The 4C Association, one of the world’s largest third-party coffee certifiers, says the amount of 4C-certified coffee tripled during the 2012-13 period, up to 7.5 million bags from 2.5 million in 2011-12.
The Bonn, Germany-based group now has over 300 members throughout the world, offering what it calls an “entry-level standard” to help producers work toward sustainable practices and eventually meet the sustainability requirements of other certifiers, such as Fair Trade International, UTZ Certified or the Rainforest Alliance.
The huge spike in 4C-certified coffees in 2012-13 is in large part due to programs led by a handful of the world’s largest coffee buyers, including Tchibo, Nestlé and Mondeléz International. Nestlé, for example, launched the Nescafé Plan, as the company hopes to make all of its directly sourced green coffees 4C-certified by 2015.
4C certification currently requires compliance with 28 social, environmental and economic criteria. The 11-year-old organization — which currently has offices in Bonn, El Salvador, Indonesia, Vietnam, Uganda and Brazil — is currently in the process of code revisions for the first time in six years. A public consultation period is open until May 13, including numerous regional workshops and surveys. For more information or to submit comments, visit the 4C code revisions page.