Risk factor identification
4C Services compiled a non-exhaustive list of potential risks that may prevent 4C Units from being licensed. These risk factors are categorised according to the different levels of the supply chain within a 4C Unit. Verifiers may need to crosscheck or obtain additional information from 4C Units in order to decide on an adequate verification sample. Additional information from different sources (e.g. media, available reports, local legislation, etc.) should also be sought after and taken into consideration when assessing risk factors for the sample.
Risk factor evaluation
4C Verifiers shall use risk factors at the aggregated level of the 4C Unit and at the level of the individual Business Partners to identify the sample. Risk factors are evaluated according to the degree of their severity and probability. In principle, the evaluation of risk factors is carried out during the preparation stage prior to the verification. However, this may need to be adjusted at the verifier’s discretion, based on further information provided to verifiers during the opening meeting, the interview with the Managing Entity and/or an inspection of the farms and facilities.
The general approach for 4C Verifications is that “the chain is only as strong as its weakest link”. It is particularly important to take this into account during sampling. Verifiers must thus ensure they include high-risk Business Partners into the verification sample.
4C Services uses innovative tools for a secure and reliable risk assessment to verify sustainability criteria and assess risk levels for production areas for the relevant topics such as Biodiversity, Land Use Change, Carbon Stock, and Social Aspects.
For example, a tool like GRAS provides comprehensive sustainability-related geo-referenced information. A key functionality is the detection of land use change. Verifiers and companies use GRAS to detect the occurrence of land use change by using a simple to interpret greenness index called Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI). Additional biodiversity maps clearly indicate no go and risk areas. This helps to conduct the risk assessments, and saves time and costs in audits.
As part of its risk-based approach to dealing with potential threats, 4C Services has developed a new verification tool to identify employers involved or reported in activities characterized as work analogous to slavery, aimed primarily at the Brazilian coffee sector. This tool quickly compares the records of the 4C Business Partner Map with names on the entries of the Transparency List in Contemporary Slavery in Brazil, published by the Ministry of Labor and Reporter Brazil using national identification numbers as identifiers. 4C Verifiers will routinely use this new tool during verifications. This tool will be also available to other users of the 4C system. This measure is integrated in the set of newly implemented improvements aimed at increasing the 4C system’s robustness