Mainstreaming sustainability in coffee
The 4C Association is an inclusive, membership driven organization of coffee farmers, trade & industry and civil society. Members work jointly towards improving economic, social and environmental conditions in the coffee chain through the promotion of more sustainable and transparent practices for all who make a living in the coffee sector.
Main pillars of the association, established in 2006, are a code of conduct, rules of participation for trade and industry, support mechanisms for coffee farmers, a verification system and the participatory governance structure.
As of May 2010, the 4C Association already offers a potential supply of over 12 million bags of green coffee from more than 20 countries, produced under the criteria of the 4C Code of Conduct.
A practical response to the need for sustainably produced mainstream coffee
The 4C Association’s Common Code for the Coffee Community introduces baseline criteria for the sustainable production, processing and trading of green coffee and eliminates unacceptablepractices. It facilitates a dynamic improvement process by providing guidance for and commitment to continuous improvement by all members. 4C Association helps farmers of all sizes, (particularly smallholders, that have limited or no access to the markets for certified coffees) and their business partners to access a baseline level of economic, environmental and social sustainability. In so doing the process enables participants to step up to more demanding standards.
Engaging members in a balanced, transparent and participatory way
The 4C Association’s membership consists of three chambers: Producers, Trade and Industry and Civil Society. Associate and Individual Members may affiliate to one of the chambers. The different chambers are equally represented within the tripartite structure of the association’s decision making bodies (e.g. Council, Executive Board, Technical Committee), with the General Assembly as the ultimate decision-power. Membership fees are weighted according to financial means, thus differentiating significantly between small-scale producers and industry members as coffee traders, roasters, soluble manufacturers or retailers with private label coffee.
4C Units– The suppliers of 4C Compliant Coffee
The 4C Association believes that sustainability is not in the hands of coffee farmers alone – all actors along the chain need to collaborate and join forces to make sustainability happen. Therefore, 4C Verification is performed at the 4C Unit level and a 4C Unit may be established at any stage of the coffee chain. 4C Units have to be located in producing countries and have to be able to deliver at least 20 metric tons of 4C Compliant Coffee (this equals 1 container). The managing entity of the 4C Unit assumes responsibility and coordinates the implementation of the 4C Code with its individual suppliers.
The 4C Green Coffee Supply Chain – leveraging demand for sustainably produced coffee
The 4C Association leverages demand for coffee coming from 4C Units, since 4C Trade and Industry Members commit to buying increasing amounts of coffee from 4C Units over time. Being a 4C Member is particularly interesting for exporters, since they can form a 4C Unit, thus ensure their supply of sustainably produced green coffee and be in contact with 4C Trade and Industry members to sell their coffee. During its journey to the final buyer, the identity of each container of 4C Compliant Coffee is preserved – this enables a transparent and efficient way of trading!
Support Services for coffee producers
At the same time, through its global network, the 4C Association provides support services to coffee farmers including training, access to tools and information. All tools and support services are free of charge for coffee producers as they are funded in large parts from the membership fees from the trade and industry members. 30% of the membership fees of industry and 50 to 70% of those of the intermediary buyers go directly to the 4C Support Services budget. Some of these may even be delivered in-kind by way of training through workshops and seminars, or the development of manuals and/or software which farmers and 4C Units can use in day-to-day activities.
UCTF and the 4C Association – Two partners join forces!
In May 2009, the Uganda Coffee Trade Federation (UCTF) and the 4C Association decided to intensify their collaboration. David Barry, President of UCTF, and Annette Pensel, Director Support Services of the 4C Association, thus signed a Memorandum of Understanding which aims at facilitating information exchange, promoting tools and manuals and jointly conducting information sessions and workshops for the benefit of the members of both organizations.
4C Activities in Uganda
Uganda is a very important country for the 4C Association! Thanks to the close collaboration with the Eastern African Fine Coffees Association (EAFCA), the first regional 4C Office was opened in Kampala in February 2008 and is being hosted by EAFCA. Aiming at sharing knowledge and joining efforts towards sustainability, EAFCA’s Know Your Cup Programme has been incorporated into 4C Training-of-Trainer (ToT) Workshops as an important training module for building awareness at farmer level and as training on Good Agricultural Practices and farm management. Based on the request by 4C Members in Uganda, a new 4C Module on training and facilitation skills was offered during a Training-of-Trainer workshop in August 2009.
The 4C Association is in close cooperation with another major partner, the International Trade Center (ITC) based in Geneva. ITC also publishes Coffee – An Exporter’s Guide: customized training modules based on the ITC’s coffee guide are also included in 4C ToT Workshops.
The 4C Association has held several ToT Workshops for trainers in Uganda and extension services from public and private side, as well as a 4C Verifier Workshop. Additionally, through in-kind contributions by 4C Members, farmers participated in 4C Information Sessions and received training on Good Agricultural Practices, with a special focus on climate related adaption strategies.
To measure the contribution to changes, deriving from implementation of sustainable 4C practices in coffee production and processing, and to be able to improve services and the 4C system as such, the 4C Association is currently developing a Monitoring & Evaluation System. In collaboration with the Instituto Agronomico de Campinas (IAC) in Brazil, supported by Oxfam Novib and with broad participation of stakeholders in different countries, the development of this tool started in 2008. The 4C Association has been running pilot surveys in different coffee countries together with experienced consultants. Having played an important role in the development and testing of the tool, 4C Members in Uganda participated in the pilot surveys which were conducted in collaboration with the African Coffee Academy.
New Coordinator for East Africa
The 4C Association is glad to announce the appointment of George Watene as the new Coordinator for East Africa. He will work closely with EAFCA, a strategic partner organization of the 4C Association, to further develop 4C Support Services. He will also be the point of contact for 4C Members in the region. The 4C Association would like to thank his predecessor Allen Onzima for his outstanding efforts in this position in the last two years and wishes him all the best in his new endeavours as Communications Manager of EAFCA.
For further information about 4C Association’s activities in Uganda, please contact George Watene, Coordinator East Africa: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: +256 414 269 14 0 / + 254 728 606 959. info@4C -coffeeassociation.org.
4C Members in Uganda
- Busaanyi Farm
- Bukonzo Joint Cooperative
- Nsangi Coffee Farmers Association
- Café Africa
- Eastern African Fine Coffees Association, (EAFCA)
- Kampala Domestic Store Ltd.
- National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises (NUCAFE)
- Robert Waggwa Nsibirwa (as Individual Member)
4C Cooperation Partners in Uganda
- Uganda Coffee Trade Federation (UCTF)
- Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA)
4C Units in Uganda
- 4C Unit Ibero Uganda (of the Neumann Kaffee Gruppe, Bernhard Rothfos)
- 4C Unit Kyagalanyi (of Volcafé)
- 4C Unit Ugacof (of Sucafina)