Canadian Manufacturing

Colombian coffee growers selling carbon offsets

Represents one of the first moves of its kind in Colombia, covering all stages of the value chain of an agricultural product

January 7, 2014  by Cleantech Canada staff

BOGOTA, Colombia—The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) has received official certification for the measurement and management of greenhouse gases in the value chain of an agricultural product.

Awarded by the Colombian Institute for Technical Standards and Certification (ICONTEC), the certification also allows FNC to sell carbon offsets gained from environmental restoration in areas of ecological significance.

The certification was based on the methods established in a pilot program in the municipality of La Union, Nariño. The project, which followed the production of 300,000 kilos of coffee, was led by the FNC’s National Coffee Research Center (Cenicafe), but required the participation of all actors of the value chain.

“This certification has special meaning not only domestically but internationally,” said Maria Z. Velez, director of ICONTEC. “This is one of the first exercises of its kind carried out in Colombia, covering all stages of the value chain of an agricultural product.”


Besides certification, the project also:

  • Established official methodology to calculate the coffee chain’s footprint
  • Identifies opportunities for each stage of the value chain to reduce emissions
  • Created a single language regarding the measurement and management of carbon footprint
  • Identifies goods and services that add value to coffee production

By selling carbon capture certificates of 6.725 tons to a domestic roaster, the resulting income will directly benefit 381 coffee farmers and continue creating positive incentives for them to continue providing offsets.

The coffee farmers have participated in the restoration of biodiversity of “conservation corridors” by planting native trees, protecting water sheds and reducing pollution generated by post-harvest processes.

Besides the sale of carbon-offset certificates, the program has educated thousands of farmers about biodiversity and cooperation between organizations throughout the country.

To date, 17,212 producers, technicians and industry leaders have been trained and encouraged to use methods that restore biodiversity.

The FNC is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1927 that represents over 500,000 coffee growers.