The Next Step in Sustainability Standards

By Verónica Perez, 4C Association

HN producer meeting 2 March2014

Last year over 149 million bags of coffee were consumed around the world. The love for this black beverage keeps growing in new markets, with more and more people enjoying coffee in their daily lives.

But as much as they love their cup, an increasing number of consumers also have concerns about the conditions in which farmers produce their beans. Even those less conscious would be upset to find out that protected areas are being deforested to grow coffee, or that pesticides used in production could be putting the health of farmers and workers at risk.

Companies are under increasing pressure to supply coffee that has been produced in accordance to sustainability criteria. But this is not always easy. Many face difficulties in sourcing sustainable coffee with the quality and quantity required to create their blends.

Additionally, the majority of coffee farmers worldwide live in remote areas, have limited access to training and capacity building opportunities, and have no experience with sustainability standards.

This needs to change.

The 4C Entry-level Standard (4C Code of Conduct) is a unique tool to help coffee producers to take their first steps towards sustainability, setting in motion a process of far-reaching change.

The Code is already being used by more than 450,000 farmers and 1.4 million workers in 24 producing countries around the world. In 2014, they produced 43 million bags of 4C Compliant Coffee — nearly 29% of global coffee production.

HN producer meeting 4 March2014Today, the ambition of the 4C Association is to expand the reach of the Entry-Level Standard and touch even more coffee producers, especially those who have no previous exposure to sustainability practices. To this end, the 4C Association has recently launched its new Code of Conduct, which focuses on strengthening its inclusiveness and improving its real-word applicability.

“The revised Code is the result of listening to hundreds of stakeholders,” said John Schluter, Chairman of the Technical Committee of the 4C Association. “The focus was to look at what is happening on the ground.”

Learn more about how the new Code will support a sustainable future for coffee.

Image Source: 4C

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