Five sustainability schemes recognised as aligning with Coffee SR Code by GCP

In the latest move to promote transparency and to drive the purchase of sustainable coffee worldwide, the Global Coffee Platform (GCP) has recognised five sustainability schemes as equivalent to the GCP Coffee Sustainability Reference Code (Coffee SR Code), 2nd party assurance. The recognition of schemes from companies Louis Dreyfus Company, Neumann Kaffee Gruppe, Mercon, and Volcafe, represents critical sector alignment necessary for coffee sustainability.  

Since GCP released the enhanced iteration of its Equivalence Mechanism 2.0, in November last year – a process which saw the tool being strengthened with stricter sustainability and operational criteria – schemes have been aligning their systems to become equivalent to the Coffee SR Code. This code is a sector-wide reference on the foundations of sustainability in economic, social and environmental dimensions for green coffee production and primary processing worldwide. GCP’s Equivalence Mechanism also entails assessment against a set of operational criteria that ensures a credible and effective system for implementation and includes governance, standard-setting, assurance, data and claims requirements.  

According to Annette Pensel, GCP executive director, the global platform “applauds the swift action by these GCP Member companies to step up and align through the Coffee SR Code and GCP Equivalence Mechanism. 

“This commitment to the use of a common language and the increasing openness to transparency is a critical feature to understand, advance and accelerate coffee sustainability.” 

As part of the equivalence process, GCP requires that sustainability schemes share publicly not only the scope, objectives and strategies of their schemes, but also their sustainability criteria and a general overview of their assurance structure and activities. While certification schemes have long made this information public, this is a first for private-led schemes.     

GCP is pleased to announce the following schemes have been recognised as equivalent to the Coffee Sustainability Reference Code, 2nd party assurance:

  • Louis Dreyfus Company’s Responsible Sourcing Program Advanced,  
  • Mercon’s LIFT,  
  • Neumann Kaffee Gruppe’s NKG Verified,  
  • Volcafe’s Volcafe Verified, and  
  • Volcafe Excellence  

“Achieving GCP recognition for LDC’s Coffee Responsible Sourcing Program Advanced is a significant milestone, as it provides an independent, trusted and widely accepted recognition of the robustness and credibility of our programme. It also lays the groundwork for the expansion of more RSP Advanced supply chains across coffee origins to further advance responsible production practices on the ground, addressing critical sustainability challenges faced by farmers, merchants and roasters,” commented Ben Clarkson, global head of coffee, Louis Dreyfus Company 

“LIFT by Mercon fosters the well-being and livelihoods of coffee farmers and their communities in a socially and environmentally conscious manner. GCP provides LIFT with the recognition the industry requires to increase investments in sustainable sourcing,” said Giacomo Celi, Mercon’s sustainability director. “This recognition strengthens Mercon’s commitment to long-term sustainability and LIFT partnerships with key stakeholders. Consequently, we’ll grow and forge new alliances to build a better coffee world, thus improving the well-being of coffee communities worldwide.”  

Carolin Ehrensperger, head of sustainable business unit at NKG, stated, “We are very proud to have reached this significant milestone with NKG Verified. Finding solutions that both the customer and producers benefit from is our key intention. We trust that the recognition will help us to increase the footprint of the amazing work our field teams and participating producers do every day to improve their sustainability performance.” 

“The recognition by GCP is evidence that the two unique Volcafe Responsibly Sourced (RS) schemes not only adhere to global sustainability standards in economic, social, and environmental dimensions, but also promote farmers’ prosperity, social well-being, and the preservation of our environment. Volcafe RS is a new way forward that combines rigorous practices that are comprehensively field-tested through our own unique in-house farmer support programme, Volcafe Way. It is the next phase in Volcafe’s journey toward a thriving, sustainable coffee business for all,” commented, Liesbeth Kamphuis, Volcafe’s sustainability director 

For the assessment of the sustainability schemes, GCP partnered with the International Trade Centre, which, as GCP implementation partner, assessed the schemes against the principles and practices of the Coffee SR Code and the Operational Criteria of the EM 2.0 ensuring the integrity of the recognition process. Following successful assessment and GCP recognition, sustainability schemes are eligible for roasters and retailers to be included in the annual GCP Collective Reporting on Sustainable Coffee Purchases, another way companies are aligning to advance coffee sustainability globally. 

The Equivalence Mechanism, together with the Coffee SR Code and the GCP Collective Reporting on Sustainable Coffee Purchases are connected assets developed by GCP to offer a common language on the foundations for coffee sustainability and promote the supply and demand of coffee produced following at least baseline sustainability principles.  

This is the first round of sustainability schemes that GCP announces as equivalent to the Coffee SR Code. Applications are now open for additional schemes interested in being assessed. All schemes that have been recognised by the Baseline Coffee Code will need to submit their scheme for reassessment under the EM 2.0 and go through the GCP Equivalence Process by October 2023.  

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