Starbucks Coffee Company expanded its commitment to supporting the specialty coffee industry by addressing one of the most significant threats to coffee farmers. Starbucks will distribute coffee trees to farmers who have been most impacted by coffee rust, a plant fungus that damages millions of coffee trees around the world, making it harder for farmers to produce high-quality coffee for the entire industry.
“Purchasing from more than thirty countries, Starbucks scale affords us the opportunity to bring customers the most unique, high quality coffee from around the world. It also gives us the responsibility to make sure we invest in tangible ways that help to ensure farmer livelihoods and the stability of the entire supply for the industry,” said Craig Russell, executive vice president, Global Coffee for Starbucks. “We have heard directly from farmers that helping them get new rust resistant trees will make the most impact. We are figuring out the way to do that while offering our customers an opportunity to get involved.”
Beginning in Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador, Starbucks will work with Sustainable Management Services (SMS), Starbucks partner in the export and delivery of green coffee, to successfully germinate the seedlings and distribute the trees. The distribution of each coffee tree will be supported by Starbucks Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices, developed over a decade ago with Conservation International to safeguard responsible purchasing practices and economic, social and environmental standards, globally. These sourcing standards are then augmented by Starbucks Farmer Support Centers that provide on-the-ground agronomy services. Today, Starbucks has six farmer support locations around the world and will add two more – one in Sumatra, Indonesia in 2015 and another in Mexico opening in 2016.