The 4C Association Announces Record Figures for Coffee Year 2011/12

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The coffee sector reaches a new milestone on its journey towards greater sustainability

Bonn, 21 November 2012. Today marks a major milestone in the progress towards a more sustainably-oriented coffee sector as the 4C Association reports that received amounts of 4C Compliant Coffee have more than tripled in coffee year 2011/12 in comparison to the previous period. A total of 2,545,139 bags of 4C Compliant Coffee (approx. 152,000 tonnes) were received by industry members of the 4C Association during this period. Sales of certified sustainable coffees from 4C Members Fairtrade International, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ Certified have also been growing steadily over the last years. These increases demonstrate that the coffee sector is seriously committed to and has already made impressive strides towards mainstreaming sustainability.

“This is very good news for the entire coffee community. Five years after the first 4C Compliant Coffee was traded, the concept is really taking off. We are still far from reaching the vision of a sustainable coffee sector for generations to come, but this is a very important milestone. All the stakeholders who make up the 4C Association can be proud of what they have achieved together,” said  Robert Waggwa Nsibirwa, Chairman of the 4C Council and Board Member of the African Fine Coffee Association (AFCA)

The growth was driven by an increasing number of 4C industry members that are including 4C Compliant Coffee in their supply chains. The organisation has experienced steep growth in membership over the last five years from 37 founding members to over 230 members to date. Most of the key players in the coffee industry, producers, roasters, traders and civil society, are now represented in this unique and successful global platform for sustainable coffee.

Extending the benefits to coffee-farming communities

Increasing demand for 4C Compliant Coffee has led to the rapid expansion of 4C Units (producing entities). Currently there are 156 licensed 4C Units2 in 19 countries that have been independently verified against the principles of the 4C Code of Conduct. These 4C Units comprise more than 180,000 farmers and 680,000 workers. The application of good agricultural practices, as well as the technical support provided by other supply chain actors, is helping farmers in the 4C Units reduce their costs, become more productive and preserve their natural environment. This in turn contributes to the long-term sustainability and viability of their farms.

“After joining the 4C Unit in July 2011, I started receiving training on good agricultural practices and on environmental issues. I have been applying this knowledge to my coffee farm and my coffee trees are looking very good this year. Therefore I have been encouraging other farmers in my village to join in. My expectation is that I will keep learning from the 4C initiative and that companies will continue buying our 4C Compliant Coffee”, says Mr. Nguyen Van Thai, member of the 4C Unit in the Dak Wer commune in Vietnam.

Given the commitments to securing 4C Compliant Coffee from major companies such as Mondelēz International, Nestlé, Tchibo and others, it is expected that the demand will continue to increase significantly in the coming years.

As demand grows, more coffee farmers will get involved and will benefit from participation in the 4C Association. A long-term ambition is for many of these farmers to improve their sustainability performance to be able to comply with more demanding sustainability standards. To this end, the 4C Association is already working with Fairtrade International, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ Certified to identify ways to support coffee growers in their efforts to step up from the 4C baseline to certification standards.

Media Contacts:

For media inquiries, please contact Verónica Pérez, 4C Communication Manager: +49 228 850

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  1. For a complete list of current members, please visit the 4C website: http://www.4c-
  2. For a complete list of current 4C Units, please visit the 4C website: http://www.4c-

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