The European Coffee Federation (ECF) represents the European green coffee trade, coffee roasting industry, soluble coffee manufacturers and decaffeinators.
It was founded in 1981 to represent the joint interests of the coffee trade and roasting industry. The companies affiliated to the ECF represent a total import volume of about 40 million bags, or half of the world trade volume. Its main body is the Council which consists of all members. All major policy decisions are taken on this level. The day-to-day management is in the hands of the ECF Executive Committee. The ECF has a number of committees and working groups to discuss specific topics. It is involved in a wide range of issues, ranging from transport and logistics to terminal market matters and from standard coffee contracts to sustainable agriculture.
There are many contacts with sister-organisations in coffee consuming and producing countries as well as with organisations like the International Coffee Organisation
The way coffee companies conduct their business is increasingly governed by European Union legislation. To name but a few: import duties, food safety, labelling, environment, packaging waste. The ECF keeps track of new legislation, defines the position of the coffee sector and maintains contacts with the European Union institutions.
Coffee is one of the major export products for developing countries and the well-being of the international coffee market therefore has an impact on the lives of many people involved in its growing, trading and manufacturing. Furthermore, coffee is widely consumed and a very “visible” product. In combination these two factors mean that coffee is often a focal point of political debate on development issues and relationships between developed and developing countries. The ECF contributes to these debates with factual information and it represents the interests of the trade and industry towards EU officials, the International Coffee Organisation and Non Governmental Organisations.
Coffee has to travel a long way from the grower to the roaster or soluble coffee manufacturer and to get the right product in the right place at the right time is an everyday challenge. The ECF Logistics Committee has regular meetings with the major coffee carrying shipping lines on subjects like changing trade patterns, port infrastructure, quality of containers and Tracking&Tracing.
The trade in green coffee is facilitated if a shipment is bought and sold under the same conditions of sale. These define in a balanced way the responsibilities of seller and buyer in respect of – for instance – notification periods, insurance, force majeur and arbitration. The ECF Contracts Committee publishes and maintains four major standard coffee contracts that form the basis of the specific contract between buyer and seller. These are included on this site.
A large volume of coffee is traded on the futures markets of London (Euronext/LIFFE
) and New York (ICE
). The functioning of these markets is of great importance for the global coffee community. The ECF Terminal Markets Committee monitors developments, identifies options to improve the functioning of the futures markets and maintains close contacts with the respective operators.
ECF publishes an annual European Coffee Report with basic information on European trade and the national markets of its member associations. The European Coffee Report is issued each summer (only in electronic format). See ‘publications’ on this site for the latest issue and the archive of previous issues.
Coffee is grown in over fifty producing countries and consumed all over the world. The coffee sector is a truly global community and the ECF maintains excellent working relationships with its sister-associations in many growing and consuming countries, for instance on EU legislation affecting the exportation of green coffee or coffee products. The ECF also monitors developments in global organisations like Codex Alimentarius, FAO, WTO and ISO and contributes to discussions whenever opportune.
Within the ECF membership every imaginable sustainability initiative is covered, both systems with many participants such as (in alphabetical order) the 4C Association
, Fair Trade
, Rainforest Alliance
and Utz Certified
and company specific activities like for instance Nespresso AAA
and Starbucks C.A.F.E.
practices. The ECF aims to obtain recognition of the variety of sustainability systems in the political debate and in – for instance – public procurement.