Monitoring visits of the Starbucks "One Tree for Every Bag" program in the Huehuetenango region of Guatemala.

Starbucks + Conservation International

For 20 years, Conservation International has been on an amazing journey with Starbucks to ethically source their coffee around the world.

© Starbucks




Together, we have created a new way to produce coffee: one that is sustainable, transparent, and good for people and the planet. Since 2015, Starbucks has verified 99% of their coffee as ethically sourced, making them the largest coffee retailer to reach this milestone.

And who benefits? Partners like the Gitesi coffee farm (left) in Rwanda, a farm run by – and for – women. Gitesi is one of thousands of farms verified by Starbucks C.A.F.E. Practices for its sustainable farming practices.

But there is always more to do. Starbucks is committed to 100% ethically sourced coffee, and Conservation International is a proud partner in this effort.​

Our role

Stemming from the work at origin ​with coffee farmers – by introducing communities to the emerging forest carbon market, to creating farmer loans, to the C.A.F.E. Practices program – Conservation International and Starbucks continue to innovate within the coffee sector. Together, we are sparking an industry-wide movement to make coffee the first sustainable agricultural product in the world.

© Starbucks

By the numbers

99% of Starbucks’ coffee

Starbucks has verified 99% of their coffee as ethically sourced through C.A.F.E. Practices

COMING SOON: 2014-2018 assessment

Screen Shot 2019-08-27 at 9.42.10 AM
© Cristina Mittermeier

Designing digital traceability to benefit coffee farmers

Conservation International partnered with Starbucks to identify the benefits of digital traceability and determine how best to design such programs.

Our team conducted a series of field visits to interview cooperatives, washing-station managers, farmers and additional key stakeholders.

Screen Shot 2019-08-27 at 9.42.10 AM
© Conservation International/photo by Miguel Ángel de la Cueva

Assessing Impact

This impact assessment – covering 2011 through 2015 – enables better understanding of how the C.A.F.E. Practices coffee supply to Starbucks is changing from year to year. Over a million coffee farmers on four continents have benefitted from the program.



Conservation International and Starbucks are working together to support the people and rich ecosystems of coffee growing regions.

Origins Experience trip for CI and Starbucks employees visiting coffee-growing farms in Sumatra, Indonesia
© Conservation International/photo Joanne Sonenshine

Ethical coffee sourcing practices

Conservation International and Starbucks joined forces to develop buying guidelines for ethical coffee sourcing.

C.A.F.E. Practices guidelines help farmers grow coffee in a way that's better for both people and the planet. Through ongoing monitoring and evaluation of our joint initiatives we are able to measure program performance, identify new challenges and opportunities and determine how best to expand our support for global coffee growing communities.

Chiapas, Mexico
© CI/Miguel Ángel de la Cueva

The Sustainable Coffee Challenge

In December 2015, with the Starbucks Company as the founding partner, and with support from 18 initial partners, Conservation International launched the Sustainable Coffee Challenge, a sector-wide effort to make coffee the world’s first sustainable agricultural product.

The Challenge is a pre-competitive collaboration of partners working across the coffee sector, united in developing a shared framework for helping governments, businesses and other actors understand how they can contribute to making coffee the first sustainable agricultural product. It is focused on stimulating demand for sustainable coffee across the value chain. In 9 months, the Coffee Challenge has grown to a diverse coalition of over 100 partners from across the coffee sector from retailers, traders, governments, donor agencies and other NGOs – united by a sense of urgency and shared commitment to ensuring the long-term viability of coffee.

Since the launch of the Sustainable Coffee Challenge, Starbucks is the leading partner in the Challenge, continuing to push the boundaries of the sector and strive to reach their commitment of 100% ethically sourced coffee. Starbucks is involved in all four of the Challenge’s action networks - mapping and monitoring of coffee and forest, coffee farm renovation and rehabilitation, improved labor practices and labor supply, scaling up sustainable coffee sourcing - the company is leading the way on to make coffee the world’s first fully sustainable agricultural product.


Follow Starbucks’ Journey to 100% Ethically Sourced Coffee



More programs

Coffee farmer Martiniano Moreno Alvarado looks at hybrid coffee tree at Jaltenango, Chiapas, Mexico coffee tree nursery.
© Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks

100 Million Trees Commitment

In April 2017, Starbucks announced that it will ensure that 100 million healthy coffee trees get into the hands of coffee farmers that need them by 2025.

This effort is part of the company’s ongoing commitment to provide comprehensive support to farmers around the world. Providing healthy trees to farmers in coffee-growing regions makes existing farm lands more productive and keeps us from expanding into forests.

It also contributes to the industry wide goal announced by The Sustainable Coffee Challenge to replant 1 billion coffee trees, to ensure positive outcomes for both productivity and the environment.

This Starbucks 100 million trees commitment builds on the successful One Tree for Every Bag campaign (September 2015 through June 2017) launched to help farmers whose crops were affected by coffee rust, a plant fungus that has damaged millions of trees around the world.

Through this campaign, Starbucks contributed to Conservation International for every bag of coffee sold at participating stores in the U.S. Conservation International in turn made grants to seedling nurseries that provided new rust-resistant coffee trees directly to farmers in El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico.

Conservation International is working with Starbucks and the administrator of the nurseries to monitor the safeguards put in place to ensure fairness and compliance.

A seedling is shown at ECOM's Jaltenango, Chiapas, Mexico coffee tree nursery.
© Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks

Establishing a net-positive-impact coffee origin in Oaxaca, Mexico

In September 2016, Conservation International and the Starbucks Foundation joined forces to design and implement net-positive-impact coffee origin demonstration that delivers and quantifies positive outcomes for coffee farmers, communities, and water conservation in Oaxaca, Mexico. The project defines a new model for origin-based investments within the coffee sector. Conservation International will be focusing on revitalizing the shade management systems to support productivity as well as wildlife conservation and food and income diversification.


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