4C Partners with Simexco, IDH – the Sustainable Trade Initiative, and JDE for Reducing Coffee GHG Emissions in Vietnam

Four partners combine their forces to improve the environmental footprint of coffee production in Vietnam and make a valuable contribution to the global combat against climate change

Climate change has a vastly negative impact and is caused, among others, by the increasing amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the atmosphere with agriculture as one of the main GHG emitters. Coffee production is no exception here: application of fertilizers and pesticides, deforestation and soil degradation, energy-consuming machines as well as inefficient wastewater management are considered the biggest GHG emission sources in the green coffee bean supply chain.

Measurement of GHG emissions provides an opportunity to address this problem by conducting a scientific and comprehensive evaluation of a farm’s potential to reduce its climate change impact. Having GHG information at hand makes it is possible to proceed to the next step and develop an appropriate and viable action plan to reduce, inset, and offset GHG emissions in the green coffee bean supply chain.

“What is the actual carbon footprint of a green coffee bean? How can we feasibly calculate it and what are the limitations? After thorough considerations, we developed a new approach to GHG emissions measurement and started looking for partners ready to test it with us, thus, supporting the development of a scalable robust tool, ” – Norbert Schmitz, Managing Director, 4C Services GmbH.

In 2020, 4C partnered with Simexco Dak Lak Ltd (SMC), major Vietnamese coffee exporter, in a pilot project in cooperation with IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative, and Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE) to calculate GHG emissions in coffee production. The process involves multiple stages, such as supply chain mapping, filling in and analyzing data templates as well as setting up the first calculator draft. Based on the calculation results, corresponding measures will be developed to reduce and mitigate GHG emissions.

“This partnership is one more step in JDE’s commitment to work continuously toward 100 % responsibly sourced coffee and tea by 2025,” said JDE’s sustainability manager in Asia and the Pacific, Do Ngoc Sy. “In addition to IDH’s foundational support, we are pleased to benefit from 4C’s expertise in calculating carbon emissions in coffee production, which is essential for us to calibrate our efforts and reach our sustainability goal.”

Tran Quynh Chi, Regional Director Asia Landscape, IDH – The Sustainable Trade Initiative also emphasized: “Calculating carbon emissions in coffee supply chain of Simexco Dak Lak brings added value to our pilot of large-scale sourcing areas in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.” She added: “We need in-depth calculation and analysis to know how it helps farmers increase their profitability and transform the coffee sector from a source of carbon emission to a sink. With this partnership, we are moving in the right direction to start from a small scale pilot to larger scale application of the methodology”.

This project is an important milestone for 4C on its way to establishing a “4C Climate Friendly” Add-On to the certification standard. “European consumers become more and more concerned with environmental footprint of products they buy. We developed additional logo to enable coffee producers, traders, brand owners and roasters to indicate their efforts to improve their GHG footprint, – says Norbert Schmitz.

Interested in measuring carbon footprint of your coffee? Contact us via info@4c-services.org.

About IDH

IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative, brings governments, companies, CSOs and financiers together in action driven coalitions. We orchestrate the powers of law, of entrepreneurship and investments to work together to create solutions for global sustainability issues at scale. We work in multiple sectors and landscapes in Africa, Asia and Latin America with over 600 companies, CSOs, financial institutions, producer organizations and governments towards sustainable production and trade. Read more at www.idhsustainabletrade.com.

About JDE

For more than 265 years we have been inspired by our belief that it is amazing what can happen over a cup of coffee. Today our portfolio is available in over 100 countries through iconic brands including: Jacobs, Tassimo, Moccona, Senseo, L’OR, Douwe Egberts, Super, Kenco, Pilao & Gevalia. Learn more at www.jacobsdouweegberts.com.

About Simexco

Simexco Dak Lak Ltd (SMC), a state-owned company founded in 1993, is recognized as one of the leading coffee exporters of Vietnam, the largest Robusta producing country in the world. Annual exports of SMC range from 1,3 to 2 million bags (60 kg) of coffee, representing 8% of coffee production in Vietnam. Since joining 4C in 2010, SMC has involved 4605 farmers whose farms were selected for improvement of agricultural and fair trade practices and to create a sustainable coffee community. More information under www.simexcodl.com.vn/.