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Bonner Talweg 59
53113 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 184 284 0
Participation in the 4C Verification System does not require any membership whatsoever. Membership of the Global Coffee Platform has not been a pre-condition to establish a 4C Unit and produce, trade or source 4C Compliant Coffee since January 2017. If you are a roaster and/or retailer, and would like to start including purchases of 4C coffee in your strategic sourcing plans, please get in touch with Coffee Assurance Services at

Delivering integrity to coffee
production and processing

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A coffee sector that places integrity at the center of its efforts to improve the economic, social and environmental conditions of coffee production and processing.


To be the leading global provider of high quality, independent, credible and innovative assurance services in the coffee sector.


4C Compliant Coffee is coffee that has been produced in accordance with the 4C Code of Conduct, a set of baseline sustainable practices and principles for the production of green coffee beans. Compliance can be demonstrated through the 4C Verification System and the 4C Licenses that are subsequently issued. The responsibility for operating the 4C Verification System belongs to Coffee Assurance Services (CAS).

The 4C Code of Conduct applies to any type of producing entity (“4C Unit”) based in any coffee producing country that wishes to produce and sell coffee as 4C Compliant. The term “4C Unit” is inclusive and covers any type of production facility and/or process: it can be a group of farmers, a cooperative or a farmers’ association, a collecting station, a mill, a local trader, an export organisation, or even a roaster (as long as it is based in a country where coffee is produced). There must be an established entity who can ensure the implementation of the 4C Code of Conduct. The 4C system calls this a Managing Entity of the 4C Unit.

Verification of adherence to the principles of the 4C Code of Conduct is carried out by an auditing company (a “4C verifier”), approved by Coffee Assurance Services. A list of approved 4C verifiers can be found in the Documents section below. The approach of the 4C Code of Conduct is to enable coffee producers around the globe to take the first steps on their sustainability journey. The inclusive nature of the 4C Code of Conduct aims to reach out to producers who are currently not participating in the market for sustainable coffee and bring them into compliance with an entry level of sustainability. The intention is to gradually improve the social, economic and environmental conditions of coffee production and processing worldwide.

In order to achieve this, the 4C Code of Conduct comprises:
  • 10 “Unacceptable Practices” which have to be eliminated before applying for 4C Verification.
  • 27 principles covering economic, social, and environmental dimensions. These principles are based on good agricultural and management practices, as well as international conventions and recognized guidelines accepted in the coffee sector and;
Regarding the 3 dimensions of sustainability, the 4C Code of Conduct encompasses the following principles:

8 Economic principles:
  • 3 principles on coffee farming as a business (1.1 – 1.3);
  • 5 principles on the support to farmers by the Managing Entity of a 4C Unit (1.4 – 1.8).
9 Social Principles:
  • 2 principles applicable to all farmers and other business partners (2.1 - 2.2);
  • 7 principles applicable to workers (2.3 - 2.9).
10 Environmental principles:
  • 6 principles applicable to natural resources (3.1, 3.4, 3.6 - 3.9);
  • 3 principles applicable to the use of agrochemicals (3.2, 3.3, 3.5);
  • 1 principle applicable to energy (3.10).
Coffee Assurance Services has also compiled a comprehensive set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) which cover most aspects of the 4C Verification system. For further details or clarification, please contact Coffee Assurance Services at

4C License Decisions

Evaluation of on-site verification reports and 4C License decisions.

Approval of 4C Verifiers

Training and assessment of independent verifiers according to the 4C Verification System.

Integrity Program

Quality assurance of approved 4C Verifiers. Internal and external oversight planning according to risk assessment and the 4C Quality Management System.

Data Collection & Analysis

Assessment of verification data and reporting.

Traceability and Commercial Reporting

Assessment of the traceability system and commercial reporting data.

4C Code and Verification System Training

Training on implementation of the 4C Code and Verification System.