4C compliant coffee is coffee that has been produced in accordance with the 4C Code of Conduct, a set of sustainable practices and principles for the production of green coffee beans. The 4C Code of Conduct applies to any type of producing entity (4C Units) based in any coffee producing country that wish to produce and sell coffee as 4C compliant. The 4C Unit concept is inclusive and covers any type of production facility and/or process (a group of small-scale farmers, a cooperative or a farmers’ association, a collecting station, a mill, a local trader, an export organisation, or even a roaster). There are two prerequisites to qualify as a 4C Unit:
- Be able to produce and supply a minimum of one container of green coffee (20 tons)
- Have a person or a group of people (Managing Entity or ME) who can ensure the implementation of the 4C Code of Conduct
In order to receive a 4C Certificate a 4C Unit must comply with the 4C Code of Conduct and adhere to requirements relating to the organisation and management of the Unit in order to sell coffee as 4C Compliant. Additionally, Managing Entities of 4C Units must implement an Internal Management System which ensures that the 4C Code of Conduct and other requirements are properly put into practice by the Managing Entity and all Business Partners within the 4C Unit.