Updated May 2022
As a company that buys three percent of the world’s coffee sourced from more than 400,000 farmers, Starbucks knows our success — and that of the industry at large — is directly linked to the success of the people who produce our coffee and the land on which it grows.
We are committed to sourcing coffee responsibly, for the betterment of both people and the planet. Starbucks® coffee has been verified as nearly 95 percent ethically sourced. While we are constantly striving for 100 percent, it is that last gap where some of our most important work happens — bringing on new farmers and cooperatives to help ensure the long-term future of coffee.
In addition to our ethical sourcing program for purchasing coffee, we are focused on providing holistic support to farmers and their communities to ensure a sustainable future of coffee for all. We have invested more than $150 million to date to increase the prosperity and resilience of the farmers and workers who grow coffee around the world by investing in coffee communities, sharing technical coffee knowledge, and innovating with new agricultural approaches.
Our industry-leading, open-source approach takes many forms:
- C.A.F.E. (Coffee and Farmer Equity) Practices — C.A.F.E. Practices is the cornerstone of the Starbucks approach to ethical sourcing. Developed with Conservation International, these guidelines provide comprehensive social, environmental, and economic criteria that if followed, can help sustain and strengthen communities that grow coffee while maintaining Starbucks high-quality standards, now and into the future. Evidence shows that farmers participating in the program have higher productivity than the country averages.
- Coffee Research & Development - In 2013, Starbucks purchased Hacienda Alsacia, a 240-hectare coffee farm in Costa Rica, to serve as a global research and development facility. Here a team of experts in farming and agronomy are creating and testing new tools and techniques and developing the next generation of hybrid coffee trees – all designed to help farmers around the world grow coffee in a more sustainable and efficient way.
- Open-Source Agronomy — Starbucks operates nine Farmer Support Centers, allowing agronomists and quality experts to work alongside farmers, sharing tools and information to help them increase the productivity and quality of coffee on their farms, with an eye toward improving their livelihoods. This support is available to all, so farmers in coffee communities around the world can come to our Farmer Support Centers and get advice whether they sell to Starbucks or not. In 2020, we reached our goal of training 200,000 coffee farmers to improve the long-term sustainability of their crops.
OUR GOAL (accomplished): Train 200,000 coffee farmers by 2020 to help improve the long-term sustainability of their crops and their livelihoods through Starbucks Farmer Support Centers and other innovative efforts
“Providing healthy trees to farmers in coffee-growing regions makes existing lands more productive and keeps us from expanding into forests. We’re proud to stand alongside Starbucks in this long-term endeavor to ensure that both livelihoods and nature around the world are vibrant and healthy.”
— Dr. M. Sanjayan, executive vice president and senior scientist at Conservation International
- Healthy Coffee Trees — Starbucks has donated nearly 50 million coffee trees over the past five years to farmers in Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador. These disease-resistant trees are replacing those that are declining in productivity due to age and disease, such as coffee leaf rust. This effort is a continuation of our open-source approach to agronomy – sharing our research with the industry and farmers, regardless of whether they sell coffee to us.
OUR GOAL: Provide 100 million trees to farmers by 2025 as part of a commitment to one billion coffee trees through the industry-wide Sustainable Coffee Challenge.
- Investments in Farmers & Ethically Sourced Coffee — We consider the whole picture for coffee farming communities, from short-term support including pricing premiums and secondary payments, to long-term support with investments across the supply chain.
- Buying Practices That Support Farmer Livelihoods — Starbucks pays premiums above commercial market price. These premiums are driven by the fact we buy coffee that’s premium-quality and verified as ethically sourced by C.A.F.E. Practice standards. We also pay additional premiums to reward supply chains that show continuous improvement across C.A.F.E. Practices. And, we require economic transparency in all contracts, ensuring that we know how much of the price we pay for green coffee gets to farmers. As much as possible, we finalize coffee purchasing contracts years in advance, which reduces volatility for everyone and helps foster long-term relationships with farmers and suppliers. We don’t have a one-size-fits-all pricing structure, but we tend buy coffee through “long-term price fixed” and “price-to-be-fixed” models, each of which feature price premiums above commercial market prices. The advantage of the first contract model is that sets a price in advance and provides price predictability. The second contract model can be of advantage to the seller when prices are increasing over time; it allows Starbucks and the seller to first agree on a premium to pay over commercial market prices, and then the seller chooses when to fix the price.
- Emergency Relief Funding — In 2018, when coffee prices fell below the costs of production, Starbucks committed to an Emergency Farmer Relief Fund of up to $20 million for supply chains in Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala to enable farmers in “price-to-be-fixed” contract models — typically smallholder farmers — to receive a second payment after harvest, ending up with enough to cover the cost of production and be profitable. We distributed these secondary payments not only in 2019, but extended these efforts into 2020 as well. While the 2019-2020 market conditions were slightly better, we distributed an addition $2.8 million to farmers in Nicaragua and Guatemala
“The National Coffee Association commends Starbucks for this important initiative to support coffee farmers, which is especially timely given that a rising supply of coffee has been impacting prices.”
— Bill Murray, President and CEO, National Coffee Association, USA
- Global Farmer Fund — The Starbucks Global Farmer Fund was founded to improve supply chain resiliency and ensure a long-term supply of coffee through addressing the unmet financing needs of farmers. What initially started as a $50 million commitment was increased in 2020 to $100 million to provide loans to coffee farmers to strengthen their farms through coffee tree renovation and infrastructure improvements. And as of 2020, we have invested nearly $50 million in coffee-producing countries around the world.
OUR GOAL: Invest $100 million in farmer loans by 2025.
“The lack of access to loans is one of the reasons many coffee farmers in low income countries are struggling to earn a basic living and feed their families. USAID, through the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative, is proud to partner with companies like Starbucks to help ensure small-holder farmers are able to continue producing high quality coffee while reducing poverty in their households and communities.”
– Aviva Kutnick, Division Chief, Private Sector Engagement Division in USAID’s Bureau for Food Security
- Empowering Women — The Starbucks Foundation has a long history of supporting coffee and tea communities and has invested more than $25 million in programs that strengthen coffee and tea-growing communities since its founding. Since 2018, The Foundation has focused on origin grants to organizations that support programs around women’s leadership, access to finance, and healthy homes. These projects aim to break down barriers to education, promote clean water and sanitation (WASH), and create economic opportunities for women and girls. The Starbucks Foundation has made 20 origin grants totaling more than $6 million to organizations working with coffee and tea communities across Africa, Asia and Latin America.
OUR GOAL: Empower 250,000 women within coffee and tea communities by 2025. As of March 2020, we have reached more than 125,000 women through Origin Grants.
“The full participation of women is a critical ingredient of success in coffee farming families and communities. We’re pleased to partner with The Starbucks Foundation in supporting projects in Colombia and Indonesia to provide women with leadership skills and promoting essential elements of healthy homes for their families including clean water, sanitation, and hygiene among other components. Women leaders will use their voices and skills to strengthen the capacity of their families and communities to thrive.” — Rick Peyser, Senior Relationship Manager, Coffee & Cocoa at Lutheran World Relief
- Supporting Origin Diversity — Through a diversified buying approach, Starbucks is driving demand not just for premium-quality coffee, but premium-quality coffee from a variety of places around the world. This supports smaller coffee communities that have majority smallholder farmers.
- Sustainability Bonds — Starbucks has issued three Sustainability Bonds — first in 2016 with a U.S. corporate bond offering; then in 2017 with our first global yen-denominated corporate sustainability bond in Japan; and again, in May 2019, the largest to-date. Funds raised from these bonds serve, in part, to protect and improve the coffee supply chain, from bean to cup.
- Digital Traceability — We have always known every farm and every farmer that we purchase from as part of our ethical sourcing program (C.A.F.E. Practices). In 2020, we launched the new Starbucks Digital Traceability web tool at https:// www.traceability.starbucks.com, providing a way for customers to engage directly with their coffee and learn more about its journey, from bean to cup using a convenient mobile web app. Customers can use the traceability tool to scan a bag of their favorite coffee at a Starbucks store to discover the global origin of their beans and meet the farmers who grow it, providing visibility to their work and dedication. We are continuing to explore how digital tools can empower farmers and best support farming communities.
Together, our mission is to ensure the future of coffee for all. For more information about Starbucks ethical sourcing, please visit starbucks.com/responsibility/sourcing.