Market Reports

Global Coffee Platform’s Annette Pensel on building a sustainable coffee sector in 2022

Global Coffee Platform Executive Director Annette Pensel

Each year GCR invites industry leaders to share their hopes, fears and expectations for the year ahead, in what is expected to be one of rejuvenation and unity for the global coffee market.

At the end of 2020, a year full of challenges, we needed 2021 to offer us hope. Hope has been realised through a new vaccine, a new climate agreement, and in the coffee sector, a new – albeit temporary – relief from the coffee price crisis with the steep upwards trend in the market. 

At the same time, much-needed vaccines are not yet reaching the vulnerable communities. The climate pledges and deforestation commitments still need to be translated into impact. The rising, volatile coffee prices and underlying reasons such as adverse weather, lockdowns and logistical bottlenecks pose a huge challenge for many coffee producers and might translate into higher consumer prices. 

In terms of coffee sustainability, systemic challenges facing the coffee sector remain. The decade of delivery to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals provides a key opportunity to the coffee sector. It’s time to move from hope and small steps to big steps through collective action. Coffee is more than a beloved beverage. Sustainable coffee is a positive engine for economic and social development and the conservation of nature, and can even be a “natural climate solution”. 

How can we make significant progress towards achieving coffee farmers’ prosperity, social wellbeing and conservation of nature? How can we drive individual and collective action along with investments to make coffee growing an attractive option for the next generations and by that a great experience for consumers all over the world?

Through the likes of Global Coffee Platform’s (GCP) Collective Action Initiatives, stakeholders from across the value chain and public sectors are proving that collaboration with urgency is not only possible, but already impactful – be it on agrochemicals and glyphosate, or social-wellbeing and living income. It is encouraging to see GCP members stepping up their commitments to collective action on farmers’ prosperity in collaboration with Country Platforms, along with progress on responsible sourcing. 

Supporting this work, the newly revised Coffee Sustainability Reference Code provides a common language and empowers GCP Members, partners and the broader coffee sector to better align activities, inspire continuous improvement and accelerate individual and collective action. While this Reference Code addresses the beginning of the supply chain, downstream actors are expected to share the responsibility for sustainability. 

It is through leveraging each other’s strengths, that we have a real shot at a thriving and sustainable coffee sector. 

This article was first published in the January/February 2022 edition of Global Coffee Report. Read more HERE.

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