Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX), TransFair USA and the Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO) today announced a groundbreaking initiative that builds upon the organizations' shared history of support for small-scale coffee farmers. Starbucks, one of the largest buyers of Fair Trade Certified? coffee, will double its purchases to 40 million pounds in 2009, making the company the largest purchaser of Fair Trade Certified coffee in the world. Marking a new phase in their nine-year relationship with Starbucks, TransFair USA and FLO will join Conservation International as key partners in the Starbucks? Shared Planet? commitment to ethical sourcing.
"We strongly believe that by working together, Starbucks and the Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International can accomplish so much more for coffee farmers and the coffee industry," said Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman, president and ceo. "I'm proud of the role Starbucks has played in raising environmental and agricultural standards. By doubling our commitment to Fair Trade Certified and scaling up our global partnership, we have a unique opportunity to further reinforce our ongoing efforts to benefit farmers and communities."
As part of this commitment, Starbucks, TransFair USA and FLO will explore integrating the verification process for Fair Trade Certified coffee and Starbucks Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices. This will increase the efficiency of individual farm inspections and enhance the positive impact of the programs on small-scale coffee farmers, their communities and the environment. Also central to Starbucks effort to source ethically traded coffee will be an expansion of their work with Fair Trade farmers to enhance coffee quality and profitability through improved environmental and agricultural practices. To accomplish this they will leverage Starbucks Farmer Support Centers in Costa Rica and Africa, as well as current investments in programs that provide farmers access to credit.
"This commitment from Starbucks could not have come at a better time for coffee farmers as they face the threat of climate change, higher prices and brace themselves for a global slowdown," said Rob Cameron, ceo of FLO. "The partnership combines the expertise of Fairtrade in delivering grassroots-based farmer and consumer empowerment in global markets, with Starbucks incentive-based program for improvement of coffee quality and farmer incomes. Together, we believe we can forge a model of trade for sustainable development that the coffee industry has never before seen."
"Starbucks announcement to double their Fair Trade Certified? commitment in 2009 shows tremendous leadership. This dramatic volume increase will have a far-reaching positive impact in coffee growing communities throughout the developing world ? it will send kids to school, bring clean water to farming communities and enable struggling farmers to put food on the table," said Paul Rice, president and ceo of TransFair USA. "Starbucks? Shared Planet? initiative empowers consumers to make ethical decisions about the coffee they drink, and support the farmers that produce it."
About Starbucks? Shared Planet? and Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices
Starbucks? Shared Planet? is Starbucks commitment to doing business responsibly. Coffee and Farmer Equity Practices?or C.A.F.E. Practices?are Starbucks ethical coffee sourcing guidelines under Starbucks Shared Planet. C.A.F.E. Practices is a comprehensive, industry-leading program that addresses the environmental, social and economic transparency issues that are critical to the financial stability and long-term health of coffee farms and farmers. Launched in 2004, the program was developed in collaboration with Conservation International. The more than 200 C.A.F.E. Practices indicators are evaluated by third-party verifiers under oversight by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS). Approximately 185,000 farmers currently participate in C.A.F.E. Practices. To learn more about Starbucks? Shared Planet?, visit www.starbucks.com/sharedplanet.
Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting the highest quality arabica coffee in the world. Today, with stores around the globe, the company is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. Through our unwavering commitment to excellence and our guiding principles, we bring the unique Starbucks Experience to life for every customer through every cup. To share in the experience, please visit us in our stores or online at www.starbucks.com.
About TransFair USA
TransFair USA, a FLO member organization, is the only independent, third-party certifier of Fair Trade Certified? products in the United States. TransFair USA audits and certifies in accordance with FLO's internationally agreed standards transactions between U.S. companies offering Fair Trade Certified products and their international suppliers to guarantee that the farmers and workers producing Fair Trade Certified goods were paid fair prices and wages. TransFair USA certifies coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate, sugar, vanilla, rice, bananas, flowers, honey and wine. For more information about TransFair USA, visit www.FairTradeCertified.org
About Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO)
FLO is a non-profit, multi-stakeholder association that encompasses a global network of Fairtrade organizations that are actively involved in supporting and empowering producers, raising consumer awareness and campaigning for changes in the rules of conventional trade. FLO's role is to develop and review the standards that Fairtrade producers must meet, and the terms of trade for importers, exporters and retailers. FLO also directly helps producers to gain Fairtrade certification and to develop market opportunities.
FLO's members include:
-Three producer networks in Asia, Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean that Fairtrade certified producer groups may join
-20 national organizations, including Transfair USA, that promote Fairtrade in their country and licence companies to use the FAIRTRADE Certification Mark on products. There are currently Labelling Initiatives in Europe, North America, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
About Fair Trade Certified?
Fair Trade Certified? (known as the FAIRTRADE Certification Mark outside the USA) is an innovative, market-based approach to sustainable development that empowers small-scale farmers to lift themselves out of poverty by guaranteeing fair prices, a more direct trading model, community development and environmental stewardship. By doubling its purchases of Fair Trade Certified coffee, Starbucks will help directly improve the lives of more than 100,000 farming families in developing countries across Latin America, Asia-Pacific and Africa and support programs and projects like educational scholarships, medical clinics, basic infrastructure enhancements and quality improvement initiatives.