Frequently Asked Questions

The Global Coffee Platform

What is the Global Coffee Platform?

The Global Coffee Platform (GCP) is the multi-stakeholder sustainable coffee platform that unites stakeholders in a non-competitive approach working towards a thriving, sustainable sector. The GCP sets into action the global agenda made through the public-private initiative, Vision 2020, to ultimately improve the livelihoods of coffee farming communities and the natural environment of coffee production areas.

What does the Global Coffee Platform do?

The GCP improves the livelihoods of coffee farming communities and the natural environment of coffee production areas through its three core functions:

  1. The Global Platform provides an enabling environment for members to collectively define a common vision, act on national priorities, closely cooperate with governments, improve the effectiveness of sustainability programs, and contribute to greater impact at farm level.
  2. The Baseline Common Code is a set of globally referenced baseline principles and practices for coffee production and processing. It aims to create a level playing field and underpin national sustainability strategies to enable sector-wide adoption of minimum sustainability requirements.
  3. The Global Progress Framework provides the coffee sector with the means to collectively report, measure and compete on sustainability efforts to drive improvements towards the common vision.

Why was the Global Coffee Platform established?

The sector has come a long way in organizing itself and driving sustainability forward. Coffee is the first crop where voluntary sustainability principles reached the mainstream, as over one third of its production now meets one or more standards. Moreover, public and private stakeholders initiated numerous multi-stakeholder initiatives to accelerate sustainable coffee production. With the focus on voluntary certification and verification standards and programs, the sector took an important step towards sustainability. However, they are not enough on their own to address the more overarching and deeper sustainability challenges the sector is facing. Despite all progress, the sector continues to face threats related to climate change, pests and disease outbreak, aging trees and farmers. The origins where farmer livelihoods failed to rise sufficiently see younger generations migrate away from coffee production.

The time has come for the coffee sector to continue its pioneering role and to take a more collaborative, holistic and aligned approach to sustainability, gearing the different programs and initiatives towards a unified vision.

This need to align and act collectively (to avoid duplication of short-term projects) is something both the 4C Association and the Sustainable Coffee Program were already putting into action through forming Vision 2020 together with the International Coffee Organization (ICO) representing its producing and consuming country government members. By combining and building on the achievements of the 4C Association’s expansive membership and the Sustainable Coffee Program’s programmatic activities, the Global Coffee Platform sees the coffee sector enter a new era where sustainability is a shared responsibility.

In short: through working together as producers, trade, roasters, standards and civil society, governments and donors, united under a common vision and commitment, the sector will see greater impact in the resilience and livelihoods of coffee farming communities around the world.

Who are the members of the Global Coffee Platform?

The 300-plus members of the Global Coffee Platform include farmers and farmer organizations (big and small), trade (importers and exporters), industry (coffee roasters and retailers), other supply chain actors, civil society (non-governmental organizations such as sustainability standards, implementers and other support organizations), individuals, and donor agencies and many other organizations.

To find out who are currently members of the GCP, please click here.

How is the Global Coffee Platform governed?

The Global Coffee Platform is a multi-stakeholder membership organization and as such, it supports initiatives of all those coffee stakeholders who are active members through the Membership Assembly. The GCP is formally governed by a Board, representing all coffee stakeholder groups, and elected by the Membership Assembly. Additionally, the Secretariat and the different Advisory Boards and Committees provide comprehensive support structures to carry out the strategic and operational functions of the organization.

For further information on the governance of the Global Coffee Platform, please refer to the various guideline documents online. To meet the current Board, please visit the Governance Page

What happens to the 4C Association and the Sustainable Coffee Program?

Both the 4C Association and the Sustainable Coffee Program in their current form will cease to exist as of 25th April, 2016. 

The Global Coffee Platform is the combination of the 4C Association without any commercial verification operations (which become operated by Coffee Assurance Services) and the Sustainable Coffee Program without the so called field level projects (which will remain as part of the coffee program within IDH). The pre-competitive global activities of SCP will transition into the GCP throughout 2016.

How will this affect you?

Do all members of the 4C Association automatically become members of the Global Coffee Platform?

Yes, until the end of 2016, all members of the 4C Association will automatically become members of the Global Coffee Platform. The enhanced value proposition of GCP Membership will be clarified during the Membership Assembly in October 2016 and is expected to attract many new members.

What are the next steps for the Global Coffee Platform?

After the formal launch in Addis Ababa on 4th March 2016, the Global Coffee Platform will continue to:

  • Develop the organization’s Strategy 2017 – 2020.
  • Develop new services and opportunities to benefit each and every member.
  • Establish effective and relevant funding mechanisms to create greater impact at farm level.
  • Facilitate member and stakeholder outreach meetings in order to identify national priorities.
  • Feed these national priorities into the Global Agenda.
  • Support coffee-producing country governments and other operators to utilize the Baseline Common Code as a reference for their sustainability strategies.
  • Facilitate cross-country learning and exchange.
  • Organize the 1st annual Membership Assembly in October, 2016, in Geneva, Switzerland.

Vision 2020

What is Vision 2020?

Vision 2020 is the common sector ambition of public and private actors coming together to align and coordinate their sustainability efforts and activities. 

Through a farmer-centric common agenda at national and global levels, an expansive network of governments, producers, traders, roasters, donors, standards, and research bodies aim to effectuate their collective impact against sector challenges in order to ensure the resilience and livelihoods of coffee farming communities.

What is the link between the Global Coffee Platform and Vision 2020?

Together with the International Coffee Organization (ICO), the Global Coffee Platform acts as champions of Vision 2020, bringing it to life and turning it into collective action between the public and private stakeholders.

What is the Vision 2020 Call for Collective Action?

The Vision 2020 Call for Collective Action is an ongoing public commitment through which the private sector confirms their support to align and coordinate their activities and efforts with the common agenda of Vision 2020.

This call for private sector leadership has currently been signed by over 30 leading organizations from the coffee sector. Please click here to view what signatories have to say about Vision 2020.

To demonstrate your commitment by signing on to the Vision 2020 call for Collective Action, please send your company’s logo to

The Baseline Common Code

What is the Baseline Common Code?

The Baseline Common Code reflects the principles and minimal reference practices for sustainable production and processing. Its definition results from the widest multi-stakeholder process in the coffee sector. 

What is its role in the Global Coffee Platform?

The role of the Baseline Common Code is to become a global reference for the entire coffee sector. Where many voluntary sustainability standards are “pulling” the most sustainably produced coffee, the Baseline Common Code aims to “push” the adoption of mainstream coffee production to a minimum level of sustainable practices.  As such, it underpins national sustainability strategies and can be taken up by other actors at both national and international levels. It also can be used to measure performance within the Global Progress Framework.

The Global Coffee Platform is the custodian of the Baseline Common Code and is responsible for defining and maintaining its content and regulations periodically. The Global Coffee Platform is not however, involved in any verification, licensing or other commercial “4C” activity of the Baseline Common Code.

How can stakeholders use the Baseline Common Code?

The Baseline Common Code can be used in a variety of ways by different stakeholders. It can:

  • Be operated as the 4C Code by an assurance provider such as Coffee Assurance Services or as a baseline equivalency by other accredited operators. For example sustainability standards like Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade International or UTZ, government standards like Certifica Minas Brazil, implementers or many others.
  • Be operationalized and integrated into national strategies. For example in the practices as specified in National Sustainability Curricula.
How is compliance against the Baseline Common Code assured?

The Global Coffee Platform has outsourced and decentralized the assurance services of the Baseline Common Code to accredited operators which have to comply with defined accreditation criteria through an independent mechanism. The operating assurance systems have embedded (as a minimum) the Baseline Common Code and provide verification, certification or other innovative, accepted and credible ways of compliance.

As of April 2016, all specific services related to 4C verification – such as issuing of licenses, verification visits, trainings, and commercial reporting - are delivered to 4C Units, roasters and other customers by the newly founded Coffee Assurance Service GmbH & Co. KG.

What is Coffee Assurance Services?

Coffee Assurance Services is a global assurance service provider delivering high quality, independent, innovative and credible services in the coffee sector, for 4C Verification of the Baseline Common Code as well as assurance, integrity and progress measurement in coffee.

As the operator of the 4C Verification System, Coffee Assurance Services (CAS) is responsible for assuring compliance against the 4C Code of Conduct. The 4C Code of Conduct is the operationalized version of the Global Coffee Platform’s Baseline Common Code that serves as a reference code for baseline sustainability practices in the coffee sector. CAS is therefore responsible for providing training to 4C verifiers, issuing 4C licenses, and evaluating the level of compliance with the 4C Code of Conduct for 4C Units.

The Global Progress Framework

What is the Global Progress Framework?

The Global Progress Framework is a means to systematically define common indicators and metrics, collect, analyze, report and utilize the performance of initiatives and activities towards our common vision. It will allow members of the Global Coffee Platform to:

  • Transparently monitor and report on their progress.
  • Measure their performance against others.
  • Promote their performance.
  • Assess areas to innovate and improve performance.
  • Attract new partnerships and donor funding.
  • Synchronize with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Identify gaps, strengths, and opportunities.
  • Share communication, knowledge exchange and resource use.
  • Increase effectiveness at farm-gate.
What is the Sustainable Coffee Challenge?

The Sustainable Coffee Challenge is a call to action to make coffee the first sustainable agricultural product in the world.

Aligned under Vision 2020, the Global Coffee Platform and the Sustainable Coffee Challenge are in close cooperation to strengthen demand for sustainably produced coffee and enable more long-term commitments of coffee stakeholders by developing a common framework for sustainability performance.

To find out more about the Sustainable Coffee Challenge, please visit their website

Who do I contact

To become a member of the Global Coffee Platform or enquire about your membership application
To find out what’s happening in a particular region



Latin America


Eastern Africa

To learn more about National Platforms

Paul Klein Hoffmeijer, Program Officer:

For questions regarding the Baseline Common Code

Juan Isaza, Code Manager:

To understand more about measuring impact

George Watene, Monitoring and Evaluation Manager:

For all communication purposes (incl. media enquiries, events, news, resources, information sharing, etc.)

Josh Edwards, Communications Manager:

To learn more about Vision 2020