300 organizations agree to work together with governments towards a sustainable coffee sector

8 Mar 2016

The Global Coffee Platform launched in Addis Ababa marked the 4th World Coffee Conference. A new era of sustainability for the entire coffee sector with a public-private action agenda aimed at improving the livelihoods of coffee farmers worldwide!

At the 4th World Coffee Conference, the Global Coffee Platform presented Vision 2020, an inclusive public-private approach to achieve large scale sustainable impact. Sustainability has been on the radar of the coffee sector for the last 25 years. Building on the successes and experiences from the past, companies and other organizations now see a strong need for a more coordinated, pre-competitive approach. An approach that enables stakeholders to move beyond fragmented project by project investments towards greater impact, through more efficient use of resources. As a first step, over 30 of the biggest coffee organizations have already signed on to the Vision 2020 Call for Collective Action, an ongoing public commitment to demonstrate leadership by contributing to the common agenda of Vision 2020.

The newly formed Global Coffee Platform will drive this coordinated approach by aligning different initiatives and jointly setting a common agenda to address the sustainability challenges that undermine the coffee sector’s long-term prosperity. In close cooperation with the International Coffee Organization (ICO), the Global Coffee Platform with over 300 small and large coffee stakeholders will act as a Secretariat of Vision 2020 and coordinate the farmer-centric public-private alliance towards achieving collective impact.

The Global Coffee Platform merges the strengths and expertise of the 4C Association’s (4CA) multi-stakeholder membership platform and the successful pre-competitive (inter-)national programs of The Sustainable Trade Initiative’s (IDH) Sustainable Coffee Program (SCP).

The Executive Director of the 4C Association, Melanie Rutten-Sülz, states that “through coordinated collaboration of the private sector, civil society, producer organizations, governments and donor agencies, where sustainability is viewed as a shared responsibility, the Global Coffee Platform will enable a collective and systemic focus rather than individual short-term action – which will ultimately improve the resilience and livelihoods of coffee farmers around the world”.

The open and inclusive new organization will continue to lead the coffee sector towards long-term sustainability by facilitating three core functions:

  • A dynamic platform servicing and enabling members to define a shared vision and commitment, act on priority agendas and align themselves with sector-wide strategies such as Vision 2020
  • A Global Progress Framework to enable the sector to continually measure, report on and improve sustainability performance
  • A baseline reference code to underpin National Sustainability Strategies (NSCs) and act as a global reference in order to reach 100% of coffee production and touch more farming communities

According to Ted van der Put, Program Director and Member of the Executive Board at IDH, “with so many critical challenges such as low productivity, climate adaptation, GAP training, access to finance and inputs, and gender and youth issues, the Global Coffee Platform offers a unique opportunity for the coffee sector to work in a truly collaborative manner and jointly invest in programs that will achieve a greater impact than we currently have seen”.

All relevant stakeholders are therefore invited to sign on to the Vision 2020 Call for Collective Action and join the journey towards a truly sustainable coffee world.

The Sustainable Coffee Challenge, which provides a roadmap to track and push commitments from the coffee sector, and the Global Coffee Platform are currenty in close collaboration to find alignment on monitoring and impact reporting.

Background information on the Global Coffee Platform  

With overwhelming support by its membership at its 5th General Assembly, the 4C Association together with the Sustainable Coffee Program joined forces to build on their achievements and scale their impact, co-creating the Global Coffee Platform, a multi-stakeholder and pre-competitivly collaborative initiative, which will comprehensively work towards a thriving, sustainable coffee sector.   

To preserve the pre-competitive and non-commercial nature of the Global Coffee Platform, the verification operations, which were previously part of the 4C Association’s functions, will be assumed by an independent new company, Coffee Assurance Services as of April 2016.

The Global Coffee Platform will operate from 1st April, 2016 out of two satellite Secretariats in Bonn, Germany and Utrecht, the Netherlands. By 2017, the Global Coffee Platform will be fully operational to deliver vital and innovative services to its members and the coffee sector as a whole

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