Process · How to obtain a 4C License

Join the 4C Verification Process - Step by Step

How to obtain a 4C License

The process to obtain a 4C License is summarized in the document 4C Units step by step.

4C Unit

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 very 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) who can ensure the implementation of the 4C Code of Conduct

In order to receive a 4C License, 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.

1- Check compliance within your 4C Unit

Check compliance of all Business Partners to the 4C System and confirm that no Unacceptable Practices of the 4C Code of Conduct exist in the 4C Unit.

2- Apply for 4C verification

After implementing the 4C Code of Conduct and its requirements, the Managing Entity must apply for verification. This application consists of sending to CAS a set of updated application documents, as shown hereafter.

All 4C Verification processes start with the application at CAS, before an actual audit takes place and the license can be issued.

3- Get verified by a 4C Verifier company

Contact a 4C Verifier Company and inform CAS which one was chosen. The dates for the Verification will be scheduled and informed with sufficient time in advance.

Provide access to all relevant locations and information according to the verification plan. The verification results are presented by the verifiers through the verification report which provides the basis for the actions on the improvement plan.

Verification of compliance must be carried out by an independent third-party certification body, which is approved by CAS. A list of approved 4C Verifiers can be found here.

4- Receive your license

After receiving the verification report from the 4C Verifier company, CAS evaluates and decides on licensing your 4C Unit.

5- Maintain your license

In order to maintain the 4C License, Managing Entities of 4C Units must submit two Annual Updates (one per year after the License is issued) submit the Improvement Plan to report the implementation progress of planned actions related to good agricultural and management practices as described in 4C Code of Conduct. Additionally, Managing Entities of 4C Units must report annually the volumes of coffee traded as 4C Compliant Coffee through the CAS Portal.

Initial Verification

  • 4C Assessment Tool
  • Business Partner Mapping
  • Organisational Chart

Reverification

  • 4C Assessment Tool
  • Updated Business Partner Mapping
  • Updated Organisational Chart
  • Updated Improvement Plan

Addendum

  • 4C Assessment Tool
  • Updated Business Partner Mapping
  • Updated Organisational Chart
  • Updated Improvement Plan

Follow-Up

  • Improvement Plan
  • Assessment Tool
  • Business Partner Mapping
  • Organisational Chart

Annual Update

  • Improvement Plan
  • Assessment Tool
  • Business Partner Mapping
  • Organisational Chart