In 2008, systems of the 4C Association and Rainforest Alliance were benchmarked allowing producer groups already certified under the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) standards of the Rainforest Alliance to apply for the 4C License without going through the 4C verification process.


"Once Volkopi had obtained the Rainforest Alliance certificate,
applying for the 4C License was the logical next step, since the process
was simple. The farmers now have access to wider opportunities for
marketing, with minimal additional administrative costs".

Mark Furniss,Volcafe Holding, Switzerland on the benchmarking of  Volkopi, Volcafe 4C Unit in Indonesia. Volkopi Indonesia was the first 4C-Rainforest Alliance benchmarked supplier.

Since the 4C Code of Conduct is a baseline standard, benchmarking with the Rainforest Alliance’s SAN standard is non-reciprocal. Holders of a Rainforest Alliance Certificate can apply for a 4C License without additional costs or verification procedures, but 4C License holders must apply to be certified according to the more stringent SAN standards to obtain the Rainforest Alliance Certificate.

Are you a Rainforest Alliance certificate holder interested in obtaining a 4C License? Read the application procedure. If you have questions, get in touch with the 4C Secretariat.

This benchmarking initiative has reduced the number of audits required and overall costs to certified producer groups wishing to increase their market access through the 4C coffee supply chain. To date, there are 16 4C Units licensed under the benchmarking effort with the Rainforest Alliance.

The 4C Association is in dialogue with other standard setting schemes to explore possibilities for other benchmarking initiatives.

For more information about benchmarking, visit our FAQs section.