Cooperation with Other Standards

In order to increase the total amount of sustainably produced coffee in the market, the 4C Association actively cooperates with other sustainability standards. It does so by promoting other sustainability standards in the market, establishing benchmarking agreements to increase efficiencies and reduce costs for producers and supply chain partners, and by using the Code of Conduct as a tool for producers to step up to more demanding certification schemes.

Fairtrade International

In 2014, the 4C Association and Fairtrade International (FLO), with support from FLO-CERT and Tchibo GmbH, developed a new benchmarking agreement that aligns the verification and certification criteria of each Standards’ production, processing and trade practices.

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The benchmarking project aims to deliver economic benefits directly to coffee producers through the provision of tools that bring more producers more efficiently into sustainability schemes. It also aligns the standards’ verification/certification criteria to increase market access for certified producers whilst reducing auditing costs. It also provides a market access toolbox to allow producers to understand market requirements, assess market access options, and take informed choices on export potentials.

Based on the results and learnings from the project, the cooperation intends to develop a Stepping Up Guide that will enable 4C verified producers and traders to comply faster and more efficiently with Fairtrade International certification requirements.

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UTZ Certified

In 2012/2013, the 4C Association and UTZ Certified initiated the pilot project Stepping-up from 4C Compliance to UTZ Certification. Encompassing 92 coffee producers in Colombia, the project confirmed that the 4C Entry-level Standard helps producers to take the first crucial steps on their journey, providing a strong foundation for them to move to higher levels of sustainability practices such as the ones required to achieve UTZ Certification.

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The project resulted in the Stepping-up Implementation Guide and was supported by the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC), IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative, and Tchibo GmbH.

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Certifica Minas Café

In 2013, the 4C Association formalised a technical cooperation agreement with the Government of Minas Gerais, the largest coffee producing state in Brazil. In addition to supporting the consolidation and international recognition of the Minas Gerais State standard for sustainability in coffee production, the Certifica Minas Café (CMC), a technical benchmarking comparison between the two standards was carried out.

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The results will allow CMC certified producers to access markets for 4C Compliant Coffee without having to undergo a full 4C verification audit, thus decreasing costs for Brazilian coffee producers and providing increased market access. This project was funded by Mondelez, Tchibo and the Sustainable Coffee Program powered by IDH.

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Rainforest Alliance

In 2008, the 4C Association and the Rainforest Alliance benchmarked their sustainability standards allowing producer groups already certified under the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) standard of the Rainforest Alliance to receive a 4C License without going through the 4C verification process.

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With the SalvaNATURA Foundation’s technical support, a group of 132 producers stepped up from the 4C Entry-level Standard to Rainforest Alliance/SAN Standards. Another major outcome of this cooperation is through the Nescafé Plan, whereby all of Nestle’s directly purchased green coffee will be compliant with the 4C Entry-level Standard by 2015. An additional 90,000 tonnes of Nescafé coffee will be sourced according to Rainforest Alliance (SAN) principles by 2020. This involves the expansion of technical assistance programmes for farmers and providing advice on farming and post-harvest practices to over ten thousand coffee farmers per year.

Learn more about this experience in 4C Voices or through the project report.

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COLLABORATION WITH IMPLEMENTERS

Fundación Natura Colombia

In August 2014, the 4C Association formalised a partnership with Fundación Natura, the Colombian NGO that aims to generate social, economic and environmental benefits in the context of sustainable human development through the conservation, use and management of biodiversity.

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In addition to developing joint projects, interlink their membership and partner networks, the partnership will see Fundación Natura acting as an implementer providing training and technical assistance to 4C units in Colombia.

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Volcafé and the IFC

In August 2014, the 4C Association entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Volcafe.

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The partnership includes the translation of the Illustrated Guide to the 4C Code of Conduct into Tok Pisin, the official language of Papua New Guinea (PNG). Additionally, a 4C accredited implementer will provide ToT (Training of Trainers) training for the managing entity of the newly established 4C Unit, BAKI Coffee Ltd, and covering approximately 5000 producers and 4000ha of coffee trees.

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IMAFLORA

February 2014 saw the 4C Association and the Instituto de Manejo e Certificação Florestal e Agrícola (IMAFLORA), a leading conservation organisation in Brazil, form an innovative partnership that will facilitate the conditions for coffee producers to “step up” from the 4C Entry-level Standard to Rainforest Alliance/SAN compliance level.