At the end of 2009, 4C announced 2009 growth of more than 150% in coffee sales, and it predicts growth in 2010 of at least 50%.
The 4C project is a code of conduct developed for the coffee sector. It is based on the observance of 28 principles and the exclusion of 10 unacceptable practices such as child labour. Members of this multiparty initiative include Aldi, Kraft and even Nestlé.
The 4C project (Common Code for the Coffee Community), was initiated in 2003 by the German Coffee Association (DKV) and the German development cooperation, and brings together representatives of the coffee industry, producers, trade unions, NGOs, certification organisations and international institutions.
Before its official establishment in 2006, this group finalised a code of conduct directly inspired by the UN Millennium Goals. It is designed to provide operators in the coffee marketing chain with sustainable livelihoods, with a social, environmental and economic dimension. This code is based on the following precepts:
- Coffee production can only be sustainable provided it provides decent living and working conditions for the farmers, their families and their employees. This concept encompasses respect for human rights and working standards as well as a decent quality of life.
- Protection of the environment, for example primary forests, and the conservation of natural resources such as water, soil, biodiversity and energy are essential components of the sustainable production of coffee and its processing after harvest.
- Economic viability is the basis of social and environmental sustainability.
It must be accompanied by fair incomes for all the operators in the coffee chain, free access to markets and sustainable livelihoods.
This system considers that encouraging sustainability in the green coffee sector is a productive, competitive and efficient way of improving the economic conditions of the individuals working in coffee growing, post-harvest processing and the marketing of coffee.