Seattle, WA/Arlington, VA – Conservation International (CI) and Starbucks Coffee Company (NASDAQ: SBUX) announced today a new phase in their decade-long partnership that will take conservation beyond coffee farms and into surrounding landscapes to address the most pressing environmental issue of our day – climate change. The five year commitment includes an initial investment over the first three years of $7.5 million, the majority of which will support projects in Mexico and Indonesia, contributing to positive global climate solutions through the protection of standing forests and restoration of degraded landscapes. Ultimately, Starbucks and CI hope to leverage their global scale to pilot such projects across all coffee growing regions – Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Latin America.
Through this five-year global commitment, Starbucks and CI will support communities to not only use best agricultural practices on their farms but also to protect the land, water and forests that surround and nurture the most important coffee growing regions in the world. This strategy will focus on reinforcing and expanding the potential of Starbucks ethical coffee buying guidelines, Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices to support farmer activities that keep carbon on the ground, protect important habitat for the world’s plant and animal species, and help farmlands become more resilient against what are predicted to be the devastating effects of climate change. Project activities may ultimately create an opportunity for farmers to diversify their incomes through access to emerging international carbon markets.
"The alliance between Starbucks and Conservation International is one of the first corporate engagements at scale to address the most pressing issue of our time – global climate change – by protecting forests," said Peter Seligmann, Chairman and CEO of Conservation International. "Our partnership engages one of the great corporations as well as coffee farmers around the globe in this battle to stabilize our planet’s climate. By stepping up this partnership we have aligned our existing work, geographies, and success to address this critical issue."
A primary activity across these project sites will focus on protecting and increasing tree and forest cover. Forests are our greatest assets in the fight against climate change. As well as being major carbon stores, tropical forests also are the richest storehouses of plant and animal species diversity, which is the foundation of natural ecosystems that regulate the global climate. These rain forests provide life-sustaining resources such as fresh water, food, medicines, and shelter to local populations, often the poorest of the poor.
The renewed partnership between Starbucks and CI will build off and continue to strengthen existing pillars of the historic Starbucks-CI partnership, including Verde Ventures and the C.A.F.E. Practices program. Starbucks has been a key supporter of CI’s Verde Ventures fund, which provides loans to businesses that can play a critical role in conserving biological diversity, such as sustainable coffee farmers. C.A.F.E. Practices are a set of environmentally, socially and economically responsible coffee buying guidelines. Over the course of their partnership, CI has been instrumental in the development of Starbucks C.A.F.E. Practices. The program is designed to build long-term relationships with suppliers of high-quality coffee who demonstrate excellent performance on sustainability criteria addressing issues such as healthy workplace conditions and conservation of natural ecosystems.
Activities around climate mitigation will be governed by the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) standards (climate-standards.org), one of the top recognized standards for designing land-management projects can deliver compelling environmental and sustainable development benefits in addition to combating climate change.
Aside from benefiting the farmer communities and the global climate, these investments in coffee-growing regions will help to ensure the ecological health of the coffee-growing landscape, as healthy, biodiverse forests provide vital services to agriculture, such as freshwater supply, natural pest control, pollination, and soil formation.
Conservation International (CI) applies innovations in science, economics, policy and community participation to protect the Earth's richest regions of plant and animal diversity in the biodiversity hotspots, high-biodiversity wilderness areas and key marine ecosystems. With headquarters in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, CI works in more than 40 countries on four continents. For more information about CI, visit www.conservation.org.