The 4C Association has developed a credible, efficient and independent verification system. 4C Verification helps 4C Units (producer groups) evaluate where they are in  implementation of the 4C Code of Conduct.

Before they can sell 4C Compliant Coffee, 4C Units need to reach an average yellow level in the application of the 4C Code confirmed by independent verification.

The verification visit

The 4C Verification process begins when a 4C Unit has completed and submitted three documents:

Once all three documents are prepared and submitted to the 4C Secretariat, 4C Units contact a 4C-approved verifier in their region to arrange a visit. The verification process confirms results of a 4C Unit’s self-assessment and keeps momentum in the continuous improvement process.

See the list of approved 4C verifying companies.

During the visit, the verifier checks documents and procedures, conducts interviews and collects evidence. The verifier also conducts random checks of individual farmers and partners involved with the organization. The number of random checks are 50% of the square root of all farmers and other partners outlined in the 4C Unit's Business Partner Mapping.

If the verification is positive (an average level of yellow achieved), 4C Units receive a license to sell 4C Compliant Coffee. Within six weeks of receiving the license, 4C Units must send an improvement plan to the verifier and the 4C Secretariat showing plans to further improve their performance.

On a yearly basis, 4C Units must complete the self-assessment and update all of their documents, including a report on progress on their improvement plans. This is submitted to the 4C Secretariat. Re-verification is conducted after three years.

For more information on how 4C Verification works, see 4C Verification under our FAQs.



Independent verifiers

4C Verifications are conducted by professional, independent third-party companies that are accredited against ISO/Guide 65 or the equivalent.

Verifiers must meet additional qualification criteria to work for the 4C Association, including:

  • inspection/system auditing experience;
  • background and experience in the coffee sector;and
  • successful participation in 4C Verifier Training;

Check the list of 4C approved verifiers here.

A verifier from Bio Latina interviews a worker during the re-verification of FNC Risaralda 4C Unit in Colombia.