Meeting Members:
Over a cup of coffee with
4C Services

4C Services, the internationally recognized sustainability standard, has been an active GCP Member as well proud supporter of the GCP Baseline Coffee Code Revision – not only through financial support to carry out the revision, but also in contributing to the process by being an active member of the Technical Committee that has been providing guidance and recommendations in the revision process. We hear from Gustavo Bacchi, 4C Services System Director, about why 4C Services have gotten behind the GCP Baseline Coffee Code.

What is the value you see in the Baseline Common Code as a sector reference for the foundations of coffee sustainability?

4C: We believe that the greatest value is to establish a minimum common ground that should serve as a baseline for other initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable practices in coffee. From this foundation, layers and tools can be added to enable the implementation or management of specific processes such as 4C Certification.

The 4C Code of Conduct and the Baseline Coffee Code share the same heritage, but each of them has its own home and life now. In your view, how do they complement each other and what are the main differences? 

4C: The 4C Code of Conduct is used in independent auditing and certification processes that map supply chains in a transparent way, which follow strict criteria for the production, handling and trading of certified and traceable coffees. The recognition of the 4C Certification system as equivalent to the GCP Baseline Coffee Code adds another important recognition of the credibility and robustness of the 4C.

4C has now developed new services complementing the 4C Code of Conduct. How do these new services connect to the GCP Baseline Coffee Code and what added value do they provide?

4C: The new services and tools developed by 4C were developed to meet specific needs from users of the 4C system, adding innovations that go beyond the common ground. All these innovations are based on the environmental, social and economic criteria of the 4C Code of Conduct. They are like walls built on solid foundations, which support them. It is in this sense that we see the connection with the GCP Baseline Coffee Code, that is, it is on good foundations that solid structures are built. The Baseline Coffee Code is an important element of the 4C foundation.

As the largest certification scheme in the coffee sector, what are the main challenges and opportunities you see to promote the further uptake of sustainable practices in the sector, especially amongst smallholder coffee producers?

4C: The challenges are great and some issues cannot be solved with purely technical solutions. Issues related to communication, capacity building, simplification and automation of processes are and will continue to be key to continue advancing on the sustainability journey. Communication is key if new technologies are to be translated by rural extension services and become accessible to producers, especially amongst smallholder coffee producers. Simplification and automation are key to enabling and multiplying specific solutions tailored to make coffee production more sustainable.

As a GCP Member, what do you value most of from your membership and what would you like to see more of?

4C: We believe that the promotion of ethical practices within the sector such as transparency is a key role of GCP. In addition, the promotion of robust, independent and credible certification schemes is key, especially with retailers and final consumers.

This conversation forms part of a new series called Meeting Members.