About · Our History

Providing independent, credible and innovative solutions for sustainable supply chains

Our History

The Common Code for the Coffee Community (4C) was created through a participatory, extensive, transparent and balanced consultation with coffee stakeholders worldwide, and was first 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 inclusion of various stakeholders is crucial for the set-up, credibility, and continuous improvement of a sustainability standard.

New ownership brought change into the system. This way, the 4C Certification System does not apply the “traffic light” system anymore. Instead, it pursues a stricter approach of continuous improvement, 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 in the updated System Regulations, effective since 1 July 2020.