Starbucks expands $70m ethical sourcing programme in Costa RicaApril 2013
American coffee shop titan Starbucks is ramping up its ethical sourcing programme with a new farming research and development centre in Costa Rica. The move forms part of the company’s ongoing billion-dollar commitment to ethically sourcing 100 per cent of its coffee by 2015.
Starbucks plans to adapt a current 240-hectare working farm, located on the slopes of the Poas Volcano, into a global agronomy centre. This will enable the company to expand its Coffee and Farming Equity practices (C.A.F.E.), the ethical sourcing model developed in partnership with Conservation International.
The new centre will also influence the development of coffee varieties based on the insight offered through soil management processes. This work could offer significant advantage in the development of future blends, says the company.
“This investment, and the cumulative impact it will have when combined with programmes we have put into place over the last forty years, will support the resiliency of coffee farmers and their families as well as the one million people that represent our collective coffee supply chain,” said Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman, president and ceo. “It also opens up an opportunity for Starbucks to innovate with proprietary coffee varietals that can support the development of future blends.”
In total, Starbucks has invested more than $70m in collaborative farmer programmes and activities over the past 40 years, which include C.A.F.E. practices, farmer support centres, farmer loans and forest carbon projects. All of these integrated programmes directly support improving farmer livelihoods and a long-term supply of high-quality coffee.
The new facility will build on the work currently happening at five Starbucks farmer support centres. These are located in Rwanda, Tanzania, Colombia, and China – as well as the brand’s first farmer support centre which opened in San Jose, Costa Rica in 2004.
“The convergence of climate change and ecosystem deterioration creates stress on the ability of farmers to produce crops. The work of Starbucks over the last several years to address many of these issues facing coffee producers is very impressive,” said Peter Seligmann, chairman and CEO of Conservation International. “The opportunity this continued investment brings will ensure the most innovative resources are brought to bear for sustainability and resilience across all farming communities.”
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