GCP releases revised Coffee Sustainability Reference Code

Following completion of a broad international public consultation, the Global Coffee Platform has published the Coffee Sustainability Reference Code, which provides a foundation to support the primary principles of sustainable coffee production. This reference code offers a common language to enable farmers, producer organisations and their business partners, as well as donors, NGOs, financial institutions and governments to advance their coffee sustainability efforts, collaboratively and effectively.

The Coffee Sustainability Reference Code provides sustainability stakeholders with with a simplified and fit-for-purpose framework to foster better understanding of principles that support baseline sustainable coffee production. It addresses ongoing challenges in the coffee sustainability landscape as well as key emerging concerns such as climate change, or diversity, equity and inclusion.

According to Annette Pensel, GCP executive director, the revised code is “from the coffee community for the coffee community” and ultimately seeks to advance farmers’ economic prosperity, social well-being, and the conservation of nature.

“The Coffee Sustainability Reference Code helps to enhance and align work underway so that more coffee farmers can be reached, and to encourage all coffee production to be sustainable.”

For Gelkha Buitrago, GCP director Programs and Corporate Partnerships, we can collectively undertake strong concerted action to support a more sustainable and resilient future for farmers and the sector overall, but “to do so, we need a shared understanding of baseline sustainability upon which other innovations at farm level and beyond can be built.”

Centred on the three dimensions of economic prosperity, social well-being, and environmental stewardship, the Coffee Sustainability Reference Code outlines 12 principles, broken down into practices and expected results that describe baseline sustainability for coffee production and primary processing.

The code also defines five critical practices: elimination of the worst forms of child labour, elimination of forced labour, no deforestation, no use of prohibited pesticides, and the newest addition, continuous improvement.

“While the Coffee Sustainability Reference Code addresses the beginning of the supply chain, with farmers on the ground, downstream actors are expected to share the responsibility for sustainability,” says Pensel. “This includes supporting and incentivising the efforts of coffee farmers to introduce, maintain, and go beyond these baseline principles across all dimensions, as well as promoting equitable trading and sourcing practices.”

As custodian of the code, GCP believes the Coffee Sustainability Reference Code will serve the coffee sector to better align activities, inspire continuous improvement, and accelerate individual and collective action.

“Coffee sustainability is a shared responsibility and as a common language, together we can use this reference code and advance towards a thriving, sustainable coffee sector for generations to come.”

For more information, visit: www.globalcoffeeplatform.org/our-work/coffee-sustainability-reference-code.

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