For Trade and Industry

Corporate Social Responsibility has become enormously important in improving the performance of companies and motivating employees and partners who want to be part of something bigger than just day-to-day business. Many consumers also consider sustainable production and trading as an indispensable product feature and a purchasing prerequisite.

A variety of certification initiatives already offer responsibly grown coffee; an increasing number of companies include these certified coffees in their portfolios. 

These products guarantee a high level of sustainability and often offer a premium to producers for their efforts. Until now the industry has had to choose between purchasing certified coffee or mainstream coffee without any social, environmental or trade standards applied. 

The 4C Association fills this gap. The Association has developed a baseline standard for the mainstream sector, which provides an opportunity for trade and industry to create a beneficial situation for producers, themselves, their consumers and the environment.

“The journey towards a sustainable future has many steps and requires continuous re-appraisal to stay on course. The standards that form the 4C Code of Conduct represent a positive next step for the whole coffee industry to adopt sustainable practices. Therefore Kraft Foods will be considerably increasing its purchases of sustainable coffee which meets at least the standards held within the 4C Code of Conduct”

- Hubert Weber, President, Coffee, Kraft Foods Europe -

4C Compliant Coffee was first traded in coffee year 2007/08

Apply Corporate Responsibility and the Good News

Interest in the social, environmental and economic conditions in producing countries is growing among consumers, retailers and out of home companies . With membership in the 4C Association and by purchasing 4C Compliant Coffee, you visibly demonstrate your commitment as a company. 

As a retailer or roaster, you can demonstrate to your consumers that you are making serious efforts to ensure that your coffee is being sourced responsibly. If you are an exporter or an importing company, you can meet the growing demand for sustainably produced coffee. 

As a member, you are authorized to use the 4C Association membership statement, which emphasizes your company commitment to sustainability and explains what the 4C Association stands for. The membership statement may be used on your entire range of brands creating maximum awareness for your company commitment. The 4C Association does not offer a 4C Compliant Coffee label or seal to be used on retail coffee packs for marketing to the final consumer.

Optimize market efficiency in the long-term 

The platform function of the 4C Association will help strengthen your relationship with suppliers ensuring the long-term supply of sustainably grown and processed coffee. By cooperating in international projects, 4C Trade and Industry Members contribute to the organizational development of producers and the long-term advancement of sustainability in the coffee sector. This leads to improved cooperation up and down the supply chain resulting in greater efficiency. It also results in a more transparent and traceable market and improves supplier loyalty.

Credibility through stakeholder dialogue 

The 4C Association is a membership organization that includes coffee farmers (both big and small), traders (importers and exporters), industry players (coffee roasters and retailers) and civil society (non-governmental organizations and trade unions).

The structure of the 4C Association encourages dialogue between these stakeholder groups and ensures their participation in the governance of the association creating a worldwide platform where all actors can discuss the coffee sector and sustainable development. 

Scale up volumes of sustainably produced coffee!

The 4C Association provides roasters and traders with a business-to-business concept for including sustainably sourced coffee in their entire product range. Just as a coffee brand may contain various blends, the percentage of sustainably produced coffee in a pack can be adjusted to reflect the goals and situation of a company.

Consider the following scenario where a roaster incrementally incorporates sustainably produced coffee in a brand with the following ratios:

  • First: 0% sustainability 
  • Second: 50% 4C Compliant Coffee: 50% not sustainably sourced 
  • Third: 50% sustainably certified coffee: 50% 4C Compliant 
  • Fourth: and eventually 100% certified coffee.

It is possible to combine coffees in any other ratio. Coffee produced according to any other certification scheme may be combined with 4C Compliant Coffee.

Engage in the global multi-stakeholder platform

Become part of an active community of peers and organizations that have serious goals for making the coffee sector more sustainable. The 4C Association brings 4C Members together with other cooperation partners, such as research institutions, donors, other certification and sustainability initiatives and non-governmental organizations. 

The 4C Association regularly organizes regional sustainability forums and meetings that provide the coffee industry with the opportunity to meet with producers and civil society organizations to discuss the coffee sector and its sustainable development.