UCC Quality

Through its unique value chain spanning “from cup to seed,” the UCC Group gives due consideration to not only quality but also to sustainability and the issues facing the coffee industry in promoting various initiatives and in the procurement of raw materials. And UCC defines this entire process as “UCC Quality.”

[Coffee-producing countries]Unique initiatives to achieve sustainable farming

Since opening the directly-operated Blue Mountain coffee estate in Jamaica in 1981, UCC has been engaged in full-scale farming operations and by leveraging the expertise acquired through these operations, has been holding “Quality Contests” at the six coffee-producing countries, in an effort to enhance the quality of the coffee produced in each country, raise the standard of living of the producers and to ensure the stable supply of coffee. UCC is also involved in unique sustainability activities including forest conservation activities and the instruction of cultivation techniques in the coffee-producing countries.
Additionally, in Japan, UCC is supporting learning that incorporates the perspectives of SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) by creating teaching materials on the theme of “Thinking about sustainable development based on the relationship of Japan with coffee-producing countries,” offering these materials to the junior high schools and high schools around the nation, and conducting classes. Furthermore, the UCC Coffee Academy is proactively promoting various initiatives including the holding of online seminars that present the activities of the coffee-producing countries.

  1. ① Directly-operated coffee estates (UCC Blue Mountain Coffee Craighton Estate in Jamaica and UCC Hawaii Kona Coffee Estate)

    UCC directly operates coffee estates in Jamaica and Hawaii, known for their high-quality coffees, to build up cultivation techniques and revitalize local farming.
  2. ② Contracted coffee estates (Brazil Natural Half Caffeine Laurina and Guatemala Geisha)

    UCC has commissioned various coffee estates in order to conduct investigation and research for cultivating high-quality and rare coffees and to procure raw ingredients (E.g. Natural Half Caffeine Laurina, which naturally contains half of the caffeine of the regular Arabica variety and the Guatemala Geisha)
  3. ③ Quality Contests (Held in six countries – Brazil, Jamaica, Hawaii, Vietnam, Ethiopia, and China)

    UCC holds Quality Contests in the coffee-producing countries to raise awareness of the importance of producing high-quality coffee (Securing income for the producers and ensuring stable and rising income).
  4. ④ Forest conservation (Pursuit of a sustainable coffee cultivation model)

    UCC coordinates with the forest management project (such as providing technical instruction to improve quality) in Ethiopia’s Belete-Gera Forest and other organizations to conserve the forests of the coffee-producing countries.
  5. ⑤ Rural and farming development (Establishing models for regional development and boosting the local economy)

    UCC is promoting the JICA One Village One Product Project in Rwanda and the Project for the Renewal of Café Bourbon Pointu of Réunion Island in order to revitalize the producers and local farming and to stabilize their income.
  6. ⑥ Raising awareness and distributing information (Activities to raise awareness in order to foster the understanding of the consumers)

    UCC conducts classes for junior high schools and high schools and distributes teaching materials on forest conservation initiatives, gives online presentations on the activities of the coffee-producing countries and the coffee-producers, and markets various certified coffees.
Scenes from the Quality Contests
Scenes from the forest conservation project

[Procurement]Raw materials that give due consideration to sustainability and the issues facing the coffee industry

We have established the “UCC Group Responsible Procurement Principle” and the “UCC Group Supplier Code of Conduct,” which articulates our stance toward procurement.

Based on these rules, UCC aims to further enhance the reliability and transparency of procurement in order to ensure the sustainable growth of the coffee industry, while at the same time promote responsible procurement together with our suppliers to contribute to solving the issues of the supply chain. Moreover, UCC employees with specialized expertise visit the countries and conduct periodic fact-finding investigations to promote responsible procurement activities.

“UCC Group Responsible Procurement Principle”

Our commitment to excellence includes fulfilling responsible and ethical practices beyond legal compliance, which can inspire an open spirit of continuous improvement and support long term and sustainable business. To help communicate this commitment, we have developed our Responsible Procurement Principles, which will guide efforts and promote activities in both our own teams and our suppliers.

Four major principles of responsible procurement of UCC Group

  • Respect for human rights
  • Business integrity and fair business practices
  • Improvement of quality and safety
  • Protecting the environment and respecting communities

“UCC Group Supplier Code of Conduct”

Achieving our responsible business commitments and ambitions relies on our ability to incorporate our values, expectations and policies into our business activities. We have developed the UCC Group Supplier Code of Conduct to detail these expectations and help drive continuous improvement together. Through our phased engagement process, we will require our suppliers to acknowledge and commit to the Code, respecting its provisions and collaborating with us to ensure adherence.

Main elements

  • Respect for basic human rights
  • Protecting the environment and respecting communities

[Quality assurance and inspection systems]

UCC has established a unique and thorough, multi-stage, quality assurance system and a stringent inspection system for every step from importing the coffee beans from the coffee-producing countries to commercialization.

All raw beans handled by UCC, prior to being sent to each plant, are gathered at the Quality Assurance Department in Kobe where they undergo strict inspections by the “classificadors” (coffee appraisers). Raw beans that do not meet these standards are not imported and will never reach the production line. Only the quality raw beans that have passed these checks are ultimately imported and even at their destination plants, they undergo multi-stage quality inspections at each level from the acceptance checks conducted by certified inspectors through to the checks of the products for shipment. Our unique inspection system allows us to consistently deliver coffee of unchanging quality.