Ensuring a responsible and dignified production for all the links involved in the coffee production chain makes sustainability one of the indispensable pillars of coffee farming. Attentive to the concerns of the Brazilian and international markets, the Guaxupé Regional Coffee Growers Cooperative - Cooxupé has developed the "Generations" Protocol, which presents guidelines and levels that involve both the cooperative and its members.
The project, above all, understands that economically sustainable production only occurs in harmony with the environment, with the members, their families, and their employees. "The protocol was designed with the consumer of the future in mind, who is engaged with good practices in the market and whose decisions are based on sustainability," explains Cooxupé's ESG manager, Alexandre Vieira Costa Monteiro.
With the Generations Protocol, Cooxupé and its more than 17,000 members are committed to adopting the best practices to ensure resilience, further improve working conditions on the farms, and consequently ensure production based on social responsibility.
To this end, the Sustainability Protocol presents requirements and commitments that must be met by both the cooperative and its members, which vary in production size, geographical location, experience, objectives, activities, and resources.
This translates into an economic balance for the producer, who traces the socio-environmental actions to guarantee productivity, market, traceability, remuneration for quality, cheaper credit, supply of inputs, and, also, technology.
Through "Generations", the cooperative aims to serve everyone, regardless of their differences, to achieve the highest level of sustainability possible. And there are four levels that are part of the sustainability process:
LEVEL 1: Sustainability Aware
LEVEL 2: Engaged in Sustainability
LEVEL 3: Practicing Sustainability
LEVEL 4: Excellence in Sustainability
All these levels bring together a set of requirements. In this sense, the cooperative members must comply with the minimum sustainability commitments (Level 1), increasing such commitments in order to progress to the other levels.
This way, everyone will reach the top at some point, Cooxupé's ESG manager says. "In this protocol, there are also requirements for Cooxupé to give the cooperative all the necessary support to evolve, implement sustainability and reach the final goal of reaching Level 4, which is the highest level of excellence in sustainable practices," adds Monteiro.
Aligned to the market
The cooperative model itself is sustainable because it is made by people for people. Moreover, it allows the inclusion of small producers so that they become protagonists of this sustainable development, with the proper support from the cooperative.
And with the growing market demand from cooperative members, regardless of the size of the property and production, Cooxupé's board of directors decided to externalize the benefits through the protocol.
In this sense, the commercial superintendent of Cooxupé, Lúcio de Araújo Dias, points out that, aware of the movements of the world coffee market, the cooperative extends this need for process improvement to the cooperative members.
"We want to show the producer what he needs to do to produce this sustainable coffee. We want to bring all the members and coffee producers that are around us to produce a coffee that creates attributes and makes the consumer want to buy this coffee. This is the great challenge," emphasizes Dias.
Generating actions for future generations
The superintendent also emphasizes that the name of this program reflects the engagement of producers who produce responsibly, thinking about future generations.
"This is the main focus of 'Generations': generating actions for people to do their best. The name of this program is Brazilian and strong to tell the world that we know what to do and how to do it in order to produce a very high-quality product with great responsibility. All of this comes from the new consumer who expects us to do more than is necessary," he concludes.
Development of the protocol
The Sustainability Protocol "Generations" was developed by Cooxupé with the support of SCS Global Services ("SCS"), a global certification body with over 40 years of experience in environmental, sustainability, and food quality issues.
As a guarantee of the transparency and credibility of the process, the cooperative and its members will be regularly visited and submitted to a third-party verification process to ensure the adherence and evolution of the producers according to the different levels of sustainability, as well as to verify Cooxupé's commitment to supporting its members.