Starbucks Tops Up Ethical Global Sourcing With $30 Million Investment

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Starbucks keeps modeling an ethically sustainable brand with a global vision. The company just upped its commitment to sustainability with an additional $30 million as part of its Global Farmer Fund program.

The fund was started in 2008 with $20 million distributed across lending organizations including Root Capital and the Fairtrade Access Fund. That financing has positively affected more than 62 cooperatives in eight countries delivering benefits to 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 isn’t done,” said Craig Russell, EVP Global Coffee for Starbucks, in a press release. “This new investment demonstrates how we remain steadfast in our support of farmers around the world. 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.”

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The $50 million Global Farmer Fund is a cornerstone of Starbucks global sourcing program, which buys coffee from more than 30 countries. This year, the coffee giant verified that 99 percent of its coffee is ethically sourced.

“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,” stated Dr. M. Sanjayan, EVP and Senior Scientist for Conservation International. “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.”

The Starbucks ethical sourcing program includes a network of six farmer support centers around the world in Rwanda, Tanzania, Colombia, China, Costa Rica and Ethiopia as well as purchase of a farm in Costa Rica to serve as a global agronomy center.

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“Longer-term investments are a necessary ingredient in the recipe for sustainability,” said Daniele Giovannucci President COSA Committee on Sustainability Assessment. “When well-managed, such funding can make a difference in the resilience and effectiveness of farmers and their co-ops or organizations. Starbucks’ expanded investment demonstrates a commitment to shared value and a shared responsibility for sustainable coffee.”

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