When it comes to coffee topics, the most interesting ones that pop into mind are things like new brewing techniques, health benefits of coffee, unusual stories about coffee, that type of article. A new certification association is not that exciting, but since this new term suddenly started occurring when reading about coffee, it seemed a good idea to find out what it was. Recently, the term 4C has been used in the certification information about coffees. It turns out it has to do with the 4C Association, which became a member of ISEAL on September 12. ISEAL (International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labeling Alliance) is a coalition of the leaders in standards setting organizations. It means 4C has the stamp of approval on its standards setting, assuring that its process is credible, transparent and participatory. The 4 C’s stand for the Common Code for the Coffee Community (CCCC), which is an independent association of coffee producers, trade and industry, and civil society. The group sets requirements for “the sustainable production, processing and trading of coffee and eliminates unacceptable practices.” The standards include such requirements as providing drinking water on the job, prohibiting discrimination, providing safe environment on the job, providing a labor contract, and following sustainability regulations such as not using chemical herbicides, etc. More than just certifying, the group also helps growers move up from basic sustainability standards to more demanding ones. So now you know. If you see something about 4C on the coffee package or on a description of the coffee, you will know it has to with the setting of sustainability standards. If the coffee is certified organic, fair trade, etc., and has the 4C, you can rest assured that the certification is as good as it can be and has many other organizations standing behind it. And if you can remember what the four C's stand for, you've earned another cup of coffee. Enjoy. Brew on, knowingly.
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