Seattle / WA. (sc) Starbucks Coffee Company announced an additional commitment of 30 million USD as part of its Global Farmer Fund program, one aspect of the company’s comprehensive ethical sourcing initiatives that help ensure the sustainability of the specialty coffee industry. This investment is the continuation of an initial 20 million USD commitment made in 2008, and distributed in collaboration with leading lending organizations such as Root Capital and the Fairtrade Access Fund. To date, this financing has impacted more than 62 cooperatives in eight countries benefiting more than 40’000 farmers.
«In 2015, we have achieved a number of milestones across our ethical sourcing initiatives but we know that the work is not done. This new investment demonstrates how we remain steadfast in our support of farmers around the world», said Craig Russell, executive vice president of Global Coffee for Starbucks. «By providing access to capital, farmers have the ability to make strategic investments in their infrastructure, offering the stability they need to manage ongoing complexities so that there is a future for them and the industry».
Starbucks first farmer loan investment was in 2000 with Root Capital (formerly known as Ecologic Enterprise Venture) for a project in the El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve in Chiapas, Mexico. This work helped establish a revolving line of credit focused largely on short-term financing for farmer cooperatives. Today, farmer financing has evolved to include medium- and long-term investments in order to help provide the necessary stability to manage climate variables by supporting agronomy, restoration and infrastructure improvements. This work directly influences coffee quality, sustainability and overall profitability for the entire specialty coffee industry.
«Starbucks has always understood the importance of investing in coffee farmers offering access to credit and financial management training. Farmers who receive loans from Root Capital are able to increase their livelihoods and become more reliable and resilient suppliers by improving environmental protection, crop yields, and product quality; thereby becoming more reliable and resilient suppliers. Together, we will make an even greater difference in the lives of coffee farmers and their families across Africa, Asia and Latin America», said William Fulbright Foote, Founder and CEO of Root Capital.
The 50 million USD Global Farmer Fund aligns to Starbucks global sourcing strategy which includes purchasing coffee from more than 30 countries worldwide and offered to customers in single origin, blend and small-lot programs and beverages. Later this week, the first allocation from the Global Farmer Fund will be announced as part of a collaborative effort led by the IFC and other organizations.
In 2015 Starbucks verified 99 percent of its coffee as ethically sourced. For over 15 years, Starbucks has worked with Conservation International to design a rigorous set of methods to ensure environmental and social best practices are used in growing and processing coffee. To date, more than a million farmers and workers on four continents have benefited by participating in Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E) Practices. In addition, Starbucks ethical sourcing program includes a network of six farmer support centers around the world (Rwanda, Tanzania, Colombia, China, Costa Rica and Ethiopia) as well as the purchase of a farm in Costa Rica acting as a global agronomy center.
«Starbucks ability to achieve the milestone of ninety-nine percent of its coffee being ethically sourced is a reflection of their ability to bring the right people and organizations together in support of a common goal of sustainability. Only through a collective approach that provides farmers with access to information, tools and financing will we be able to transition coffee – the most widely traded tropical agricultural commodity on Earth – to becoming the first sustainably produced commodity», said Dr. M. Sanjayan, Executive Vice President, Senior Scientist for Conservation International (Imgage Source: Starbucks).