General Announcements

German Ministry Puts Coffee at the Top of the Sustainability Agenda

Putting coffee at the top of the sustain­ability agenda: German Federal Ministry for Economic Coöperation and Development signs coöper­a­tion with the Global Coffee Platform

Berlin, Germany: Global Coffee Platform (GCP) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Coöperation and Development (BMZ) have signed a Joint Declaration of Intent demon­strating a long-term commit­ment to posi­tively impacting the liveli­hoods of coffee farming commu­ni­ties and their ecosys­tems, and ulti­mately foster a sustain­able, thriving coffee sector.

The chal­lenges of low incomes and climate change
The coffee sector faces a wide range of serious chal­lenges, ranging from low produc­tivity and price volatility to the costs of adapting to climate change. These chal­lenges often make coffee a rela­tively unprof­itable crop to grow, and have driven young people away from coffee farming. This also threatens future supply of coffee, putting the ubiq­ui­tous routine of a deli­cious morning cup of coffee at risk.

The coöper­a­tion between GCP and the BMZ will enable the coffee sector to tackle these crit­ical issues together with local govern­ments in coffee producing coun­tries. It will also seek to pilot new and inno­v­a­tive approaches to sustain­ability tailored to each country as well as increase trans­parency through a sector wide progress measure­ment tool. All activ­i­ties are designed to align and contribute to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Dr Gerd Müller, the Minister for the BMZ:

"Coffee is the most popular drink in Germany. So for coffee in partic­ular, we finally have to show that we are serious about making glob­al­i­sa­tion fair. 90 per cent of the coffee consumed in Germany is not produced sustain­ably. So we still have a long way to go. Low wages on coffee plan­ta­tions, child labour and forest degra­da­tion char­ac­terise the begin­ning of the produc­tion chain. So it is time to increase the share of fairly traded coffee in Germany, too. After all, we can start each day with a cup of coffee that gives a family in Africa or Latin America a better future."

$350 million invested into coffee sustain­ability annu­ally

Fortunately, the public and private sectors both acknowl­edge that inter­ven­tion is needed to make sure that farmers can earn a decent liveli­hood and ecosys­tems are protected. More than $350 million is invested annu­ally into sustain­ability activ­i­ties in the coffee sector each year, but it is essen­tial to work together to make sure this money is invested effec­tively and improves the situ­a­tion at farm and commu­nity level.

By publicly step­ping up to the many chal­lenges the coffee sector faces, the German govern­ment has made coffee a priority area and this move leaves the door open for further govern­ment action and commit­ments among coffee consuming coun­tries.

Annette Pensel, Executive Director of GCP:

“Today is an impor­tant step in our journey to make coffee the world’s first sustain­able crop. The support, resources and exper­tise the BMZ will bring to the sustain­able coffee move­ment are a real asset, and will have a tangible impact on the lives of coffee farmers around the world, and we hope this will inspire further action by other public and private actors.”

Achim Lohrie, from Tchibo:

“As a company, we have been working to make coffee more sustain­able for the last decade. However, we have also learned that not one company or sustain­ability initia­tive can alone tackle systemic prob­lems such as the effects of climate change, pres­sure on natural resources and low incomes. We can only achieve this through global align­ment and coör­di­na­tion – some­thing which this public-private coöper­a­tion between GCP and BMZ will enhance.”

The need for all stake­holders to work together is why public-private part­ner­ship lies at the heart of the Global Coffee Platform’s work. Together with its expan­sive member­ship of producers, civil society, trade, and industry, the Global Coffee Platform has already estab­lished strong coöper­a­tion at a global and national level with govern­ments in coffee-producing coun­tries, strategic part­ners such as IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative, and other sustain­ability projects to create a common set of prior­i­ties and agenda.

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