Slow Food HQ, September 30, 2022 – Press Release
Barely a year and a half since its launch, the Slow Food Coffee Coalition has already achieved significant results.
Eight Slow Food Communities have 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 Nilgiris 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) involves creating a second-party certification model for geographically close producers and external actors who share a set of jointly defined standards, norms and common procedures, with at least one coordinating body, a common logo and clear consequences for non-compliance. The Slow Food Coffee Coalition believes that no existing certification system is perfect, but that the best kind of certification is based on trust and collaboration and does not burden producers financially, as third-party certifications can.
Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) are therefore models for quality guarantee that involve local communities in a direct relationship with producers, who collectively ensure that shared production standards are respected.
When the Slow Food Coffee Coalition was officially launched in April 2021, its 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 from these first 17 months of activity speak for themselves, with 29 new Slow Food Communities linked to coffee production established 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. Applying blockchain to 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 Slow Food board member Dali Nolasco Cruz. “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:
- PGS Manual: Everything you need to know about what a PGS initiative is, how it works and what you need to set one up.
- Guidelines for Good, Clean and Fair Coffee and the Coffee Coalition Pledge: Written by the members of the Coffee Coalition, this document outlines the general rules for the production of good, clean and fair coffee. The pledge is signed by participants to show their commitment to the guarantee process.
- Guarantee Sheet:The checklist that, based on the production guidelines, gives an overview of the different elements and the questions to be asked during peer reviews at the farms.
- How to read the checklist:A guide that explains how the checklist works and how to complete it.