About · Governance & Transparency

Providing independent, credible and innovative solutions for sustainable supply chains

Governance & Transparency

History and Development

The Common Code for the Coffee Community (4C) was created through a participatory, extensive, transparent and balanced consultation with coffee stakeholders worldwide, and was owned and operationalized by the former 4C Association.

Following a new strategy to separate the commercial certification related activities from its pre-competitive activities, the 4C Association as of April 2016 evolved into the Global Coffee Platform (GCP) and Coffee Assurance Services (CAS). CAS plus 4C Certification System was acquired by MEO Carbon Solutions in January 2018. CAS was renamed 4C Services and is responsible to operate and assure the compliance with the 4C Certification System.

The 4C Certification System will remain a system based on multi-stakeholder dialogue; strong multi-stakeholder inclusion is crucial for the set-up, credibility, and continuous improvement of a sustainability standard. It should be highlighted that the 4C Certification procedure has already changed after MEO Carbon Solutions took over.

The 4C Certification System does not apply the “traffic light” system anymore, instead it pursues a stricter approach wherefore it is not possible to consider 4C as a “low barrier to entry” standard without visibility anymore. This is already reflected in our audit reports and the revision of the Certification Regulations are currently in process.

The team previously composing the Certification Department of the 4C Association operates as the core team of 4C Services GmbH under the leadership of Mr. Gustavo Bacchi as Managing Director.

Roles and Responsibilities

As the operator, 4C Services key task is the maintenance and integrity of the 4C Certification System, which mainly includes:

  • approval, management and training of certification bodies.
  • monitoring compliance of 4C Units with the 4C Code of Conduct and other certification requirements – including reviewing audit reports and taking certificate decisions.
  • monitoring data and reporting of final buyers and Managing Entities of 4C Units.

For 4C Certification, 4C Services collaborates with approved certification bodies operating in coffee producing countries that are ISO/ IEC 17065 (agricultural scope) accredited.

The roles and responsibilities of all stakeholder groups in the 4C Certification System are displayed schematically in the figure below and described in detail in the 4C Certification Regulation (see download section).

4C Services Advisory Board

Since 2017, 4C Services has an Advisory Board. Find more information here.

Further Information – Downloads and Links: