Equivalence Mechanism

01 / Jul / 16

Written by Juan Isaza, Code Manager.

On 13th June 2016 the Global Coffee Platform Board approved the guiding principles and process for developing the Equivalence Mechanism in relation to the Baseline Common Code.

The Baseline Common Code is the result of a multi-stakeholder agreement around practices that lead to sustainability in coffee production. The unacceptable practices and baseline practices included in the Baseline Common Code are a tangible expression of what baseline sustainability/the initial path to sustainability looks like. This process originates from an agreement among a multi-stakeholder coffee community that has been working towards a sustainable coffee sector since 2003. It has been confirmed and improved in 2013-2014 through an inclusive and transparent process of consultation with more than 300 participants in two rounds of consultation that included workshops in 8 countries and field tests in 5 countries.

The aim is to gradually raise the social, economic and environmental conditions of coffee production and processing worldwide, by reaching out to producers who are currently not implementing the principles described in the Baseline Common Code. These principles are based on good agricultural and management practices as well as international conventions and recognized guidelines accepted in the coffee sector. The Baseline Common Code also consists of 10 Unacceptable Practices which have to be excluded to achieve a basic level of sustainability.

The Global Coffee Platform (GCP) is not engaged in the implementation nor operationalization of the Baseline Common Code, or any verification or licensing operations of this code, rather it sets the rules for accredited operators to do credible verification and licensing decisions by defining an Equivalence Mechanism that creates the framework around what needs to be achieved in order to claim to meet the Baseline Common Code. . One of these accredited operators is Coffee Assurance Services.

The Global Coffee Platform will, however, be involved in the non-competitive part of maintaining the Baseline Common Code with the aim of making it a global reference for the coffee sector to underpin national and international sustainability strategies in order to integrate desired practices in the entire coffee community, for example through a dialogue with governments of coffee producing countries. This has already started successfully within existing National Platforms and wherever a National Sustainability Curriculum has been developed. The Baseline Common Code is also a central element of the Global Progress Framework. Results on implementation of these practices can serve as a common basis for collectively reporting and measure baseline performance within the Global Progress Framework.

For the Global Coffee Platform, the value of the this baseline reference code rests in the concrete practices it describes, as well as the fact that it was the result of a consensus achieved between hundreds of key coffee stakeholders.

For more information, please contact Juan Isaza, Global Coffee Platform Code Manager.