Empowering sustainable coffee sourcing schemes:

Revised Equivalence Mechanism for the GCP Baseline Coffee Code launches

GCP is set to launch a revised equivalence mechanism for the GCP Baseline Coffee Code (BCC) to transparently expand and welcome additional sustainable coffee sourcing schemes from across the coffee value chain.  The newly revised GCP BCC Equivalence Mechanism is an innovative building block to support continual increases of sustainable coffee purchases across the industry.

A fundamental principle supporting GCP’s vision for a thriving, sustainable coffee sector is to continually increase the demand for and supply of sustainably produced coffees. This is why in 2016 GCP created the Equivalence Mechanism, building on the GCP Baseline Coffee Code (BCC), acting as a supportive foundational framework for various sustainable sourcing schemes that met baseline criteria for coffee sustainability then expressed by the GCP Baseline Coffee Code. 

In the five years since the original Equivalence Mechanism publication, there has been an urgency for sector wide transformation. According to Gelkha Buitrago, Director Programs and Corporate Partnerships, the approach to sustainability has evolved and there are now new approaches including outcome based and continuous improvement models in addition to the more classic compliance-based models. There is also increasing recognition that common measurement frameworks and collective action are needed to drive systemic change.

While recognizing and supporting the pioneer role that certification-like sustainability schemes have in advancing sustainable production and consumption, the updated version of the GCP Equivalence Mechanism (EM 1.2) is designed to accommodate a wider range of sustainability schemes, both private and public sector in a credible way.

The updated version is based on a year-long research process — compiling best practices and interviewing stakeholders on their sourcing schemes. A two-month beta testing phase with four private schemes refined the approach and provided the basis for this updated interim version of the Mechanism. The Baseline Coffee Code is also currently under review and once this has been published, the GCP Equivalent Mechanism will follow.

“Sourcing schemes that meet at least baseline sustainability through the Equivalence Mechanism can be recognized by GCP as being equivalent to the Baseline Coffee Code and are also eligible to be included in the GCP Roaster and Retailer Reporting on Sustainable Coffee Purchases,” says Buitrago.

“Our hope is that by rallying our GCP Members from roaster and retailer side to increase sustainable sourcing from diverse origins, and to transparently share information about their sustainable purchases through the reporting in an aligned way, there are more incentives for coffee producers to take up [at least] the baseline sustainable practices defined in the GCP BCC.”  

Schemes currently recognized include 4C, Certifica Minas, Fairtrade, Rainforest/UTZ, C.A.F.E Practices and Nespresso AAA. With the updated GCP Equivalence Mechanism, there is a now a chance to expand this list of recognized schemes.

Let’s continue the conversation:

Join GCP on 18 November 2020 – 15:00 CET

GCP will host a virtual meeting that will offer additional information and a Q&A session for – and with – interested stakeholders, especially scheme owners, to dive deeper into the Equivalence Mechanism and recognition process ahead of the next rounds of GCP Roaster & Retailer Reporting.


For more information regarding the GCP Equivalence Mechanism or GCP Baseline Coffee Code,
please contact:  

Gelkha Buitrago

Director Programs and Corporate Partnershipsemail me

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