ICO’s public and private task force pursues economic sustainability for coffee sector

The International Coffee Council, at its 128th Special Session held on 28 October 2020, has confirmed and endorsed with leading coffee CEOs and global leaders, a vision and road map setting out new commitments towards achieving a prosperous, sustainable and inclusive coffee sector. The shared vision and Road Map contained in a joint Communiqué were developed and recommended by the Coffee Public-Private Task Force which is composed of “Sherpas” from ICO coffee exporting and importing members and leading members of the private sector with the support of civil society and development partners.

For the first time in the history of coffee, key coffee public and private decision-makers aligned their views to decide on joint actions to achieve a more sustainable and prosperous coffee sector. The ICO worked tirelessly with its membership and leading coffee industry partners to mobilise all coffee stakeholders, the third sector and development partners to work together on this common goal.

At the core of the shared vision is the livelihood of coffee farmers and the sustainability of the sector. Particularly the ambitious concept of working towards a prosperous income and building upon the living income methodology that is already being applied by other commodity and agribusiness sectors.

“In a time of harsh realities, leaders across the sector succeeded in working together for real impact. Through the ICO Structured Sector-Wide Dialogue and the unique collaborative Task Force, the public sector and the private sector have agreed for the first time on shared approaches to tackle challenges across the sector. If we want coffee farmers to have a better life and prosperous income, if we want young people see a future for themselves in coffee, if we want to improve conditions for women and vulnerable people, then we must work together,” said José Sette, executive director of the ICO.

In spite of the pandemic, the Task Force managed to meet online twice since it was established in January 2020 and build common ground for a global partnership between the coffee industry and governments. The Task Force submitted its recommendations to the ICO-led 2nd CEO & Global Leaders Forum, which were held in September, and the 127th and 128th meetings of the International Coffee Council.

In the communiqué key players across the public and private sector agreed on a shared vision and how to pursue it through a 2020-2030 Roadmap participating in initiatives that promote a real prosperous income for smallholder coffee farmers, their families and the entire coffee sector. More specifically, they commit to directly support living income pilot projects in 4-6 countries, which are to begin as soon as possible.

The Task Force is strongly supported by and coordinated with multi-stakeholder initiatives like the Global Coffee Platform (GCP), Sustainable Coffee Challenge (SCC) and others who are an important part of this initiative including the International Women Coffee Association (IWCA) to ensure that gender is mainstreamed in the work of the Task Force.

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