For Producers

If you are a cooperative, farmers’ association or simply a group of farmers, joining the 4C Association has much to offer. 

“Compliance with the 4C Code gives us more credibility, greater acceptance of our product and the ability to make more business in the future since the buyers have the assurance that we comply with baseline sustainability criteria.”

Engineer Próspero Trejo, coffee farmer and Managing Director of
Cooperative Ciudad Barrios, 4C Member in El Salvador.

Farmer at Cooxupé 4C Unit, Brazil: in the 4C Units, farmers learn how to grow and process their coffee in am more sustainable way

Meet the Increasing demand for sustainably grown coffee

Consumer demand for coffee produced in a responsible manner continues to grow. With 4C membership, you can access this important market. Social, environmental and economic conditions in producing countries are becoming more important in consumer buying decisions. Coffee companies recognize this growing demand and are seeking responsibly grown coffee. Through the set of Rules of Participation, 4C Trade and Industry Members commit to supporting producers. These rules include the purchase of increasing amounts of 4C Compliant Coffee over time.

Increase income through the application of better and more sustainable practices

The 4C Code of Conduct is a tool to assist farmers as they apply better agricultural, processing and management practices. Moreover with the help of 4C Units, farmers and other business partners create bridges to market information, tools and training to:

  • Increase yields through the application of better agricultural practices and access to new technologies/planting material and more.
  • Improve coffee quality by harvesting better quality beans or processing, drying and storing them correctly to maintain the quality.
  • Minimize/optimize the use of approved pesticides and fertilizers, and apply Integrated Pest Management strategies to mitigate environmental damage and decrease costs.
  • Keep records of production activities to monitor costs and identify opportunities for greater efficiency.
  • Enhance organizational development and management capacities of farmer groups to improve service delivery.

Adoption of these practices contributes toward increased net income for coffee farmers through quality improvement, cost reduction, increased efficiency and optimization of the supply chain.

“At the beginning we did not have an idea of the work coffee involved, we basically harvested the coffee as it came and not much emphasis was given to quality and all the benefits. Attending training sessions enabled the farmers in this 4C Unit to realize their production potential and how to manage resources efficiently.”  

— Minerva Pérez Gonzalez, farmer, 4C Unit Agroindustrias Unidas de Mexico S.A. de C.V. 
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Free access to information and training tools on good agricultural practices

To help you switch to more sustainable practices, the 4C Association puts a growing number of free information and training tools at your disposal. When you join the 4C Association, you receive a login to immediately access the online 4C Tool Library filled with training documents on good agricultural and management practices, and social, ecological and economic sustainability efforts. The training material consists mostly of manuals, handbooks, useful brochures and booklets, material such as posters and flyers, as well as key resources from the web. The tool library is a collaborative effort between the 4C Secretariat, 4C Members and partner organizations. All have made their resources available to benefit 4C Members.

Step up to other sustainability standards

The 4C Association is a first step to implementing sustainable practices in coffee production and processing. After meeting the 4C baseline standard, your organization will be in a better position to step up to the more demanding requirements of certification schemes such as the Rainforest Alliance, UTZ Certified or Fairtrade. This approach has been confirmed by the positive results of the pilot project,“Stepping up from the 4C baseline to SAN Standards of the Rainforest Alliance.” The 4C Association and UTZ Certified are currently collaborating on a similar stepping up exercise in Colombia that could be spread elsewhere.   Moreover, the Association already has a benchmarking partnership with the Rainforest Alliance. This means that holders of the Rainforest Alliance Certificate may apply for a 4C License without additional costs or verification procedures (although 4C License holders need to step up to SAN standards in order to obtain a Rainforest Alliance Certificate).

Engage in the global multi-stakeholder platform

You can be part of a community of leading organizations and companies that are serious about making the coffee sector more sustainable. The 4C Association regularly organizes regional sustainability forums and meetings where participants make new connections and create synergies  to jointly address sustainability issues affecting the coffee sector.