Published: 06 February 2009
The Common Code for the Coffee Community Association (4C Association) announces the results of its first operational year, the 2007/2008 coffee year.
“We are proud that already 3.8% of the global coffee supply has been produced under 4C Criteria", states Joaquim Libânio Ferreira Leite, President of the 4C Association. "Producers and consumers of mainstream coffee now are on their way towards sustainability. Reaching out to the large number of small scale producers through decentralization and support services now is our priority."
4C Compliant Coffee in the coffee market
During the 2007/2008 coffee year, 33 4C Units (farms, cooperatives, mills and exporters) with a production potential of around 4.5 million bags (~60 kg) of green coffee complying with the 4C Criteria were verified in 21 countries. This amounts to some 3.8% of world coffee production. Through the 4C Units, around 120,000 families started benefitting from continuous improvement.
In the first operational year, more than 10% of this 4C Compliant Coffee has been purchased by 4C Members. Through the commitment to buy increasing amounts of coffee produced and processed under 4C Criteria, the 4C Association creates growing demand for 4C Compliant Coffee amongst its members from trade and industry chamber. Industry members may communicate about their engagement using a membership-statement on pack.
Reaching out to coffee producers
The 4C Association is establishing decentralized structures to disseminate information on 4C. Main challenges are to reach small holders, to increase national involvement of regional and local organizations as well as farming communities in the introduction of the 4C System and to develop and implement 4C Support Services like training-of-trainer workshops, farmer trainings and consultancy services. These activities have already reached more than 400 key organizations and other actors and will be further disseminated through their own networks. For the first coffee year, East Africa was chosen as starting point of decentralization. In close cooperation with the East African Fine Coffees Association (EAFCA) the first 4C Regional Office opened in Kampala, Uganda, in February 2008.
Managua, Nicaragua is the home-base of the second 4C Regional Office for Central America, which opened its’ doors in September 2008. 4C started into its second coffee year in 2008/2009 with the launch of the Brazilian office in Campinas and another office shall be opened in Asia, soon.
A unique feature of the 4C System is its tripartite nature: all decisions are taken together by representatives from producers, civil society and trade and industry, ensuring a balanced and relevant operation. Within the first operational year in 2007/2008, 4C Membership increased by 60% and the 4C Association counted 93 members by the end of the first coffee year. As a number, this may not sound very impressive, but the membership is very significant in terms of market volume: Currently, 50% of potential global coffee production as well as 65% of potential green coffee demand is represented within the 4C Association.
In aiming to help put coffee farmers en masse on the path towards sustainable production, 4C strives for growth in direct membership, especially within its producer and civil society chambers, thereby increasing the national involvement of producer organizations.