Citing systemic sustainability issues, three huge players in the commodity coffee world have formed an alliance to develop “farmer-centric” approaches for the sector’s long-term health.
With its intergovernmental representation historical oversight of the International Coffee Agreement, the London-based ICO represents the public branch of the partnership, while “entry-level” certifier 4C, based in Bonn, Germany, represents the private branch. IDH, based in The Netherlands, is a facilitator of large-scale public/private partnerships, as well as a provider of targeted producer support programs. The group is behind the Sustainable Coffee Program, and its partnerships have included some of the world’s biggest food, textiles and certification brands.
Interesting here is not that these three groups have decided to collaborate — each has a vested interest in the long-term productivity of the sector — but that they have announced their intention to take a farmer-focused approach. The groups say they will immediately begin preparing a “roadmap for facilitating dialogue needed between key coffee stakeholders in order to identify priority needs of coffee farming communities and to develop funding sources and action plans.”
The overarching goal, they say, is to cost-efficiently scale existing sustainability initiatives and “fill gaps towards collective impact in the coffee sector.”
“This alliance builds on the enormous potential that public-private cooperation has to promote economic growth, reduce inequalities and improve living standards in coffee producing countries,” the groups jointly announced this week. “Central to its development is a strategic framework for collaboration and action among key public and private coffee stakeholders at a national and international level.”
A report from the Faitrade Foundation suggested that recent large- and small-scale PPPs have under-represented or even ignored input from smallholder farmers, stressing the need for deeper understanding of the farm-level issues that affect stakeholders throughout the supply chain. We’ll closely follow this very macro-level PPP is it develops.