· Recap: 4C Regional Stakeholder Conference in Latin America

Last week 4C held its first 4C Regional Stakeholder Conference in Latin America, in the city of Antigua, Guatemala, with around 40 participants who actively joined the discussions on some of the most pressing issues of sustainability.

It was an enriching opportunity to exchange insights on topics all the way from national support strategies related to growing sustainable coffee, over climate change and adaptations strategies, 4C solutions for sustainable and deforestation free coffee supply chains, impact of 4C certification to sustainability strategies and market requirements of leading brand owners and traders. Regional organizations such as Asociación Nacional del Café (Anacafé) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) were present at the event, as well as global names such as Conservation International, Control Union and major representatives of the coffee industry, such as Nestlé, Peter Schoenfeld, Cocatrel and FNC.

Participants stated their interest in continuing this regional exchange, wherefore 4C will continue to conduct 4C Regional Stakeholder Conferences in Latin America.

Thank you, speakers and participants, for making the conference such a great event!

Click here for photos and all presentations.

The coffee market is facing a long-term challenge of structural supply deficits due to rising demand and to the effects of climate change on coffee production.

World Coffee Research (WCR) is the leading organization in the field of breeding new varieties which help farmers to increase yields, reduce inputs and pest controls, and to adapt to climate. This long-term working process is an important step to ensure future production of coffee.

4C endorses the work done by WCR and exchanges information and views, as it helps to drive better agricultural practices and educate farmers on the possibilities that these new varieties can bring them.

Onsite auditing by 4C and the longer term roll out of these varieties by WCR is a powerful combination in the interest of the coffee producers and of preservation of future supply.

First-generation (F1) high-performing hybrids are being grown in test fields in Central America and Africa, and now the first cherries from these plants are being harvested in El Salvador. This will enable analysis of the first results on the breeding trials, further narrowing down of variety selection, and continuous monitoring of the performance of these plants.

A great step forward, in the development of challenge resistant varieties to come to the market in the near future.

Read further about next-generation F1 hybrid varieties.
And here, about the first harvest: a breeding trial celebrates a milestone.

The globe’s current top sustainability issue of climate change does create hunger. And even more alarming is that, those suffering from hunger and its rising presence are mostly those who are not generating atmospheric warming through their daily habits and consumption patterns.

The Deutsche Welthungerhilfe e.V. (a German organization for hunger and emergency aid) describes how the poorest populations in the world are doomed to suffer the consequences of climate change. In its recently publication, advantages of early natural disaster forecasting, mitigation projects and possibilities, as well as recommended actions are listed with considerable straightforwardness.

Through numerous social requirements, such as wages, working conditions, occupational health and safety, and non-discrimination, the 4C certification system can be used as a tool to minimize some of the impairments suffered by peoples in rural areas and agricultural lands located in less privileged parts of the world.

The actual sustainability of most products currently offered to consumers is highly uncertain. Varying regulations and market realities in the countries involved create a complex regulatory environment that lacks transparency. Many countries lack the regulations and its enforcement necessary to ensure sustainable supply chains. As a result, satisfying the demand for sustainable products at a competitive price without unwanted environmental and societal impacts is challenging for producers.

Sustainability certification intends to mitigate this lack of oversight and regulation. It ensures that only sustainably produced feedstocks are allowed, and sustainability requirements are obeyed along the entire supply chain. Creating a sustainable market niche through certification benefits local producers that otherwise could not compete with unsustainably produced products. Consumers also benefit from being able to purchase a product with confidence that it has been produced and delivered in a truly sustainable manner without undesired negative environmental and societal impacts.

A recent article by Prof. Dr. Gernot Klepper from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy discusses this topic with examples from the coffee sector, in particular from 4C certification experiences.
Please click here to read the full article on „How Certification Meets the Interests of Consumers and Producers“.

4C is committed to perform comprehensive certification impact assessments on a regular basis in the future.

Data from the past decade shows growth on certified agricultural area, steady increase in the demand for certified products, voluntary sustainability standards offering strategies to connect trade
with better practices, and significant expansion on the adoption of global sustainability standards in agriculture and forestry.
These are some of the results of the recently published report on The State of Sustainable Markets.

4C is one of the 14 major standard setters worldwide which are analysed in this report, produced by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), the International Institute of Sustainable
Development (IISD) and the International Trade Centre (ITC).

In support to the continuous efforts of European retailers to increase the shares of sustainable products and raw materials in their purchasing policies, 4C has collaborated with the report, contributing to the important conclusions pointing to the continued relevance of the role that sustainability standards play in promoting the trade of sustainable commodities.

Antigua, Guatemala, 23 January 2020

With focus on Central America, we are organizing the first regional stakeholder conference in Antigua, Guatemala, on 23 January 2020.

Let us showcase how new technologies are being applied for a credible and secure 4C certification and engage in interesting discussions about topics presented by Government, coffee roasters and brandowners, trade and associations, coffee producers, research organisations, NGOs and 4C:

  • Use of 4C in the region
  • Impact of sustainability certification
  • Risk and land use change assessment
  • Climate friendly coffee
  • Latest market developments
  • Sustainable packaging (biobased, recycled) for the coffee sector

Networking among participants is not only enabled but encouraged.

The event will be free of charge, but a registration will be required.

A specific agenda with topics and speakers, will be announced in upcoming 4C newsletters and in the 4C website.

Please click here for registration.

The “Cadastro de Empregadores” (Employers Register or „dirty list“) of contemporary slavery is a database created by the Brazilian government in November 2003 and is updated at irregular intervals by the Ministry of Economy. The register exposes cases where people were rescued under conditions considered analogous to slavery (i.e. forced labor, debt bondage, degrading conditions, and exhaustive journey).

You can find the official list here, which was published on 3 October 2019.

After the direct reference to 4C last year, we acted immediately and integrated the list into the audit and risk assessment procedure of the 4C System.
Auditors are required to compare coffee producers against the list during risk assessment, which can be accomplished by using our Transparency List Tool.
Considering the new list published this month, 4C Services would like to confirm, that no farmer mentioned is part of a producer group (“4C Unit”) either holding a 4C Certificate or being in the process of receiving a 4C Certificate.

While we make the effort to keep the Transparency List Tool updated and reflect new publications by the Brazilian Government, the next iteration of our system template documents will incorporate automatisms on our 4C Portal, which will remove the extra effort for auditors – not only related to the “dirty list” in Brazil.

This increases both reliability of the 4C System as well as flexibility for 4C Services to integrate similar features without overwhelming auditors and group administrations (“Managing Entities”) with more specialized tools.

4C System users will be informed about details later this year.

The 4C Code of Conduct has just recently gone through an update evaluation by The International Trade Center (ITC).  The ITC overview on the number of requirements on environmental, social, management, quality, and ethics shows the comprehensiveness of the 4C standard. I.a., 4C has the highest number of social requirements when compared with other standards used in the coffee sector. For more information, click here.

The update also reiterates that 4C is independently conducted by third-party auditors to ensure compliance in the economic, social, and environmental dimensions for coffee production and processing, in order to establish credible sustainable coffee supply chains.

ITC, established in 1964, is the joint agency for the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. One of the programs of ITC is to develop and maintain the so-called sustainability map, which provides verified and transparent information on more than 250 voluntary sustainability standards and other similar initiatives, covering issues ranging from environmental protection, workers and labor rights, economic development, quality and food safety, all the way to business ethics