First sustainability schemes aligned with the Coffee SR Code recognized by Global Coffee Platform
GCP has announced the first sustainability schemes to be recognized as in line with the Coffee Sustainability Reference Code!
In the latest move to promote transparency and to drive the purchase of sustainable coffee worldwide, five sustainability schemes have been recognized as equivalent to the GCP Coffee Sustainability Reference Code, 2nd party assurance.
BONN, GERMANY (29 March 2023). In the latest move to promote transparency and to drive the purchase of sustainable coffee worldwide, the Global Coffee Platform (GCP) has recognized 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”
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.
Working collectively for coffee sustainability
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. These schemes join the group of leading sustainability schemes that have already been recognized by GCP as equivalent to the Baseline Coffee Code. In total, five schemes have been recognized by GCP as equivalent – 3rd party assurance and thirteen schemes as equivalent – 2nd party assurance. They are all eligible to be included in the upcoming GCP Collective Reporting on Sustainable Coffee Purchases.
All schemes that have been recognized as equivalent to 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. Applications are now open for additional schemes interested in being assessed.
“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 program. 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.”
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. 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.”
Giacomo Celi Mercon’s Sustainability Director.
“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.”
Carolin Ehrensperger Head of Sustainable Business Unit at NKG
“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.”
Liesbeth Kamphuis Volcafe’s Sustainability Director
List of schemes currently recognized by GCP
Equivalent 3rd Party to the Baseline Coffee Code
Starbucks’ C.A.F.E. Practices
Equivalent 2nd Party to the Baseline Coffee Code
ECOM’ SMS Verified
Enveritas ‘ Enveritas Gold and Enveritas Green
Exportadora de Café Guaxupé’s Guaxupé Planet
Neumann’s NKG BLOOM
ofi’s AtSource Entry Verified and AtSource Plus
Equivalent 2nd Party to the Coffee Sustainability Reference Code
Louis Dreyfus Company’s Responsible Sourcing Program Advanced
Neumann Kaffee Gruppe’s NKG Verified
Volcafe’s Volcafe Verified and Volcafe Excellence
What does it mean to be Equivalent 2nd or 3rd party?
For their recognition, GCP assessed the different sustainability schemes against the principles and criteria in the Coffee Sustainability Reference Code (and its predecessor the Baseline Coffee Code) and the operating practices that schemes should have in place to be considered credible and effective. Depending on their assurance model they are classified as GCP Coffee Sustainability Reference Code equivalent 2nd party or 3rd party assurance. 2nd party assurance is often referred to as verification and 3rd party assurance is often referred to as certification. The main difference between these two levels of assurance is that 3rd party assurance includes the oversight of an external body in all assurance activities of the organization that owns the scheme, this includes but goes beyond third-party audits at farm level.
The GCP Equivalence Mechanism is a framework developed by GCP to assess whether a scheme can be considered equivalent to the Coffee Sustainability Reference Code, 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 Process evaluates whether a sustainability scheme meets both the Code and a set of operational criteria (including governance, standard-setting, assurance, data and claims requirements). This helps to ensure that recognized sustainability schemes have a credible and effective system for implementation.
The Coffee SR Code provides sustainability stakeholders with a simplified and fit-for-purpose framework to foster better understanding of principles that support baseline sustainable coffee production. In addition, it addresses ongoing challenges in the coffee sustainability landscape as well as key emerging concerns such as climate change, or diversity, equity and inclusion. The Code provides the sector with a common language to collectively advance farmers’ prosperity, social well-being, and the conservation of nature. It is available in Bahasa, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
Through GCP Collective Reporting on Sustainable Coffee Purchases, roasters and retailers commit to collectively and transparently report their sustainable coffee purchases in the annual GCP Snapshot. These leading coffee companies apply aligned reporting metrics that illustrate leadership, achievements and progress to continually increase their purchases of sustainable coffees from diverse origins worldwide.