GCP in conversation with Juan Esteban Orduz – Thoughts of an outgoing GCP Board Member

A reflection on GCP’s progress through conversation with long-serving Board member, Juan Esteban Orduz.


This month we bid farewell to long-serving GCP Board Member, Juan Esteban Orduz. He spoke to Carlos Brando, GCP Board Chair, on the growth of GCP over his tenure, the speed and amplification of sustainability efforts and his hope for the platform in the coming years.

In an interview between GCP’s Carlos Brando and outgoing GCP Board Member Juan Esteban Orduz, the two coffee stalwarts reflected on Orduz’s tenure, which covered a particularly key period for the newly created Global Coffee Platform. “This was the period when, with your help, GCP developed and came to its current stage with Collective Action Initiatives, the Coffee Sustainability Reference Code and the Snapshot on Sustainable Coffee Purchases”, said Brando, adding GCP’s new goal and strategy to the list of sustainability assets developed during his tenure.

Orduz reflected on the early days of the platform’s formation, having been with GCP in its previous incarnation, seeing it evolved into the unique multistakeholder platform it is today. “We knew what we wanted; we know that we wanted to work for the coffee value chain – for coffee producers – particularly when we knew we wanted to work for sustainability and to make coffee more sustainable and the farmers more sustainable, and especially economically sustainable. It was a question of trying to start to put things together and get things to land on the ground.”

For Orduz and the board, the work in the countries and development of relationships, processes and tools would take time, and learning how to work with different actors from across the coffee value chain in a precompetitive environment would also be new, but exciting territory.

“It’s been not always easy, but with a lot of the right people with it; I want to say their hearts and their minds in the right place, and they will work toward the systemic sustainability of the coffee value chain and the wellbeing of coffee farmers,” said Orduz.

“It is very, very powerful the way GCP has been able to sit everybody at the table and to have a dialogue where people with lots of different interests and different priorities and different places in the chain have been able to talk to each other and to move ahead certain initiatives.”

When asked about what he was most proud of, Orduz said it was not possible to single out one moment. Instead, Orduz believes the highlight of the journey has been the process:

“The ability of GCP to be able to sit everybody at the table and find a common ground, a conceptual common ground for the discussion, for the conversation, and find also common ground on a path ahead to achieve the goal that GCP wants to achieve. So it’s a process.”

He said the ability to have open and frank conversations in a space where competition is not a concern was “truly excellent”.

“That’s what GCP is about, is to bring the different actors in the coffee agribusiness together to advance sustainability.”

Looking to the future, Orduz said he expected GCP to be a “significant part of building the structure that will allow farmers to prosper.” Because GCP convenes the sector, the work of GCP 2.0 will be to expand this and to be the place for common conversation.

Orduz, who will continue his work heading up the World Coffee Producers Forum and in his role at the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia (FNC), sees the organizations working to create the structure for prosperity for coffee growers. “We’re looking forward to working with GCP in the near future and for the years to come.”

Carlos Brando thanked Juan Esteban Orduz for his valuable work as a GCP Board member and his leadership role in the evolution of the organization. GCP is happy to count on the continued support of FNC as an active GCP Member and the positive relationship with the World Coffee Producers Forum as we advance GCP 2.0 and our shared goal of transformational change on farmer prosperity for more than one million farmers in more than 10 countries by 2030.