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GLOBAL – The 4C Association and the government of Minas Gerais announce cooperation agreement

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BONN, Germany – The 4C Association has formalized a technical cooperation agreement with the government of Minas Gerais, the largest coffee producing state in Brazil.

The agreement was concluded against the backdrop of International Coffee Organization (ICO) meetings and celebrations for its 50th anniversary and the International Coffee Week in Belo Horizonte in the week of 9 to 13 September 2013.

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Details of the cooperation were announced on 10 September by Mr. Elmiro Nascimento, State Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply of Minas Gerais, and Mrs. Melanie Rutten-Sülz, Executive Director of the 4C Association.

One of the main objectives of the cooperation is supporting the consolidation and international recognition of the Minas Gerais State standard for sustainability in coffee production, the Certified Minas Coffee (CMC).

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The cooperating partners are also setting out to increase the supply of certified sustainable coffees in order to meet the increasing demand in the world market in the coming years.

The CMC, which consists of a set of best practices and procedures related to coffee production, was launched in 2006 by the state government and is now run by MG EMATER and the Institute of Agriculture of Minas Gerais under the coordination of the Secretariat for Agriculture, Livestock and Supply of MG-SEAPA.

The implementation of this standard provides farmers with practical orientation to produce efficiently while respecting social and environmental laws.

As one of the activities that will be undertaken in the framework of this cooperation agreement, a technical comparison (benchmarking) between the CMC standard and the 4C Code of Conduct is to be conducted. The objective of the benchmarking is to document the equivalences and differences between both systems.

Depending on the results, other activities will be developed in order to facilitate obtaining the 4C Licence by those farmers who have the CMC certificate. The results of this project and possible next steps will be announced early 2014.

Direct benefits for coffee farmers

As a result of this benchmarking, it is expected that CMC certified farmers will have yet another gateway to the international sustainability market without having to undergo a full additional 4C audit.

In practical terms, this means: gaining market access to the growing “sustainability market segment “and  strengthening the demand for coffee from Minas Gerais, without additional costs for the farmers.

“We are looking forward to the unfolding of this cooperation between the Department of Agriculture and the 4C Association, believing that the results will benefit the coffee farmers from Minas Gerais. The benefits will be seen, at first, for those who possess our certification and wish to also obtain the 4C license.

But, in general, the coffee of Minas Gerais gains more visibility and this helps strengthening the demand for the great coffee that we produce here “said Mr. Elmiro Nascimento.

The 4C Association and its global membership will also actively assist in advancing CMC as a credible coffee sustainability scheme on an international level.

The 4C Association is a pre-competitive platform that promotes and actively collaborates with other sustainability standards, governments, nongovernmental organizations and private companies, in order to increase the supply and demand of coffee verified and certified worldwide.

“For the 4C Association, the cooperation with CMC represents one step further on the path towards increasing global collaboration between voluntary coffee sustainability schemes.

We believe that only by working together with other initiatives and avoiding duplication of efforts, we can increase benefits for farmers. We hope this project will inspire many others in Brazil and around the world,” stated Melanie Rutten-Sülz, Executive Director of the 4C Association.

This project was made possible through the support and funding of the IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative as public partner as well as Mondelēz International and Tchibo as private partners within the framework of the Sustainable Coffee Program (SCP).

The Sustainable Coffee Program in Brazil, an IDH initiative, is responsible for the management of the project. Consultants and auditors will be hired to conduct the technical work.

About the 4C Association

The 4C Association is the platform that brings together stakeholders in the coffee sector to address sustainability issues in a pre-competitive manner.

To date, over 280 members have already joined the 4C Association, including: coffee farmer organizations; traders (importers and exporters); industry (coffee roasters and retailers); and civil society organizations (NGOs and standard setters).
For more information about the 4C Association: www.4c-coffeeassociation.org

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