No 30

FNC’s Leadership is Confirmed at OriGin

December, 2015


FNC’s Leadership is Confirmed at OriGin

Having been elected as a member of the Executive Committee is another recognition of its good work and leadership in characterization, promotion and defense of Café de Colombia, for the benefit of the 100% brands and especially of coffee growers.

For years, the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) has played a leading role in the Organization for an International Geographical Indications Network (OriGin). This global alliance of Geographical Indications (GI) was established in 2003. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, and represents some 400 associations of producers and other GI-related institutions from 40 countries.

OriGin goals are to campaign for effective legal protection and enforcement of GIs at national, regional and international level, and promote GIs as a sustainable development tool for producers and communities.

On November 10, in Fortaleza, Brazil, this global organization held its 7th General Assembly, in which representatives of GI groups from all over the world gathered to review the activities carried out by OriGin in the last two years, renew its governing bodies and define the alliance’s strategy for protection and promotion of GIs at the global level in the next two years.

In this general assembly, the FNC was elected as a member of the Executive Committee, which represents another recognition of its good work and leadership in characterization, promotion and defense of the origin, as Luis Fernando Samper, FNC Chief Communications and Marketing Officer and Director of Intellectual Property, explains.

Why is OriGin important for the FNC and Café de Colombia?
OriGin is an organization devoted to strengthen the protection of origin and Geographical Indications around the world; thus it supports the FNC’s and Café de Colombia’s legal efforts to maximize this protection.

All famous Geographical Indications have the problem of imitation: third parties take inappropriate advantage of their reputation to sell lower-quality products that do not meet required standards; having a strong global organization, which is always working for the interests of GIs, is important.

To what extend is this designation a recognition of the FNC’s good work in defense of Café de Colombia?
Undoubtedly. The FNC and Café de Colombia are recognized in different regions for the work they have done in this respect: Café de Colombia is the first Colombian Denomination of Origin, the first non-European Protected Geographical Indication in Europe and the first foreign GI in Switzerland. This has inspired a great respect for our work on characterization, positioning and protection of origin.

In addition, not only is the FNC’s work recognized, but also our leadership in defending Colombian coffee growers’ collective reputation. That has become a benchmark on how other Denominations of Origin could work.

What does this designation imply for the FNC and Café de Colombia?
First of all it means having a strategic direction. We have proposed that the next step for origin promotion is involving sustainability issues as an additional element of differentiation of what a GI does in a given geographical region.

Secondly, it also means being a driving force of change so that laws in different countries increasingly favor respect for origin and rules and standards associated with quality.


What are the benefits of this designation for Café de Colombia and 100% Colombian Coffee brands?
In Europe, the negotiation of a revision of the Treaty of Lisbon on GIs has just ended and being around these negotiations enables to strengthen the presence of a GI in many other countries. By being part of OriGin, we have been involved in global negotiations that allow, through this Treaty, to register GIs in different countries through a single instrument, rather than going country by country. This is a practical example of how one can save money, be more efficient, to achieve a higher level of protection for Café de Colombia in many other countries by directly getting involved in negotiations through an organization such as OriGin.

To what extent does the FNC’s work set trends in differentiation and origin defense?

The FNC and Café de Colombia have led this work of differentiation for several reasons: we have developed regional Denominations of Origin and technologies for protection and defense. We have also fine-tuned our positioning narrative and our capacity to segment the Colombian coffee offer.

With new regional origins such as the Coffee Cultural Landscape, we are creating a much more complex and richer content, which fits the needs of sophisticated consumers.

We already have four regional Denominations of Origin: Nariño, Cauca, Huila and Santander. And the requests for protection of Tolima and Sierra Nevada as regional Denominations of Origin have already been submitted to the Superintendencia de Industria y Comercio (SIC), which is the competent authority in Colombia.

As a final note, it is important to remember that origin is a differentiating factor that will always play in favor of producers, and for that reason it constitutes an added-value strategy that is complemented with others, such as specialty coffees. Maintaining positioning and demand for the Colombian origin is desirable to increase coffee growers’ profitability, because, as we have always said, origin belongs to coffee growers and must be defended.




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