Did you know that a coffee tree produces only enough coffee cherries each season for a single pound of coffee? And aging trees, or those impacted by disease, produce much less.
In September 2015, Starbucks launched its One Tree for Every Bag Commitment to help ensure the long-term supply of coffee and the economic future of coffee farmers. Its goal – to raise enough funds by the end of 2016 to plant 20 million coffee seedlings to replace trees that are declining in productivity due to age and disease, such as coffee leaf rust.
With the help of its customers, Starbucks exceeded this goal in just over a year, raising enough funds to plant nearly 22 million new rust-resistant coffee trees. This includes National Coffee Day on September 29, where enough funds to plant 435,000 coffee trees were raised in a single day from the purchases of brewed coffee from Chiapas, Mexico, or purchase of any 1-pound bag of whole bean coffee at participating U.S. stores.
“One Tree for Every Bag is helping thousands of coffee-producing families become more stable economically,” said Kelly Goodejohn, director of Ethical Sourcing for Starbucks. “We want this to be a model for how the coffee industry can respond and find lasting solutions to preserve the future of coffee.”
As part of the program, Starbucks contributes 70 cents, the average cost of a coffee tree, to Conservation International for every bag of coffee customers purchase from participating stores in the United States. Starbucks and Conservation International work with coffee suppliers to grow the seedlings and distribute the trees to farmers.
Starbucks has already distributed 10 million trees in Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador this past summer, creating more than 800 jobs in farming communities. Over the next two years, nurseries will continue to grow seedlings and distribute them to farmers, along with agronomy support to make sure plants survive and can become as productive as possible.
“These coffee trees have already had a positive impact, and will help farmers and their families for generations to come,” Goodejohn said.
Making Coffee the World’s First Sustainably Sourced Agricultural Product
This week marks the one-year anniversary of the Sustainable Coffee Challenge, Starbucks is celebrating along with Conservation International and more than 50 members across the industry.
Starbucks is a founding member alongside a growing coalition of industry leaders of the Sustainable Coffee Challenge, a call to action led by Conservation International to make coffee the world’s first sustainable agriculture product. In its first year, the challenge has grown to include 58 members, including coffee producers, retailers, traders, roasters, importers, industry associations, governments, donor agencies and other NGOs who are building a sustainability roadmap for achieving a fully sustainable coffee sector. They are also forming action networks where organizations can collaborate on coffee’s most pressing challenges.
The challenge is convening the sector to sustain the future supply of coffee while ensuring the prosperity and well-being of farmers and workers and conserving nature. In addition to One Tree for Every Bag, Starbucks has also committed to ensuring 100 percent of its coffee is ethically sourced through C.A.F.E. Practices or another externally audited system, and investing $50 million in its Global Farmer Fund to provide affordable access to credit to coffee farmers by 2020.