizes according to the circumstances of the country of origin, such as a premium for prize money, farm tools, and purchase price.
UCC group also aims to procure high-quality fresh coffee beans in a stable condition by building good relationships with producers through the “UCC Quality Contest”.
This is an effort to build a win-win relationship for both UCC and producers, and is contribution to SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals): No. 1 “No Poverty” and No. 6 “Clean Water and Sanitation” ,No. 8 “Decent Work and Economic Growth”, No. 10 “Reducing Inequality “, No. 12 “Responsible Consumption and Production”, No. 15 “Life on Land” No. 17 “Partnership for the Goals”, and corresponds to “Collaboration with producing countries”, which is one of the key items of UCC Group’s sustainability activities.
In addition, this year marks the 20th anniversary of the “UCC Quality Contest”, and the contest has been redesigned to include not only the traditional quality evaluation of taste and aroma, but also new sustainability evaluation items to strengthen SDGs perspective.
In recent years, there has been a growing demand for companies to contribute to a sustainable society represented by SDGs. UCC Group will continue to pursue further sustainability in its unique value chain, “From Cup to Seed,” by evolving its historic initiatives to incorporate new trends of the times.
■ Background and Overview of the Contest
1. Background of the Contest (Coffee Crisis)
Coffee prices fluctuate due to various factors such as supply and demand, speculation, and exchange rates, but in 2001, the price dropped to a record low of 41.5 cents per pound of raw beans. At that time, the production cost was said to be 70 to 80 cents, and the more coffee was produced, the more difficult it became to make a living, making coffee an unattractive crop for producers.
Under these circumstances, producers tend to refrain from investing in farms such as fertilization and maintenance to reduce costs, or to shorten costly harvesting operations. However, such actions lead to deterioration of quality, and as a result, it leads to a vicious cycle in which the income of producers is further reduced.
In addition, if coffee becomes an unattractive crop, it can lead to abandonment of production and conversion to other crops, reducing coffee production. From the consumer side, it is difficult to procure good quality coffee in a stable condition. The “UCC Quality Contest” is an initiative that we started to improve the situation with a sense of crisis.
2. Outline of “UCC QUALITY CONTEST – Helping build a sustainable future- (UCC Quality Contest)”
(1) Contest implementation method
(2) Number of participants in the “UCC Quality Contest” in Vietnam in 2021: 28 organizations
(3) Recruitment of participating organizations in Vietnam: Recruitment conducted with local partner companies
(4) Judgment: Examination by international coffee qualification holders such as CQI certified Q grader *3
(5) Awards: Prize money, certificates, etc. will be awarded to the top 1st-7th winners
3. Points of this renewal
In addition to the conventional quality items such as taste and aroma, a new sustainability evaluation item has been added to the judging process. The sustainable evaluation includes a total of 20 items, such as traceability (making it possible for participating farms to track their history from procurement of raw materials to processing, distribution, and sales), and whether sufficient measures are taken in terms of the environment and society. With the recent increase in interest in SDGs and the need to emphasize sustainability in the coffee industry, specific items were set for the judging to have producers understand the importance of sustainability.
* 1 Date and time of the online award ceremony
Date: April 28, 2021 (Wednesday) 11: 00-12: 30 (JST)
The first half is an award ceremony, and the second half is about introducing Vietnamese coffee culture. * 2 UCC Group Sustainable Vision and 4 Priority Items
“UCC Group Sustainable Vision”
Sustainable activities “From Cup to Seed” contribute to the development of the coffee industry and bring smiles to the world.
“4 priority items”
Sustainability activities with four priority items: “Collaboration with producing countries” and “Build up the value of Coffee”, which are UCC’s unique initiatives, and “Environmental activities” and “Responsible business activities”, which are the efforts to be made as a company.
* 3 What is a CQI (Coffee Quality Institute) certified Q grader?
A technician certified by CQI to be able to evaluate coffee according to the standards and procedures set by SCA (Specialty Coffee Association).
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