BONN, Germany – According to the latest figures released today by the 4C Association, the quantity of 4C Compliant Coffee received by roasters has tripled to over 7,5 million bags of coffee (approx. 450,000 tons) for the 2012/13 period .
Up from 2,5 million bags reported in the previous year, this significant increase emphasizes the coffee sector’s long-term commitment and unprecedented progress towards sustainability.
This demonstrates the efforts and cooperation of stakeholders throughout the coffee supply chain to actively build a thriving, sustainable coffee sector.
Now with over 300 members, the 4C Association is the only pre-competitive platform that is implementing an entry-level standard, cooperating with other sustainability standards and initiating practical solutions that drive change in the way coffee is grown and bought.
By operating its entry-level standard, providing access to information and supporting its industry members in meeting their purchasing commitments for 4C Compliant Coffee, the 4C Association is making it possible for coffee producers all around the world to begin their journey towards sustainability.
To gain an overview of the impact the 4C Association has in coffee producing countries, please download the recently published A Snapshot from the Field: Five Countries over Five Years.
“This is a remarkable achievement. From farmers through to roasters and retailers, 4C Members have been working hard to improve their practices towards sustainability.
The growth in both the supply and demand of 4C Compliant Coffee is a distinct indicator of the importance of the 4C Association to advance good economic, social and environmental practices across the coffee industry” states Robert Waggwa Nsibirwa, Chairman of the 4C Council and Vice Chairman of the African Fine Coffees Association (AFCA).
Organised into over 270 verified producer groups that supply 4C Compliant Coffee, more than 360,000 coffee farmers and 1,3 million workers in 23 countries work together to implement the 4C Code of Conduct.
The total volume of available 4C Compliant Coffee also increased to over 38 million bags for the reporting period, resulting in a supply and demand ratio of 5 to 1.
Key producer origins such as Brazil, Vietnam, Honduras, Colombia, Peru, and Indonesia are well reflected in the received volumes of 4C Compliant Coffee. A key factor of this is the support coffee farmers receive from other 4C Members, such as cooperatives, exporters and roasters, with vital information, technical support and practical training to help them produce 4C Compliant Coffee.
Compliance with the 4C Code of Conduct includes continuous improvement in 28 social, environmental and economic criteria. With this, coffee farmers gain better access to the growing market for sustainably produced coffee and are also in a better position to achieve more demanding certifications such as Rainforest Alliance, Utz Certified or Fairtrade International.
This sentiment is evident in the response by Mr. Le Duc Huy, Vice Director of Simexco DakLak, a 4C Unit in Vietnam that stepped up from 4C to Utz and RFA, “the 4C Entry-level Standard enabled us to access the sustainable coffee market.
By receiving targeted trainings on such topics as good agricultural practices and management skills, we have been able to continually improve our performance and thus become certified with two other sustainability standards”.
This achievement is also made possible by the commitments of 4C Members like Tchibo, Nestlé, Mondeléz International and many more.
An example is Nestlé’s The Nescafé Plan, whereby all their directly purchased green coffee will be 4C Compliant Coffee by 2015.
The team behind The Nescafé Plan state that “as Nestlé we provide training in good agricultural practices and technical assistance to farmers and farm workers through our Farmer Connect network.
We also create 4C Units that are able to supply our Nescafé factories in coffee producing countries, therefore creating shared value in the communities.
Additionally, we work closely with other members of the 4C Association using the 4C Code of Conduct and verification system to ensure the supply of green coffee is available to meet our requirements for the future”.
With demand for 4C Compliant Coffee increasing, the 4C Association aims to continue expanding its reach to new members.
 15 months period covering October 2012 to December 2013, reflecting 4C Association’s shift from the coffee year to the calendar year for the commercial reporting period.