KIGALI, Rwanda, June 29, 2009 - Starbucks Coffee Company (NASDAQ:SBUX) today announced the latest development in its relationship with Fairtrade following its announcement that all of its espresso will be both Starbucks™ Shared Planet™ and Fairtrade Certified™ in the UK by the end of this year. Starbucks will now also offer its first 100 percent Fairtrade Certified whole bean coffee from Rwanda, which will be available as a limited edition coffee across UK Starbucks stores beginning early 2010.
This latest development in Starbucks ongoing commitment to Rwandan coffee farmers and Fairtrade builds on the decade-long relationship between Starbucks and Fairtrade organizations around the world, which also has seen Starbucks become the largest buyer of Fairtrade Certified coffee in the world.
"This visit is a significant milestone in our work with the Rwandan coffee industry. We are collaborating with the Fairtrade Foundation and FLO to ensure that we are supporting the growth of Rwandan specialty coffee," said Howard Schultz, chairman, president and ceo of Starbucks. "We know our customers in the UK in particular have a high awareness of Fairtrade and the development of this coffee will be a welcome addition to Starbucks existing range of ethically-sourced products."
The Fairtrade certified Rwandan coffee comes from the Dukunde Kawa co-op first visited by Starbucks coffee buyers in 2005 and Fairtrade certified since 2004. The selected coffee, which will be available in UK stores for a limited time due to the size of the production, is a fully-washed Bourbon arabica coffee coming from high-altitude farms and washing station. The washed processing method releases the natural acidity of the coffee, providing a bright and flavorful taste in-cup.
The joint trip to Rwanda by Starbucks, the Fairtrade Foundation and FLO (Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International) marks the latest stage of the expanded relationship between the organizations. The shared insights and learnings between Starbucks, the Fairtrade Foundation and FLO will provide a framework that will help improve responsible farming practices in Rwanda and across east Africa, including the intention to develop and maintain the quality and supply of coffee which meets Starbucks™ Shared Planet™ guidelines and is Fairtrade certified.
Harriet Lamb, executive director of the Fairtrade Foundation UK, said, "We're delighted to be able to visit Rwanda in partnership with Starbucks and explore how our collaboration can support small farmers and their communities to improve their coffee, their livelihoods and their future. You can't help but be profoundly inspired by the organisation, creativity and sheer determination of small farmers' groups here.
"Rwanda is famous as a country of one thousand hills; we hope that in the future this beautiful country will be equally known as the place where delicious coffee has enabled a thousand farmer-owned enterprises to bloom, building a better future for local communities and the nation as a whole. As well as informing our work with Rwandan farmers, this visit will also generate invaluable insight for the development of our global partnership to deliver the very best small farmer grown, high quality Fairtrade certified coffee."
The Starbucks Farmer Support Center based in Kigali officially opened today with a training session, coffee cuppings, and discussions of the agronomy support to be provided by the center to coffee farmers across east Africa. The Farmer Support Center in Rwanda will work with east African coffee communities to help farmers continue to improve their coffee quality and to increase the number of suppliers producing Starbucks™ Shared Planet™ coffee. Starbucks agronomist and quality experts will work directly with farmers to develop and use more responsible methods to grow better coffee, to help improve the quality and size of the harvest – and ultimately earn better prices for it.
Additionally, Starbucks confirmed the ongoing investment of nearly US$9 million to date in loans to farmers in the east Africa region helping more than 85,000 farmers to develop their business. Since 2004, US$3.7 million has been made available to farmers in Rwanda through organizations such as Root Capital.
The day began with senior leaders from both Starbucks senior leadership and Fairtrade meeting with US Ambassador W. Stuart Symington, NGOs, local business leaders and entrepreneurs in an open discussion focused on the growing business climate in Rwanda and east Africa. The delegation is also meeting with a number of farmers' groups, including existing Fairtrade certified co-operatives, as well as farmers' groups that both parties hope will become part of the Starbucks and Fairtrade partnership in the future.
Starbucks Coffee Company provides an uplifting experience that enriches people's lives one moment, one human being, one extraordinary cup of coffee at a time. To share in the experience, visit www.starbucks.com.
About the FAIRTRADE Mark and Fairtrade Foundation
The FAIRTRADE Mark is a certification mark and a registered trademark of Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO) of which the Fairtrade Foundation is the UK member. This independent consumer label appears on 4,500 retail and catering products in the UK. Today, more than 7 million people - farmers, workers and their families - across 59 developing countries benefit from the international Fairtrade system.
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.
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