GCP Equivalence Mechanism

The GCP Equivalence Mechanism is an innovative building block to support continual increases of sustainable coffee purchases across the industry.

A critical enhancement process

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, 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. 

While recognizing and supporting the pioneer role that certification-like sustainability schemes have in advancing sustainable production and consumption, the version of the GCP Equivalence Mechanism (EM 1.2) issued in October 2022 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.

For their recognition, GCP assessed the different sustainability schemes against the principles and criteria in the GCP 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 Baseline Coffee Code equivalent 2nd party or 3rd party, the latter includes the oversight of an external body in the assurance activities of the organizations/company that owns the scheme.   

List of schemes recognized as GCP Baseline Coffee Code

Equivalent 3rd party
4C, C.A.F.E Practices, Certifica Minas, Fairtrade and Rainforest/UTZ

Equivalent 2nd party:
 ECOM’s SMS Verified, Enveritas ‘ Enveritas Gold, Nespresso AAA, Neumann’s NKG BLOOM, and
Olam’s AtSource Entry Verified and AtSource Plus.

Equivalence Mechanism Revision

Building on the recent publication of the Coffee Sustainability Reference Code (previously known as Baseline Coffee Code) the Equivalence Mechanism will be updated to reflect the changes in the newly revised Code, as well as to consider system aspects (Operational Criteria) that  reflect good practices and users’ expectations of credible schemes.

GCP invites its members and any interested stakeholders, including organizations and companies whose schemes have been recognized as equivalent to GCP or have interest in this process in the future, to provide input during the consultation phase that is planned for March-April 2022.

Want to know more?
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For more information regarding the GCP Baseline Coffee Code,
please contact:  

Gelkha Buitrago

Director Programs and Corporate Partnershipsemail me

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