Improving Biodiversity in Coffee Landscapes in Vietnam

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According to a report published by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) in May 2019, nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history. Up to one million plant and animal species face extinction due to increasing deforestation rates, climate change, pollution and other human activities. The report showcases, that the loss of biodiversity is one of the biggest challenges of our time. Intensive agriculture is considered as one of the main drivers of destruction of ecosystems, overexploitation of natural resources and contamination. Looking into coffee production, it is grown in some of the world’s biodiversity “hotspots”, which are areas of high vulnerability and biological importance. Improving biodiversity performance on coffee farms not only serves nature protection, but is also the basis for sustainable, successful, and climate change resilient coffee production.

4C, in cooperation with the Lake Constance Foundation, Agriculture and Forestry Research & Development Center for Mountainous Region (ADC), Vinh Hiep Gia Lai Co., Ltd and Fundación Humedales, has started a joint project to improve biodiversity in coffee landscapes in Vietnam.

To achieve this objective, the Biodiversity Performance Tool (BPT) developed by the LIFE Food & Biodiversity Initiative will be adopted to the Vietnamese context and applied on different 4C certified farms to evaluate the biodiversity situation and set up and implement biodiversity action plans. The BPT is a practical instrument to realize a baseline evaluation of the situation of biodiversity on the farm, makes visible strengths and weaknesses using a classification system of thresholds and facilitates the elaboration of a biodiversity action plan.

“Biodiversity protection is essential for agriculture and the future of coffee cultivation”, says Marion Hammerl, President of Global Nature Fund and Director of the Lake Constance Foundation. “The 4C Code of Conduct includes effective biodiversity criteria. Coffee farmers need support to comply with these criteria and implement an action plan of good quality. Our joint project with 4C to adopt the Biodiversity Performance Tool to the Vietnamese coffee production supports Vietnamese farmers in the elaboration of their action plans. With these activities, the 4C standard creates acceptance and capacities – both necessary to finally make progress towards the goal of halting the loss of biodiversity.”

Currently, ADC is adopting the BPT to the Vietnamese context to be used during their first farm visits that will take place mid of January 2021 to conduct a baseline evaluation and identify potential for biodiversity improvement. In the next steps, the selected biodiversity improvement measures will be implemented, monitored and evaluated and the BPT further adjusted to be appropriable to be used on a landscape level in Vietnam coffee cultivation. “We are proud to be a partner in this project, involving some of our farms to test the Biodiversity Performance Tool and to learn about possibilities to improve the biodiversity situation within our supplying farms, with the aim to disseminate this knowledge throughout the region for a wider positive impact on biodiversity”, confirms Certification department at Vinh Hiep Gia Lai Co., Ltd. The BPT will provide coffee farmers in Vietnam with a practicable tool to support them in their biodiversity enhancement endeavors.

„We are happy to move this project forward with such experienced partners in the area of biodiversity protection. From this project, we want to learn more about how we as 4C can further contribute to more biodiversity in coffee cultivation”, highlights Dr. Norbert Schmitz, Managing Director of 4C Services.


4C Services GmbH
4C is a leading sustainability certification scheme for the coffee industry. 4C certification focuses on good agricultural and management practices, including requirements on economic, social and environmental conditions for coffee production and processing in order to establish credible sustainable and transparent supply chains.

Lake Constance Foundation
The Lake Constance Foundation is a private organisation for environmental protection and nature conservation in Germany. The project-oriented foundation works towards more sustainability and nature protection in the international Lake Constance area and beyond. The working areas are: Agriculture and Climate, Business and Biodiversity, Energy Transition, Nature and Lake Conservation.

Agriculture and Forestry Research & Development Center for Mountainous Region (ADC)
Agriculture and Forestry Research & Development Center for Mountainous Region (ADC) is a research and technology transfer organization working for the sustainable development of the people in the mountainous provinces of Vietnam. ADC is operating in various fields such as: agriculture, forestry, biodiversity, animal husbandry and fisheries development, natural resources management and conservation, socioeconomic development, poverty alleviation and policy advocacy and climate change.

Vinh Hiep Co. ltd

Vinh Hiep was established in 1999 working in the field of manufacturing, purchasing, processing and exporting coffee-pepper-roasted coffee. Vinh Hiep together with its supplying farms is certified under the 4C certification standard since 2013. Currently, Vinh Hiep manages around 1,400 – 4C certified farmers with a total area of 3,200 ha. After 20 years of operation in the field of purchasing and processing agricultural products, annual export of coffee and pepper reached 70,000 tons, export turnover reached over $ 150 million.

Fundación Humedales
Fundación Humedales is a Colombian NGO founded in 2000, with the purpose of contributing to the conservation and management of aquatic ecosystems, based on an integral human and environmental approach. In compliance with this purpose, they develop projects on conservation, management and participatory management of natural resources, environmental education programs, improvement of productive practices and on strengthening community associations while at the same time developing strategies of inclusion of gender and minority groups to scientific research.