UK government minister Mark Spencer said the move shows the UK will continue its drive ‘for new standards of sustainability for our coffee’
The agreement signed by MP Mark Spencer, alongside ICO Executive Director Vanusia Nogueira | Photo credit: ICO
The UK government has signed the International Coffee Agreement 2022 in a bid to drive sustainability, resilience and inclusivity within the global coffee industry.
Established in 1962 to regulate global coffee prices, the International Coffee Agreement invites dialogue from 75 coffee producing and importing nations, representing 98% of world coffee production and 67% of world consumption.
The agreement was signed on behalf of the UK by MP Mark Spencer, who works within the government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), alongside representatives from the ICO and the British Coffee Association (BCA).
The ICO said the UK’s signature was particularly poignant given its London headquarters and the UK’s role as a key coffee importer.
UK consumers drink approximately 98 million cups of coffee every day, according to the BCA.
“I’m honoured to sign the International Coffee Agreement on behalf of the UK. We may be known for our tea, but we Brits drink almost 100 million cups of coffee every single day, worth around £5bn ($6.2bn) per year to the economy, with the industry employing thousands of people around the country. This international treaty champions the industry globally, and I hope the UK can help continue its drive for new standards of sustainability for our coffee,” said Mark Spencer, MP.
The International Coffee Agreement 2022 is the eighth iteration of the agreement and the first in its 60-year history to introduce private sector participation into its decision-making process.
ICO Executive Director Vanusia Nogueira said the agreement would enable the whole coffee supply chain can improve conditions for farmers and tackle the most pressing issues facing the industry, including the climate crisis and low farmer income.
“The signature of the new International Coffee Agreement by the UK opens a new chapter in our relationship with our host country. We are confident that today’s signature will contribute to bringing together coffee farmers in producing countries with industry and consumers in the UK. Today’s signature is only the beginning. Much challenging work lies ahead. I look forward to working with you to advance the coffee sector and to shape a successful future that is truly sustainable, resilient and inclusive,” she said.
In March 2023, the Council of Ministers of Saudi Arabia approved plans for the Kingdom to sign the International Coffee Agreement, highlighting the Kingdom’s ambition to become a major coffee trading and producing hub in the Middle East and globally.