The Newest Chapter
In 2011, CI renewed its long term partnership with Starbucks Coffee Company, a key corporate partner since 1998. The scope of this new agreement brings together the work CI and Starbucks have done with coffee farmers around the world to promote coffee production practices that conserve biodiversity, maintain healthy ecosystems and support economic and social development in coffee production landscapes. The $3 million, two year renewed commitment allows CI and Starbucks to continue efforts to promote best practices in coffee growing as part of the solution to address climate change.
Starbucks also began featuring CI’s new logo on bags of whole bean and ground coffees from suppliers independently verified through the C.A.F.E. Practices program. Customers visiting Starbucks stores and other retail outlets in the U.S. can find the CI logo on bags containing Starbucks House Blend, Pike Place Roast, Sumatra, Espresso Roast and Morning Joe coffees, among others.
In 2008, Starbucks and CI launched a renewed agreement to address the most important issue facing our world today – global climate change. The same forests that produce the world’s best coffee and sustain millions of farmers also extract and store vast amounts of carbon dioxide. In fact, when they're destroyed, these forests release dangerous greenhouse gas into our atmosphere.
Healthy, productive forests are in everyone’s best interest, and they’re at the heart of this renewed partnership. In addition to shade-grown coffee, Starbucks and CI are now investing in and supporting communities across coffee-growing landscapes who engage in climate-friendly activities, including protecting existing forests and helping to restore degraded landscapes.
This next phase in our partnership with Starbucks moves beyond the coffee farm to surrounding landscapes, including private and government lands, to promote mutually beneficial forest conservation and the sequestration of carbon.
LEARN MORE: Coffee + Carbon (PDF)
"The alliance between Starbucks and Conservation International is an important step in reducing emissions from deforestation," said Peter Seligmann, Chairman and CEO of CI. "Our partnership engages one of the great corporations, their customers and coffee farmers in this battle against climate change. By stepping up this partnership we have aligned our existing work and success to address the most pressing issue of our time."
Starbucks is also a member of CI's Business & Sustainability Council – a community of companies committed to leveraging their business experience and resources to protect nature for the benefit of humanity – and the Asia-Pacific Business & Sustainability Council, for business leaders committed to implementing and promoting social, economic and environmental sustainability in the Asia-Pacific region.
What does a conservation organization have in common with a coffee corporation? Plenty, when you consider that most of the world’s key coffee-growing regions are the same areas where biological diversity is richest and most threatened – places we call the biodiversity hotspots. Today, threats to these landscapes and the natural resources within them – like coffee beans – are exacerbated by climate change, as rising global temperatures alter soil, rain, and other conditions.
As far back as 1998, we saw Starbucks as a natural partner to our work. The company sources its premium coffee from the very regions we work to preserve, including the small coffee farms in Chiapas, Mexico. At the time, many Chiapas farmers were already practicing the eco-friendly method of growing coffee in the shade of healthy forests. And their farms formed a natural protective buffer around some of the region’s most valuable habitats. In particular, they bordered El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve, a 300,000-acre Eden that’s home to wildcats, tapir, monkeys, and untold other species, all coexisting within the rich flora of cloud and rain forests.
Starbucks was quick to see the importance of protecting El Triunfo and similar areas worldwide that bordered prized coffee-growing farms. Together, we launched a three-year program encouraging coffee growers in Chiapas to continue their sustainable farming practices. In return, they received technical assistance from CI's field staff and Starbucks became a dependable buyer of the farmers' beans.
That initial collaboration quickly proved successful. Within a year, the number of farmers taking part in the Chiapas project increased by 30 percent. Some of them doubled their sales, and their average incomes jumped by 40 percent. At the same time, U.S. consumers enthusiastically embraced a new Starbucks brand: Shade Grown Mexico. In the years since, we have continued to work closely with Starbucks and community farmers in other parts of the world.
In 2003, CI and Starbucks joined forces again to design Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices – a set of environmentally, socially, and economically responsible coffee buying guidelines to drive all Starbucks purchases and support conservation at a new scale. They also further the company's commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of farmers and their communities.
By 2007, Starbucks was purchasing 60 percent of its coffee from suppliers who subscribe to C.A.F.E. Practices guidelines. And by 2009, the amount of coffee purchased by Starbucks under the C.A.F.E. Practices program increased to 81% or almost 300 million pounds.
LEARN MORE: C.A.F.E. Practices Results Assessment
Soon after the launch of C.A.F.E. Practices, CI and Starbucks worked to increase conservation capacity in the field through one of our innovative funding mechanisms – Verde Ventures. In 2004, Starbucks provided a $2.5 million direct loan to help capitalize this fund, which helps provide direct access to affordable credit for small-scale coffee producers.
Check-In for Charity!
Starbucks helped CI protect forests through a new Facebook tool. In 2010, Starbucks donated $75,000 to CI to protect 5,000 acres of forest because people 'checked-in' to participating Starbucks coffee shops using the new Facebook application.
Learn more about CI and Starbucks or visit the Starbucks website.