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Risk Management

Risk factor identification

4C Services compiled a non-exhaustive list of potential risks that may prevent 4C Units from being certified. These risk factors are categorised according to the different levels of the supply chain within a 4C Unit. Certification Bodies may need to crosscheck or obtain additional information from 4C Units in order to decide on an adequate certification sample. Additional information from different sources (e.g. media, available reports, local legislation, etc.) should also be sought and taken into consideration when assessing risk factors for the sample.

Risk factor evaluation

4C Certification Bodies 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 certification. However, this may need to be adjusted at the auditors’ discretion, based on further information provided to auditors during the opening meeting, the interview with the Managing Entity and/or an inspection of the farms and facilities.

Sample size

The general approach for 4C Certification is that “the chain is only as strong as its weakest link”. It is particularly important to take this into account during sampling. Auditors must thus ensure they include high-risk Business Partners into the certification sample.

Risk Assessment

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. Certification Bodies 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.

4C Services has developed a mobile App to facilitate the collection of geographic coordinates, which are then used for risk assessment.

 The 4C Field Recorder allows you to collect geodata for your area of interest:

  • Collect geo-coordinates: longitude and latitude.
  • Collect field outlines: to measure the area and provide geo-coordinates of central point of the farm.

As part of its risk-based approach to dealing with potential threats, 4C Services also has developed an audit tool to identify employers reported as involved 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 auditors will routinely use this new tool during audits. This tool is 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.