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Volcafe Excellence

Creating deeper impact through the Volcafe RS Standard

Volcafe Excellence goes beyond the baseline with a focus on deeper impact and higher assurance.

Volcafe envisions a thriving, sustainable coffee business for all. Working through our sustainability strategy and our Volcafe Way farmer support programme, we continue moving toward that vision. Volcafe Excellence is another element of our commitment to make coffee business better, together.

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Volcafe Excellence is a designation for responsibly sourced coffees meeting the highest levels of the Volcafe RS Standard, going beyond the baseline achievements of Volcafe Verified coffees to create deeper impact. Volcafe Excellence is our flagship responsibly sourced coffee offering.

It continues a tradition of soundly sourced, carefully cultivated coffees which we used to call 'Volcafe Way coffees' since they came from producers who had implemented our renowned Volcafe Way practices at their farms. Volcafe Excellence extends on that experience, providing Volcafe Way support and guidance to coffee producers so that they can meet or exceed the emerging industry norms for sustainable production: over 50 sustainability criteria are inspected at each business partner and every farm in a Volcafe Excellence value chain. Where producers and partners need support to meet the requirements, our focus on continuous improvement and the technical advice provided through Volcafe Way field staff mean that gaps can be bridged.

Volcafe Excellence also offers customers a way to engage more deeply with responsible sourcing, through Volcafe's Sustainability Impact Services. In this optional add-on service, customers can collaborate with Volcafe to shape highly customised activities that drive change on some of the most pressing issues in coffee value chains – from living wages and incomes, to carbon action, to promoting gender equity and regenerative agriculture. Our Volcafe Way field teams bring the on-the-ground implementation capacity to enable scalable projects on one or more of these topics in Volcafe Excellence value chains.

Volcafe Excellence has been recognised by the Global Coffee Platform (GCP) as Coffee SR Code equivalent, 2nd party assurance (Equivalence Mechanism 2.0).

Volcafe Excellence: Creating deeper impact

Volcafe Excellence picks up where Volcafe Verified leaves off, building on the baseline to achieve even more economic, environmental, and social progress for coffee communities. Volcafe Excellence coffees must meet the Volcafe RS Standard's operational and sustainability criteria but also include more advanced requirements.

Volcafe Excellence promotes continuous improvement to secure a future for coffee producers

Through Volcafe Excellence, Volcafe works on a farm-by-farm basis to support farmers to secure their livelihoods and a future in coffee through the promotion of good business and agricultural practices, enhanced data collection and measurement, improved access to information and services, and tailored support to encourage continuous improvement.

Volcafe Excellence promotes environmentally sustainable coffee production

Volcafe Excellence coffees not only protect and conserve forests, biodiversity, and water sources while encouraging the sound use of water and energy, but also promote integrated pest management and climate resilience for farms and business partners.

Volcafe Excellence promotes responsible citizenship and safe work

When choosing a Volcafe Verified or Volcafe Excellence coffee, roasters and consumers opt for a coffee that actively seeks to prevent forced and child labour while promoting fair and safe working conditions for farmers, workers, and communities.

Beyond the benefits above, Volcafe Excellence takes an individualised approach
to go further than Volcafe Verified, offering additional advantages:

Volcafe Excellence provides agronomy training and support to coffee producers

In Volcafe Excellence value chains, Volcafe field teams implement the Volcafe Way agronomy programme through trainings, a network of model farms, and hands-on advice and diagnostics that help producers improve farm productivity, coffee quality, and the efficient use of resources.

Volcafe Excellence provides full traceability back to the farm

With Volcafe Excellence coffees, you can trace the coffee back to the specific farms where it was grown and harvested, offering further assurance of its sustainability and a deeper connection to the unique characteristics of these select coffees.

Volcafe Excellence provides robust assurance with a 100% inspection rate

With Volcafe Excellence, Volcafe field teams visit each farm and business partner involved in the value chain every year, meeting the producers, providing tailored support, and carrying out detailed inspections. If something's not right, our teams help build an individualised action plan to resolve the issues and improve for the future.

Volcafe Excellence: Specific details

Volcafe Excellence coffees will be available from the following origins later in 2023:

  • Arabica: Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Tanzania and Uganda.

Additional origins from our network will also join as we expand the coverage of Volcafe Excellence.

In Volcafe Excellence value chains, Volcafe offers traceability back to Farm level. Volcafe Excellence coffees are physically separated from non-Excellence coffees at all times by Volcafe and its Business Partners.

Producers sell their coffee directly to Volcafe, or through Business Partners.

Business Partners refers to intermediate processors, middlemen (traders), and cooperatives involved in coffee value chains within the Standard’s Geographic Applicability countries.

Volcafe Excellence uses a 100% inspection approach. In Volcafe Excellence value chains, all Producers, Business Partners and Volcafe operations are inspected every year against the applicable criteria of the Volcafe RS Standard using our multi-layer second party assurance model. 

In addition, independent third-party inspections can be arranged as a supplement to the second-party assurance model.

If Producers or Business Partners are falling short of the criteria, our focus on continuous improvement can often remedy the non-compliances. If critical non-compliances are found and no remedies are implemented within set time-frames, Producers and Business Partners can face suspension or expulsion from the programme.

Volcafe Excellence coffees can be identified by using the Volcafe Excellence logo or – on large coffee bags – the Volcafe Excellence bag seal. These symbols signify that the coffee has met the stringent requirements for Volcafe Excellence status under the Volcafe RS Standard.

Volcafe Excellence logo and bag seal

As Volcafe is a green coffee trader and supplier, consumers should be aware that they are unlikely to see either of these symbols on the products they buy in stores and cafes, though Volcafe Excellence coffees may be the basis for statements around responsibly sourced coffee.

Roasters may choose to use the Volcafe Excellence logo on their products, but are requested to inform the Volcafe Marketing team of their intent to do so by emailing marketing@volcafe.com. Volcafe also monitors the use of the Volcafe Excellence logo by our customers, ensuring it remains a trusted symbol of the work involved in meeting the criteria of the Volcafe RS Standard.

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