Coffee voluntary standards systems a study of the states of Minas Gerais and São Paulo
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In order to adapt to new markets, the coffee supply chain has gone through numerous changes during the last years, which led to the creation of the voluntary standard systems. Adopting a Voluntary Standard System (VSS) consists of becoming a member of a certifier or verifier, in which an independent third party sets specific criteria to ensure a product complies with standards. Yet, the segment is still relatively new and raises some doubts about the economic and financial advantages of investing in sustainability-related certification. This study analyzes the perception of coffee producers about VSS – whether it brings economic benefits. The literature review covers various VSS in the coffee sector, the brief history of the commodity in Brazil, as well as the description of the supply chain. Certified and non-certified producers in the States of Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais, answered questionnaires to indicate the perceived advantages of certification. The results show that, despite some added value that certification can bestow, the quality is what really matter, since it allows producers to sell the product at higher prices and to gain advantage over competitors.