UTZ Certified has joined the 4C Association. UTZ Certified and the 4C Association made the news public on the occasion of the SCAE conference in Maastricht. This step follows the announcement by the 4C Association in March to further strengthen its pre-competitive platform function and actively promote all sustainability standards in the market. Both organizations see collaboration within the coffee sector as necessary for getting a significantly larger part of coffee production on the road towards sustainability.
UTZ Certified believes the platform function of the 4C Association will allow to better align approaches and create synergies thereby reaching more farmers and increasing efficiency of services. As a practical first step in their cooperation both organizations will compare their Codes of Conduct and support Colombian producers in stepping up from the 4C baseline standard to the UTZ Certified level. These first efforts will be done in cooperation with the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) and Tchibo GmbH.
“We are pleased to be able to work together with the 4C Association. 4C can be really helpful in assisting more farmers to grow their coffee in a sustainable manner,” says Han de Groot, executive director of UTZ Certified. “We look forward to setting up the first projects together with 4C and interested buyers to check the compatibility of our two standard systems and assist farmers working from the 4C baseline standard towards achieving UTZ certification.”
Both UTZ Certified and the 4C Association also recognize that closer collaboration between standard initiatives is needed to increase purchases and consumption of responsibly grown coffee.
“The goal of the 4C Association is to move towards a sustainable mainstream coffee community through sector compliance to at least baseline standards and progressively move beyond this. This ambitious goal cannot be reached without the collaboration of all the sustainability standards. As one of the most recognized sustainability schemes, UTZ Certified is making a difference in the lives of thousands of farmers. We are therefore very pleased that UTZ is joining our membership and look forward to working together to build a more sustainable coffee sector,” stated Melanie Rutten-Sülz, executive director of 4C Association.
Collaboration between standard-setting organizations provides an efficient way to manage supply chains. It allows farmers to improve their practices in a more efficient and focused way.
Founding member of the 4C Association and member of the 4C Council, Tchibo GmbH, welcomes the membership of UTZ Certified in the 4C Association. Achim Lohrie, head of corporate responsibility: “Tchibo works with a variety of programs such as Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, UTZ Certified, 4C Association and Organic to support its sustainable sourcing strategy. It is important that these programs and all other relevant coffee stakeholders work together on essential challenges, such as reaching the millions of independent smallholder coffee farmers and making it as easy as possible for farmers to continuously improve their sustainable practices. We hope that the collaboration of the 4C Association with UTZ Certified will add momentum to such collaborative efforts. To start with, Tchibo intends to support a joint project to clarify and improve compatibility of the two systems and efficiency in stepping-up from the 4C baseline standard to UTZ Certified.”
“Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) c.e.o. Luis G. Muñoz added: “We welcome this development. Over the years, FNC has gathered significant experience in implementing the 4C Code of Conduct. We now look forward to starting the project with UTZ Certified, Tchibo and the 4C Association to bring many of our farmers from the 4C level to complying with the more demanding standards of UTZ Certified. The collaboration between initiatives is essential to ease farmers’ efforts to comply with different standards. Both the 4C Association and UTZ have always been very careful to take into consideration the interests and concerns of coffee growers; this move shows this commitment.”