4C Certification · 4C Integrity Program

Quality Assurance within the 4C System

The 4C Integrity Program aims to assure the quality of 4C certification, as well as a consistent and objective audit and certification process by all auditors and certification bodies (CBs) cooperating with 4C.

The Integrity Program contributes to continuous improvement over time with respect to effectiveness and efficiency of the 4C system. Integrity Assessments facilitate the high standards of 4C certification with respect to, credibility, impartiality, consistency, and reliability.

Integrity Assessments are conducted by 4C Integrity Auditors and can take place in any country where 4C System Users are located. Integrity Auditors are independent and free of any conflicts of interest. All information and findings of 4C Integrity Assessments are treated confidentially. Audit costs and fees related to Integrity Assessments are covered by 4C.

Types of Integrity Audits

I. Compliance audit Assessment of quality and effectiveness of how 4C Units/CoC groups have implemented 4C’s sustainability criteria and improvement activities on the ground. (ref. 4C Code of Conduct), referring to the certification decision made by the responsible CB.
II. CB office audit Assessment of the quality of the CBs’ management system and the effectiveness of the CB’s auditing processes (ref. 4C Certification Body Regulations).
III. Witness audit Assessment of the performance of the CB, by evaluating audit procedures and tools on the ground (ref. 4C System Regulations).

Abbreviations used:

  • CoC: Chain of Custody
  • CB: Certification Body

Method for selecting 4C System Users

Quality and Risk Management
To achieve quality assurance, independent 4C Integrity Auditors together with the 4C Integrity Program Manager assess the performance of 4C Units/IBs/FBs/CBs. The selected candidate is chosen by 4C on a I) risk-based methodology or II) randomly.

Parameters of risk analysis applicable to 4C Units:

  1. Number of BPs within the 4C Unit
  2. Area (in ha) of total coffee production area
  3. Productivity in terms of average yield of coffee production
  4. Number of non-conformities identified during last recertification audit

Certification Bodies are selected based on reported infringements as well as notable cases of suspected violations against the 4C System.

Abbreviations used:

  • IB: Intermediate Buyer
  • FB: Final Buyer
  • CB: Certification Body
  • BP: Business Partner

4C Integrity Program Flyer

For detailed information about quality assurance within the 4C System, please download the 4C Integrity Program Flyer here.