Over one year after its launch, the Slow Food Coffee Coalition has achieved significant results.
Eight Slow Food Communities have already implemented a Participatory Guarantee System: the Slow Food Bio Cuba Café Frente Oriental Community in Cuba, the Slow Food Minoyan Murcia Coffee Network Community in the Philippines, the Slow Food Café Resiliente El Paraíso e Las Capucas Sustainable Coffee Village Community in Honduras, the Slow Food Nilgirs Coffee Coalition in India, the Slow Food Bosque, Niebla y Café Xalapa Community in Mexico, the Slow Food Café Sustentable Villa Rica Community in Peru and the Slow Food Mt. Elgon Nyasaland Coffee Community in Uganda.
A Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) consists of the creation of a second party certification model for geographically close producers and external actors who share the following core pillars: a set of commonly defined standards and norms, a set of common procedures, at least one coordinating body, a common logo and defined consequences for non-compliance. The Slow Food Coffee Coalition believes that no existing certification is perfect and flawless, but it does prefer a certification based on trust and collaboration that does not burden producers financially, as is the case of third-party certifications.
Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) are therefore models of quality-guarantee that involve local communities in a direct relationship with producers, who collectively ensure the respect of shared production standards.
When in 2021 the Slow Food Coffee Coalition was officially launched, the first objective was to unite the many actors within the coffee chain, from growers to consumers via roasters and distributors. Founded by Slow Food and the Lavazza Group, it is also supported by its main partner De’Longhi.
The numbers for these first 17 months of activity speak for themselves: 29 new Slow Food Communities linked to coffee production in nine countries around the world: Cuba, the Philippines, Honduras, India, Malawi, Mexico, Peru, East Timor and Uganda.
Another significant innovation has also been introduced: blockchain, a traceability system that makes it possible to securely record every step along the production process. The blockchain coffees make it possible to verify the information provided about the raw materials and their processing during every phase of the production process, from cultivation to the consumer’s cup. This useful tool is available to anyone who wants to learn more and make conscious consumption choices.
“Providing the tools to empower farming communities and connect them to consumers is pivotal to sustainable food systems. Participatory Guarantee Systems and the blockchain are game changers” says Dali Nolasco Cruz, Slow Food board member. “PGS and the blockchain combine the best of relationships of trust with innovative technology at the service of local communities and people, not multinationals. These tools already changed the lives of the farmers using them, allowing them to gain leverage and new possibilities. These new possibilities translate into better livelihoods for local communities and families.”
Useful Materials about PGS Certification System
- PGS Manual: all the information about what a PGS initiative is, how it works, and what documents are needed.
- Guidelines for Good, Clean and Fair Coffee and pledge:written by the members of the Coffee Coalition, they outline the general rules of production for a Good, Clean and Fair Coffee. The pledge is the document that the participants sign to show their commitment toward the process of guarantee.
- Guarantee Sheet:The checklist that, based on the production guidelines, gives the overview of the factors and the questions to be asked during the peer reviews at the farms.
- How to read the checklist:A guide that explains how the checklist works and how to fill it.