4C certification

Providing independent, credible and innovative solutions for sustainable supply chains

4C certification

Improving sustainability performance of the coffee sector in a climate change era

Sustainability certification

How certification meets interests of consumers and producers

4C works towards sustainable coffee supply chains and improved livelihoods of farmers


4C certification applies high standards on economic, social and environmental conditions for coffee production and processing to establish sustainable, trustworthy and fair coffee supply chains.


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 Certification System and the 4C Certificates that are subsequently issued. The responsibility for operating the 4C Certification System belongs to 4C Services GmbH.

Our Statement

As an independent, stakeholder-driven, internationally recognized sustainability standard for the entire coffee sector, 4C aims at anchoring sustainability in coffee supply chains across environmental, social and economic dimensions. 4C is a credible and robust system, applying innovative audit and risk assessment procedures, and is strengthened by a comprehensive integrity program. 4C System brings real impact on the ground, enabling continuous improvement and enhancing smallholder livelihoods, and supports companies in achieving and keeping their sustainability commitments.

Create a sustainable future for coffee

The 4C Code of Conduct enables coffee farmers in 28 countries to participate in sustainable markets and profit from higher economic outcomes, improved and fair working conditions and the preservation of precious landscapes and biodiversity. To achieve these goals, the 4C Code of Conduct applies important criteria in the three dimensions of sustainability:

Economic dimension

  • Profitability and long term productivity
  • Capacity and skill development
  • Record keeping
  • Access to services
  • Market information and commerce
  • Quality
  • Business integrity (transparent business practices)
  • Traceability

Social dimension

  • No discrimination (ILO Conventions 110, 111, 100)
  • Right to childhood and education
  • Freedom of Association
  • Right to collective bargaining
  • Working Conditions – Labour contract
  • Working Conditions – Working hours
  • Working Conditions – Wages
  • Working Conditions – Seasonal and piece rate workers
  • Working Conditions – Occupational Health and Safety

Environmental dimension

  • Conservation of Biodiversity
  • Use of pesticides
  • Handling of pesticides and other hazardous chemicals
  • Soil Conservation
  • Soil Fertility and nutrient management – Fertilisers
  • Soil Fertility and nutrient management – Organic matter
  • Water sources
  • Wastewater
  • Waste
  • Energy

4C stands for reliability

4C is a trustworthy and secure system, relying on innovative technology and profound training to monitor the compliance and continuous improvement of participating farmers and partners along the supply chain.

Contact us

We are happy to discuss individual solutions with you. Please get in touch and contact us directly.