Melanie Rutten-Sülz, the Executive Director of the Global Coffee Platform (GCP), says the International Coffee Organization (ICO) will join its board in September and that the GCP and ICO are holding a series of workshops in coffee producing countries throughout July. She has also announced that she is moving on from her role at the 4C Association and the GCP.
“With the co-creation of the Global Coffee Platform, a new era of sustainability in the coffee sector has indeed begun. An era where the responsibility is shared by everyone, where farmers and their families are at the centre of a common agenda and its efforts in implementing it, and where a coordinated and aligned approach sees a more efficient use of resources,” said Mrs Rutten-Sülz.
“It has only three months since the 4C Association’s membership decided to open a new chapter in our joint sustainability journey and join forces with the Sustainable Coffee Program to build on our achievements and scale our impact at farm-level and throughout the sector. Since then, many members and partners of the Global Coffee Platform, the new board and the two Secretariats have all been working tirelessly to bring the organization to a ready state where members can begin benefitting from the valuable services offered.
“In preparation for the first Membership Assembly on 5 October 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland, the board held a third meeting in mid-June. The ICO will join the Global Coffee Platform board as an official observer as of September, and the GCP and the ICO will co-host a series of Vision2020 consultation workshops in coffee producing countries throughout July. The input collected from these workshops – priorities, strategies and goals at national level – will be aggregated, aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals, and presented to a forum of international public and private stakeholders in September 2016 to collectively set a common actionable agenda at both national and international levels.”
Mrs Rutten-Sülz said the GCP’s framework is advancing steadily – it aims to transparently track individual and collective progress via common metrics to measure impact, allowing for continuous improvement to guide the coffee sector on its sustainability journey. “Our partnership with the Sustainable Coffee Challenge is further developing under the framework of Vision2020,” she explained. “The two work-streams considered most important by the membership – Climate Smart Agriculture and Gender & Youth – are becoming more tangible through establishing long-term partnerships with existing initiatives and broadening the collaboration with other stakeholders and members. The online portal, a key tool that will help us do all of this, is being built for the members and piloted at the membership assembly in October. It will become a one-stop shop for all GCP Members to learn and exchange – whether through participating in the various work-streams and working groups, discussion forums, accessing and sharing the many valuable tools and information resources, or discovering funding opportunities.”
Mrs Rutten-Sülz said the positioning and role of the Baseline Common Code and its transition towards a global baseline reference is progressing, whilst the procedure to approve other organizations to operate the Baseline Common Code is under development. “This progress towards building the Global Coffee Platform and its capacity to achieve its vision of a sustainable coffee sector is a result of the tremendous commitment, contribution and investment by the many members and partners of the 4C Association and the Sustainable Coffee Program over the past 10 years,” she said, “as well as many other sustainability initiatives in the coffee sector.”
Mrs Rutten-Sülz said that, with what she described as “a new era of the coffee sector” beginning, after a decade as Executive Director of the 4C Association and helping to establish the Global Coffee Platform, she is moving on. “I believe it is the right time and the right moment to move on. With a board full of key sector experts, an active and expansive membership, and a soon to be completed business model, the Global Coffee Platform is in prime shape to welcome a new captain, for which a public search process will start in July, to lead the organization into the next stage of this journey and facilitate our collective action,” she said.
The Global Coffee Platform’s Director of Sustainability Innovations, Annette Pensel, will be assuming the role of Interim Executive Director until new leadership is in place.