Your coffee wouldn’t be possible without the farmers around the world who grow it. That’s why we work alongside them to support sustainable farming practices and their communities.
- Environment: We’re working to address agricultural challenges that threaten farmers’ livelihoods.
- Economics: We make financial investments supporting farmers’ livelihoods over the long run and in times of crisis.
- Education: We support open-sourcing education and innovation to help farmers with productivity and sustainability.
More than 25 million coffee producers around the world are facing the impacts of a changing climate. Conservation International and Starbucks, joined by more than 130 other organisations, are working to help – with a mission to make coffee the world’s first sustainable agricultural product. Today, 99 percent of the coffee Starbucks buys around the world is verified under its Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices, which has helped farmers improve their environmental performance and weather the impacts of climate change for more than 15 years.
Coffee rust continues to be one of the biggest impacts of climate change – leaves dotted with holes and flecked with the life-choking orange fungus, crippling the coffee harvest. Sergio Alvarez, a senior coffee developer at Starbucks, visited the mountainous region of Chiapas, Mexico, to see first-hand how Starbucks and Conservation International are flighting the impact of climate change:
To directly combat coffee rust, Starbucks launched the 100 Million Trees Programme and, so far, more than 30 million trees have already been donated. Catalina Pacheco, a 2nd generation farmer in Guatemala, received 6,000 rust-resistant trees in 2016, this year, the trees produced their very first harvest.
Coffee remains a critical piece of the economy for thousands of coffee farmers despite a global trend toward urbanisation. But, like any crop, is sensitive to price fluctuations owing to a variety of factors, most of which are beyond the control of farmers. When global coffee prices plummeted in late 2018, smallholder farmers in Central America were among the hardest hit by the drop. In some cases, the price they could get for their crop fell below the cost of production.
In response, Starbucks committed to $20 million in emergency relief funds to smallholder farmers in Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico. The funds are now augmenting the income they received for their harvest and help increase their stability. After weathering the latest downturn with the support of emergency relief funds, it allowed farmers such as Remedios Fernàndez from Mexico to keep her focus on the future:
Starbucks currently operates a network of nine Farmer Support Centres, including one satellite agronomy office, in coffee-producing countries around the world, providing farmers with free access to the latest findings of Starbucks agronomists, including new varietals of disease-resistant trees and advanced soil management techniques.
To date, Starbucks has trained more than 52,000 farmers with free access to education and resources through its Farmer Support Centres, with a goal of reaching 200,000 farmers by 2020.
Ensuring the future of farming:
Over the past 20 years, Starbucks has invested more than $150 million in support for coffee farmers and their communities on top of the premium it pays for high quality and ethically sourced coffee. Its network of support includes nine Farmer Support Centers around the world; an initiative to distribute 100 million disease-resilient coffee trees to farmers by 2025; providing loans to farmers; and promoting leadership opportunities for women and families in coffee-growing communities.
Starbucks hopes to help ensure the future of coffee for the thousands of farmers who produce coffee served in its stores and the 100 million customers who enjoy it each week – for today, tomorrow, and always.