GLOBAL COFFEEPLATFORM

More sustainability schemes align with the Coffee Sustainability Reference Code

Five more sustainability schemes have been recognized by the GCP as equivalent to the Coffee Sustainability Reference Code

BONN, GERMANY (7 July 2023). Five more sustainability schemes have been recognized by the Global Coffee Platform (GCP) as equivalent to the Coffee Sustainability Reference Code (Coffee SR Code), another push from the platform to drive critical sector alignment to the principles and practices of coffee sustainability.

GCP announced today the recognition of 4C and the Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard as equivalent to the Coffee SR Code, 3rd party assurance, and ECOM’s SMS Verified, Enveritas’ Enveritas Green and Sucafina’s IMPACT as equivalent to the Coffee SR Code, 2nd party assurance. The number of sustainability schemes fully recognized by GCP now amounts to 19, further expanding the critical mass to advance and accelerate coffee sustainability.

Sector alignment for coffee sustainability

Since GCP released the Equivalence Mechanism (EM) 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 Coffee Platform “applauds the action by these GCP Members to step up and align their sustainability schemes through the Coffee SR Code and GCP Equivalence Mechanism.”

“This commitment to the use of a common language and the increasing openness to transparency is a critical feature to understand, advance and accelerate 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.

“The recognition of 4C as Coffee SR Code equivalent, 3rd party assurance, reinforces our position as a reliable and comprehensive 3rd party certification system and strengthens our commitment to collaborating with the coffee sector to advance sustainability.

GCP’s EM and the Coffee SR Code are crucial for providing a common language and a recognized framework for coffee sustainability. We are dedicated to continuing working closely with GCP to create a more sustainable future for coffee.”

Norbert Schmitz
Managing Director, 4C Services

“As active members of the GCP Board and Technical Committee, the GCP recognition of the Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard as Coffee SR Code equivalent, 3rd party assurance, is vital to affirm our commitment to coffee sustainability.

It helps enhance our credibility and reputation with stakeholders, fostering collaboration and partnerships. This recognition strengthens our dedication to the sector, motivating us to diligently advance coffee sustainability, promote more responsible practices, and contribute to the industry’s long-term well-being.”

Miguel Gamboa
Sector Lead Coffee at the Rainforest Alliance

”The recognition of SMS Verified as Coffee SR Code equivalent – 2nd party assurance, gives independent confidence to our buyers that SMS Verified provides a credible and viable sustainable solution.

The recognition that SMS Verified has achieved will provide greater sourcing opportunities for roasters who see supply chain integrity as key to their own sourcing needs and reporting requirements, thus supporting ECOM’s SMS agronomists to broaden the inclusion of farmers into our SMS program.”

Sue Garnett
Director Sustainable Business Programme, ECOM

“GCP and Enveritas share a common aspiration to improve the livelihoods of coffee farmers, and protect the environment for future generations. We are committed to working together with other coffee organizations, such as this collaboration with GCP to align on sustainability standards.

Developing a sustainable coffee industry is a journey not a destination and will require supporting smallholder farmers facing economic pressures while simultaneously addressing environmental challenges.”  

David Browning
CEO, Enveritas

“We are proud that Sucafina’s IMPACT program has been recognized by GCP as equivalent to the Coffee SR Code, 2nd party assurance. GCP equivalence provides credible, independent validation that IMPACT includes global social, economic, and environmental standards that drive positive, measurable change in key areas of coffee sustainability.

GCP equivalence also supports our ambition to create a fairer, more resilient, and more transparent coffee industry by investing in farmers, caring for people, and protecting our planet.”

Suzanne Uittenbogaard
Sucafina’s Group Sustainability Program Manager

SUSTAINABILITY SCHEMES
CURRENTLY RECOGNIZED BY GCP


EQUIVALENT TO THE
BASELINE COFFEE CODE

3rd PARTY
ASSURANCE

Certifica Minas

Fairtrade

Starbucks’ C.A.F.E. Practices

2nd PARTY
ASSURANCE

Enveritas ‘ Enveritas 
Gold

Exportadora de Café Guaxupé’s Guaxupé Planet

Nespresso AAA

Neumann’s NKG BLOOM

ofi’s AtSource Entry Verified and AtSource Plus

EQUIVALENT TO THE
COFFEE SR CODE

3rd PARTY
ASSURANCE

4C

Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard

2nd PARTY
ASSURANCE

ECOM’s SMS Verified

Enveritas’ Enveritas Green

Louis Dreyfus Company’s Responsible Sourcing Program Advanced

Mercon’s LIFT

Neumann Kaffee Gruppe’s NKG Verified

Sucafina’s IMPACT

Volcafe’s Volcafe Verified and Volcafe Excellence

All sustainability schemes recognized by GCP are eligible for roasters and retailers to be included in the annual GCP Collective Reporting on Sustainable Coffee Purchases, another way companies are aligning and increasing transparency 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.

The summary report of the 2022 Collective Reporting on Sustainable Coffee Purchases will be published late August and discussed during a global webinar on 12 September 2023.

This is the second round of sustainability schemes that GCP announces as equivalent to the Coffee SR Code. By October 2023, all schemes that have been recognized against previous versions of the EM, will need to have been assessed under the GCP Equivalence Mechanism 2.0. Until then, all sustainability schemes listed are fully recognized by GCP.


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 independent oversight of the competency of the entity performing the assessments/audits to ensure effectiveness and impartiality, this includes but goes beyond third-party audits at farm level.   

What is the GCP Equivalence Mechanism?

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.

What is the Coffee Sustainability Reference Code (Coffee SR Code)?

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.

What is GCP Collective Reporting on Sustainable Coffee Purchases?

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.

Interested in reporting? Contact GCP to start now!

Start the GCP Equivalence Mechanism Process
Gelkha Buitrago

Director Programs and Corporate Partnershipsemail me