Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


coffee business opts for ethical bean supply

May 2008

Costa Coffee, the UK’s largest coffee shop chain, is to convert its entire coffee supply to ‘sustainably grown’ beans sourced from Rainforest Alliance-certified farms by 2010.

The company will use only farms that meet standards in areas such as pesticide use, worker safety, housing and access to clean water for employees, as well as education and medical care for workers and their families. The Rainforest Alliance is an international environment organization that has worked with a number of companies on improving conditions in their supply chain, most notably Chiquita.

The farms will be inspected at least once a year and must continue to show progress to remain in the scheme.

As a first step, from September at least 30 per cent of Costa’s Mocha Italia blend, which forms the base of its coffee drinks, will be sourced from Rainforest Alliance-certified operations in Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica and Guatemala, equal to about 1000 tonnes of green coffee in a year. Certified sources will then be found in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Vietnam.

Costa, part of the Whitbread group, has 700 outlets in the UK and 300 in 21 other countries. Marketing director David Hutchinson said the switch would ‘take time’ but had been agreed because the company felt it was right and because customers wanted it.Two years ago the company set up the Costa Foundation to support coffee growers through investment in education and access to clean water and sanitation.

The US-based Rainforest Alliance has become a popular partner for companies seeking to improve their supply chains’ social and environmental performance. McDonald’s and Unilever are among those that have signed recent deals to use its certification regime, for coffee and tea respectively.

Further Information

3BL Media News
Sign up for Free e-news
Report Alerts
Job Vacancies
Events Updates
Best Practice Newsletter