Cecafé, as a legitimate representative of the export sector and a partner of the producers and the industry, strongly believes in the Brazilian coffee agribusiness chain sustainability and is in accordance with the country’s labor and environmental law, considered one of the strictest and most advanced in the world, as well as in the generation of growing consolidated economic results, as shown in this Position Paper.
For almost three centuries of leading role in the global coffee market, the coffee value chain segments have been investing heavily, with commitment and seriousness to make the sector a reference of sustainable practices.
According to recent events, the coffee exporting sector rejects any and all illegal practices that may endanger the environment’s integrity. All actions of Social Responsibility and Sustainability of Cecafé and its partners demonstrate that environmental management and correct land use is the real sector’s commitment.
The Coffee Chain has approximately 300 thousand producers, and the respect to the environment is notorious and clearly identifiable, given the continuous efforts to protect watershed areas, the adoption of rational water handling, and the use of advanced farming techniques to reach significant productivity per planted hectare—the highest among producer countries.
Also, the coffee arable land is 51% smaller than that of the 1960’s, considering the current coffee growing area of 2.2 million hectares. In this period, Brazilian coffee growing average productivity went from 6.4 bags per hectare to 33 bags in the 2018/2019 crop, an increase of 416%.
Data from Embrapa Territorial – Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation – shows that the total area allocated to preservation, maintenance and protection of native vegetation in Brazil occupies 66.3% of the national territory. The entire national production takes place in 7.6% of the country. Growers preserve more native vegetation in their properties (20.5% of Brazil) than all conservation units together (13%).
As for the coffee agribusiness, the main production regions sit in states where rural properties have, on average, a percentage of the area dedicated to preservation of native vegetation above the minimum established by the Forest Code. In Minas Gerais, the amount is 34%; in Espírito Santo, 33%; São Paulo, 22%, and in Bahia, 45% of areas dedicated to preservation.
The Brazilian Forest Code was established to regulate land use and conservation of native vegetation on private properties. The law was revised in 2012 and introduced a stronger focus on monitoring and enforcing compliance.
The proportion that must be set aside varies according to property size and location. Within the Amazon as much as 80% of a property must be set aside, whereas it is 35% in parts of the Cerrado which fall within the legal definition of Amazonia, and 20% in the other biomes (Pampas, Caatinga, Tropical Rain Forest, etc).
In addition to its role in protecting the vegetation in all Brazilian biomes, the implementation of the new Forest Code benefit agriculture through at least three other channels.
The high environmental protection rates in Brazilian coffee growing show the activity’s sustainable practices, also considering the social relevance of the production, since 86% of the producers are small growers.
In addition, Brazil is the country that passes on the highest FOB – Free on Board (amount negotiated for onboarded coffee bag) to coffee growers. According to the External Price Index Paid to Producer (IPEP) methodology to calculate the share of internal prices in FOB for Brazilian exports of Arabica, Brazil passes on approximately 84% of prices. Such level show logistics efficiency and transparency in the coffee production chain. Cecafé, as a legitimate representative of the Brazilian coffee exporter sector, carries out several sustainability actions together with coffee growers and other segments, aiming to meet the national interests.
Through its Social Responsibility and Sustainability Programs, Cecafé and its members reaffirm the Sector’s commitment to expand the best environmental and social practices to all segments of the production chain.
The Digital Coffee Farmer Program, for instance, has been training more than 6,000 producers in digital inclusion, environmental protection and best agricultural practices.
It is noteworthy that about 24% of all exports of differentiated coffees in Brazil refer to sustainability standards, labels, programs or certifications, such as Rainforest, UTZ, Fair Trade, 4C, Certifica Minas, Starbucks C.A.F.E. Practices, Nestlé AAA, among others.
All things considered, Brazil meets the requirements of the most diverse and demanding markets and is ready to show to the world how to balance production with environmental preservation, as seen in the recent commercial agreement signed between the Mercosur and the European Union.
Cecafé and its members follows the global trends and understands the need for articulation between the entire production chain.
The Sustainability Seal, along with the Code of Ethics and Conduct and Social Responsibility and Sustainability actions, demonstrates the export sector’s commitment to further expand successful socio-environmental projects and continues to promote the image of Brazilian coffee agribusiness in the world, meeting the demands of end consumers and fostering coffee consumption.
With active participation of its members, Cecafé understands the need for articulation between the whole production chain and consumers and will keep moving towards its mission: follow the right path and use communication and other suitable and correct tools for an increasingly sustainable and socially responsible future.