GLOBAL COFFEEPLATFORM

GCP Equivalence Mechanism

Ensuring schemes meet the Coffee Sustainability Reference Code

The GCP Equivalence Mechanism is an innovative building block to support continual increases in the purchase of coffee produced following baseline principles and practices of sustainability.

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 (Coffee SR 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 SR 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. Aligning efforts and using a common language allows the coffee sector to better understand sustainability and identify which schemes meet at least baseline practices of sustainability in a credible and effective manner.

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.

For the assessment of the sustainability schemes, GCP partners with the International Trade Centre, which, as GCP implementation partner, assesses 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.

Depending on their assurance model they are classified as GCP Coffee SR Code equivalent 2nd Party or 3rd Party assurance.

In total, 16 sustainability schemes are currently recognized by GCP (see table below). Two schemes have been recognized as equivalent – 3rd party assurance and 15 schemes as equivalent – 2nd party assurance. They are all eligible to be included in the GCP Collective Reporting on Sustainable Coffee Purchases.

SUSTAINABILITY SCHEMES
CURRENTLY RECOGNIZED BY GCP EQUIVALENT TO THE COFFEE SR CODE


It is important to note that while all of the below sustainability schemes have been independently assessed as meeting the requirements of the GCP Equivalence Mechanism 2.0, – creating a common baseline understanding of sustainability – they are different, developed for different purposes and by different stakeholders. 

Depending on their assurance model these sustainability schemes are classified as GCP Coffee SR Code equivalent 2nd Party or 3rd Party assurance. 

Other key differences include chain of custody models, transparency, and stakeholder engagement in the system. GCP Members, especially roasters and retailers using sustainability schemes as part of their sourcing strategies should use the GCP recognition of equivalence to the Coffee Sustainability Reference Code as a starting point for their own due diligence.


SUSTAINABILITY SCHEMES
CURRENTLY RECOGNIZED BY GCP 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

Exportadora de Café Guaxupé’s Guaxupé Planet

Louis Dreyfus Company’s Responsible Sourcing Program Advanced

Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program

Neumann Kaffee Gruppe’s NKG BLOOM and NKG Verified

 ofi’s AtSourceV and AtSource+

Racafé’s CRECER

 3E® by RGC Coffee

Sucafina’s IMPACT

Volcafe’s Volcafe Verified and Volcafe Excellence

What does it mean to be Equivalent 2nd or 3rd Party? 

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.

2nd Party assurance is often referred to as verification and 3rd party assurance is often referred to as certification. The main differences between these two levels of assurance are that 3rd Party assurance:

i) 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
 ii) the scheme is not managed or owned by the certificate holder, audit firms, or buyer. 

The Equivalence Mechanism in your language.

Portuguese
Bahasa Indonesia
Vietnamese

The EM at a glance

3

Governance Criteria

4

Standard-setting Criteria

10

Assurance Criteria

6

Data Criteria

4

Claims Criteria

Governance
Criteria

G1 Sustainability Outcomes
G2 Transparency
G3 Complaints and Appeals

Standard-setting
Criteria

SS1 Transparency: Sustainability Criteria
SS2 Transparency: Standard Setting
SS3 Stakeholder Engagement
SS4 Consistent Interpretation

Assurance
Criteria

A1 Fit forpurpose
A2 Assessment Methodology
A3 Continuous Improvement
A4 Remediation
A5 Group Assessment
A6 Assurance Providers/Evaluators’ Performance
A7 Exceptions
A8 Impartiality and Conflictsof Interest
A9 Chain of Custody
A10 Traceability

Data
Criteria

D1 Data management
D2 Transparency: Performance Insights
D3 Data Quality
D4 Data Governance
D5 Performance Reporting
D6 M&ESystem

Claims
Criteria

C1 Defined Rules for Claims
C2 Monitoring
C3 Substantiation of Claims
C4 AssuredClaims

Webinar
catch up

Catch up on the launch webinar where industry voices discussed the Equivalence Mechanism revision, its broad consultation and its potential application to drive coffee sustainability.

Follow the conversation between:

  • Aimee Russillo (Partner, Liseed Consulting)
  • Flavia Barbosa (Exportadora Guaxupé)
  • Gelkha Buitrago (GCP Director of Programs and Corporate Partnerships)
  • John Schulter (Chair GCP Technical Committee)
  • Marcelo Burity (Nestlé)
  • Mathieu Lamolle (International Trade Centre)
  • Olivier Laboulle (LDC)

Archive: GCP Equivalence Mechanism 1.2

If you are interested in older versions of the mechanism, you can access them here: GCP Equivalence Mechanism 1.2

Contact

For more information regarding the Equivalence Mechanism, or if you are interested in submitting your sustainability scheme for assessment, please contact: info@globalcoffeeplatform.org

GCP Secretariat

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