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Global Coffee Platform (GCP)

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Global Coffee Platform

The Global Coffee Platform is a multi-stakeholder sustainable coffee platform working towards a thriving, sustainable sector. It has three functions:

  1. The Global Platform provides an enabling environment for members to collectively define a shared vision, act on national priorities, closely cooperate with governments, improve the effectiveness of sustainability programs, and contribute to greater impact at farm level.
  2.  The GCP-baseline (Baseline Common Code) is a set of principles and practices describing minimum level for green coffee production and processing.
  3. The Sustainable Progress Framework provides the coffee sector with the means to collectively report, measure and compete on sustainability efforts to drive improvements beyond the baseline.


Scope of the GCP-baseline

  • The GCP-baseline describes the multi-stakeholder agreement on the minimum level of practices for green coffee production and processing.
  • The role of the Baseline Common Code is to become a global reference for the entire coffee sector. It aims to underpin national sustainability strategies and can be taken up by other actors at both national and international levels. It also can be used to measure performance within the Global Progress Framework.
  • The Global Coffee Platform is the custodian of the Baseline Common Code and is responsible for defining, maintaining and revising periodically its content and common rules for its implementation.


The Baseline Common Code and its Principles

The baseline sustainability approach of the Baseline Common Code enables coffee producers around the globe to embark on their sustainability journey. The inclusive nature of the Baseline Common Code aims to reach out to producers who are currently not participating in the market for sustainable coffee and bring them into compliance with a basic level of sustainability. The intention is to gradually raise the social, economic and environmental conditions of coffee production and processing worldwide.

In order to achieve this, the Baseline Common Code comprises:

  • 27 coffee-specific principles based on good agricultural and management practices as well as international conventions and recognized guidelines accepted in the coffee sector and;
  • 10 Unacceptable Practices which have to be excluded. 2 principles applicable to pesticides (3.2, 3.3).

Aimed condition:


  • Pesticides in the GCP-baseline Red List are not used. Pesticides in GCP-baseline Yellow List are avoided if possible. Use of all pesticides is minimized as provided by evidence of records and IPM replacements.

Acceptable (baseline or minimum) condition

  • An integrated pest management – IPM- system is being developed: farmers monitor their crop for pest, weeds and diseases and are aware of preventive measures and potential control techniques which are not chemical.


  • Pesticides in the GCP-baseline Red List are not used. Pesticides in the GCP-baseline Yellow List may be in use.


The Global Coffee Platform aims to foster safer work places and better living conditions through its GCP-baseline as a global reference for baseline sustainability practices. It therefore includes three (3) lists of pesticides (listed as technical names of active ingredients) in its GCP-baseline. The lists are divided into Unacceptable pesticides, Red Listed pesticides and Yellow Listed pesticides, taking into account the following considerations:

  • The Global Coffee Platform takes as its key technical and scientific references the Highly Hazardous Pesticide List by Pesticide Action Network (PAN HHL) International (June 2014 version) as the key reference for hazard criteria used in its pesticide lists. The GCP-baseline serves as a global reference and aims to be aligned with those of Fairtrade, the Sustainable Agriculture Network (Rainforest Alliance) and UTZ Certified.

Selection criteria used for the GCP-baseline Pesticide Lists

The GCP-baseline Pesticide Lists are based on two selection elements:

  • Hazard criteria: acute toxicity for humans; chronic health hazards; environmental hazards; and pesticides in relevant international agreements on managing hazardous chemicals.
  • Alignment criteria in relation to the status of pesticides on the lists of other relevant standards (RA SAN; Utz; and FLO).

Unacceptable Pesticides of the GCP-baseline are listed under the following international agreements:

  • Annex III of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
  • Annex III of Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent (PIC)
  •  Montreal Protocol on Ozone Depleting Substances

The use of any pesticide or Severely Hazardous Pesticide Formulation on any of these international agreements is an Unacceptable Practice in coffee farms for GCP-baseline equivalent coffee.

Criteria for the Red List:

HAZARD: Pesticides in any one of the 3 most acutely toxic classifications via ingestion, skin contact or inhalation:

  • Extremely hazardous’ WHO class 1a according to the World Health Organisation Recommended Classification of Pesticides by hazard;
  • ‘Highly hazardous’ WHO class 1b according to the WHO Recommended Classification of Pesticides by hazard;
  • ‘Fatal if inhaled’ H330 hazard statement according to the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for classification and labelling of chemicals.



  •  ALIGNMENT: Pesticides (with Red List hazard characteristics) which are prohibited[1], or proposed to be prohibited in forthcoming revisions by two or more other standards

The use of active ingredients listed in the Red list is a practice with a maximum phase out period of three years for Equivalent schemes. This means that Producing Entities are expected to stop their use within 3 years at the latest, replacing them with safer IPM methods.

Criteria for the Yellow List:

  ALIGNMENT: Pesticides with Red List hazard characteristics but excluded from the Red List because they are prohibited by only one or no other standard.

HAZARD: Pesticides with chronic hazards in the classifications of:

  • Cancer hazard: Probable carcinogens: The second highest concern classifications, equivalent to ‘probable or likely carcinogen’, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the Globally Harmonized System (GHS),


  •  Endocrine disruptors, (EDC) according to GHS and EU classifications. These substances can upset the hormone signalling systems in humans, with effects on normal development, growth, reproduction, metabolism and links to cancers of the reproductive organs. OR Known or presumed human reproductive toxicants, (REPRO) according to the Globally Harmonized System (GHS). These substances can adversely affect human reproduction.


  • Known mutagenic substances (MUT), according to the Globally Harmonized System (GHS). These are known to trigger mutations in human germ cells (eggs or sperm) which can be inherited by the children.


HAZARD: Pesticides with one or more of the environmental hazards featured in the PAN HHP List (bioaccumulation, persistence, high toxicity to bees or aquatic organisms):

  • Very persistent in water, soil or sediment (=P), according to the Stockholm Convention.
  •  Very bio accumulative (=B), according to the Stockholm Convention. These substances build up in the food chain, affecting top level predators, including humans.
  • Very toxic for aquatic organisms (=T), according to water flea toxicity threshold data used in the Pesticide Properties Database (University of Hertfordshire).
  • Highly toxic for bees, according to toxicity threshold data of US Environmental Protection Agency.

Note that to qualify in the PAN HHP List for environmental hazards, a pesticide must meet two of the three criteria for P/B/T and/or be highly toxic for bees.


ALIGNMENT: Pesticides with Yellow List hazard characteristics which are prohibited, restricted, monitored or on the proposed watch-list of one of the other standards or which meet the hazard criteria for the restricted, monitored or watch-lists of other standards

To ensure alignment with other standards, any pesticides which have Red hazard criteria BUT which are not prohibited by 2 or more other standards are allocated to the Yellow List. These pesticides are indicated in the columns “Acute Toxicity” and “Known Carcinogens”. To see the details of their hazard criteria, please look at the PAN HHP List (June 2014 version).

As a better practice (green criteria), Producing Entities are expected to minimised the use of Yellow List pesticides and, if possible, phased out their use completely by replacing them with Integrated Pest Management (IPM) alternative methods.


For further information, please contact the Global Coffee Platform: isaza@globalcoffeeplatform.org.

[1] Prohibited by a standard, except for any permitted derogations. Restricted, monitored or watch lists are not considered as prohibitions. Sources for standards used were: SAN draft 2014, UTZ draft 2013, FLO version 2012.

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