· 4C at the Asian Coffee Conference, December 2018

Gustavo Bacchi – Managing Director 4C Services and Michael von Luehrte Member of the Board 4C Services attended the 24th Asia International Coffee Conference (AICC) organized by IBC in HCMC/Vietnam from 4th – 6th December 2018.  Michael joined a panel discussion moderated by Jose Sette – Executive Director of the ICO – on “Innovative Partnerships and Collaboration Redefining the Approach to Sustainability” citing the importance to include measurable impact assessment in the sustainability schemes. New data technology and analysis as developed by 4C Services is helping to improve the collection and analysis of field data in a more efficient way, with greater coverage and focused audits through satellite imagery and desktop data analysis. The key focus of sustainability schemes must be on the producers – helping to improve agricultural practices, social and environmental standards.

This is a long-term process around continuous improvement, Michael said during the panel discussion: “4C is the largest coffee sustainability scheme covering more than 400.000  farmers in 28 countries”.

One of the topics covered on the panel was the impact of climate change on coffee production – the continued pressure on forests and also hear how the different public and private organizations can work together and coordinate efforts to ensure a more sustainable future of coffee production.  Given continued coffee demand growth, we will need to double/triple green coffee production by 2050 on the same/less land and under the impacts of climate change. This takes a collaborative effort by all partners across the coffee supply chain, and Michael made a pledge of coordinated action to all participants.

Gustavo Bacchi – Managing Director of 4C Services and Michael von Luehrte, Member of the 4C Advisory Board participated in the International Coffee Week in Belo Horizonte in Brazil on Nov 7-9, 2018.

During the two-day Coffee Conference organised by GCP, Gustavo joined a panel discussion focusing on and around the aspects of impact assessment and measurement. As a first point he explained the linkage of impact assessment and certification. During the certification audits a lot of on-the-ground data are being collected that support the 3 sustainability dimensions (economic, social and environmental). This data is critical to develop the action plans for continuous improvement at farm level and provides the backbone for data-based impact assessment.

While in the past the auditing processes have been costly and needed many on-site visits, new technologies now use mobile apps, satellite imagery and overlays with several databases make the data collection and analysis process more efficient. Computing and modelling capabilities allow for quick data processing of the impact performance indicators. Technology also allows audits to be more directed and specific, using a risk-based approach. The concept of continuous improvement and impact assessment go hand in hand. Ultimately this becomes the KPI for the effectiveness of certification programs but also for specific project work, where sponsors/donors want to know the impact of their investments.

4C Services is a frontrunner in the application of this technology, leveraging proprietary analytical tools developed by its parent company MEO Carbon Solutions, and is also developing impact assessment indicators.

On a global level, impact assessment is still in its infancy stage – academia and the private sector need to catch up on definitions/measurements. But at the end the most important result is at producer level to implement meaningful improvements for day-to-day farm operations. 4C is the largest global certification system in the coffee sector, with a presence in 28 countries and auditing more than 400,000 producers. The focus of the certification efforts of 4C is on climate -friendly production methods and to preserve rainforests, which are under pressure from the consequences of climate change.

The International Coffee Week was part of EXPOMINAS – a trade show by the Brazilian coffee sector. An impressive 171 companies/cooperatives showed their products, let people taste their products and follow the competitions for barista capabilities and the best qualities of coffee produced. It was also a great opportunity for 4C Services to connect with several of our partners, deepen the cooperation and explain the new 4C approach focusing on technology.

During the event our partners COCATREL and COOXUPE launched local coffee brands carrying the 4C logo on-pack. Local Brazilian roasters are starting to look at sustainability as an integrated part of their company policies and consumer communication.  Brazil is the 2nd largest coffee consuming nation after the USA and has been growing constantly over the last years.












The ninth Swiss Coffee Trade Association (SCTA) forum and gala dinner took place in Geneva on 11th & 12th of October 2018. These two days were dedicated to meetings, networking, and debate at Intercontinental Hotel. The guest list more than 850 members of the international coffee community.

Dr. Norbert Schmitz, Managing Director of  Meo Carbon Solutions gave a presentation on “Blockchain and the changes for sustainability schemes”. A presentation on how blockchain technology like can support the implementation of a sustainable and deforestation-free supply chain in the coffee sector.

Please find the complete presentation here.

The 50th Annual General Meeting of the German Coffee Association was held on May 17, 2018, in Hamburg. Representatives from the 228 member companies participated in the event.

4C Services was represented at the meeting by Dr. Norbert Schmitz, Managing Director of Meo Carbon Solutions, and Gustavo Bacchi, Managing Director 4C Services.

At the meeting, Dr. Norbert Schmitz gave a presentation on the vision, way forward and impact of the 4C Certification System.

Please find the presentation here.

Private sustainability standards (PSS) cover a large production area and include an expanding number of farmers worldwide. They bring up expectations among consumers about the economic, social and environmental implications of food production and trade. But do PSS effectively provide a way to improve the socio-economic and environmental sustainability of global food production and trade? Unfortunately, there are no multidisciplinary studies that concurrently assess the socio-economic and environmental impacts of PSS, which are needed to understand the full sustainability implications of PSS including potential trade-offs between socio-economic and environmental benefits.

For this reason, Division Forest, Nature and Landscape, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, KU Leuven, Division of Bio-economics, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, KU Leuven, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, and Royal Museum for Central Africa have come together to conduct an inter-disciplinary and comparative study on the socio-economic and environmental implications of different coffee certification schemes. They analyze the on-farm socio-economic and environmental impacts of a double Fairtrade – Organic (FT-Org) and a triple UTZ – Rainforest Alliance –4C (UTZ-RA-4C) smallholder coffee certification scheme in Uganda.

Please find the complete report from this study here.

To all users of the 4C System and other civil society stakeholders,

On August 03, 2018 the 4C Code of Conduct and verification system was mentioned in an article published by “Repórter Brasil” describing the occurrence of an inspection carried out by the Brazilian Ministry of Labor at Fazenda Córrego das Almas, in the municipality of Piumhi, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

In order to clarify all stakeholders in a transparent manner, we would like to confirm that the farm mentioned in the report:

  1. does not hold a 4C license;
  2. is not included in any list of producers belonging to the groups (4C units) holding a 4C license;
  3. was recently included in a request for verification and inclusion in a producer group. The on-site verification has already occurred, but to date the 4C license has not been issued;
  4. did not market any coffee as a 4C licensed coffee up to now.

We consider the information described in the “Repórter Brasil” article to be relevant and their findings are of course incompatible with the requirements of good agricultural and management practices. They would constitute a breach of the 4C Code of Conduct, and specifically represent unacceptable practices as described in the 4C code.

As soon as we became aware of the content of the report, we have initiated a rigorous internal investigation and have already implemented the corresponding sanctions of the verification rules of the 4C system. In practical terms, this means the immediate exclusion of the farm mentioned in the report from the application process we received recently, and an increased level of scrutiny for other farms within the same 4C unit to ensure the problem is not occurring elsewhere.

We make ourselves available for further clarification.

Best regards,

Gustavo Bacchi
Managing Director
Coffee Assurance Services

Please find the letter below:



On June 14th-15th, the Crop Trust Donors` Council held its 18th Meeting in Bonn. Advisory Board Member, Michael von Lührte represented CAS to give presentation on Challenges and Opportunities in Advancing Public Private Partnership to achieve SDG 2 including the contribution of 4C Certification to promote real impact in this topic. This first meeting in Bonn was a success, CAS together with other partners engaged in a thoughtful constructive dialogue on the future of the Crop Trust.