Starbucks Expands $70 Million Ethical Sourcing Program With New Global Agronomy Center

Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:00am EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

Starbucks purchasing 240-hectare Costa Rican farm to convert to global agronomy
research and development center; strengthens climate change mitigation and
long-term crop stability program; supports billion-dollar commitment to buying
100 percent ethically sourced coffee by 2015; allows for the development of
coffee varietals in support of new, innovative blends
SEATTLE--(Business Wire)--
To help coffee farming communities around the world mitigate climate change
impact, and support long-term crop stability, Starbucks Coffee Company (NASDAQ:
SBUX) today announced that it is expanding the company`s $70 million
comprehensive ethical sourcing program with a new farming research and
development center in Costa Rica. These programs are part of Starbucks ongoing
billion-dollar commitment to ethically sourcing 100 percent of its coffee by
Starbucks is expanding the company's $70 million comprehensive ethical sourcing
program with a new farming research and development center in Costa Rica.
(Photo: Business Wire)

Starbucks will adapt this active 240-hectarefarm located on the slopes of the
Poas Volcano into a global agronomy center. The work happening on this farm will
enable the company to expand its Coffee and Farming Equity practices (C.A.F.E.),
the industry-leading ethical sourcing model developed in partnership with
Conservation International which ensures coffee quality while promoting social,
environmental and economic standards. 

In addition to supporting resiliency for farmers around the world, this farm
will also influence the development of coffee varietals based on the insight
offered through soil management processes. This proprietary work could offer
significant advantage in the development of future blends. 

"This investment, and the cumulative impact it will have when combined with
programs we have put into place over the last forty years, will support the
resiliency of coffee farmers and their families as well as the one million
people that represent our collective coffee supply chain," said Howard Schultz,
Starbucks chairman, president and ceo. "It also opens up an opportunity for
Starbucks to innovate with proprietary coffee varietals that can support the
development of future blends." 

In total, Starbucks has invested more than $70 million in collaborative farmer
programs and activities over the past 40 years, which include C.A.F.E.
practices, farmer support centers, farmer loans and forest carbon projects. All
of these integrated programs directly support improving farmer livelihoods and a
long-term supply of high-quality coffee for the industry. This new facility will
build on and globally scale the work currently happening at five farmer support
centers worldwide in Rwanda, Tanzania, Colombia, China - as well as Starbucks
first farmer support center which opened in San Jose, Costa Rica in 2004. 

Starbucks farmer support centers are home to agronomists and quality experts
working directly with farmers to provide support in growing high-quality arabica
coffee. By providing farmers with expertise and training in soil management,
field-crop production and milling processes, these practices can improve the
quality and size of the harvest. The varied elevation of the farm will allow the
agronomists to test responsible growing practices while ensuring robust
biological diversity. The research discoveries and best practices from this work
will inform growing principles for farmers around the world. 

"The convergence of climate change and ecosystem deterioration creates stress on
the ability of farmers to produce crops. The work of Starbucks over the last
several years to address many of these issues facing coffee producers -
including the environmental, economic and social development of coffee
production - is very impressive," said Peter Seligmann, chairman and ceo of
Conservation International. "The opportunity this continued investment brings
will ensure the most innovative resources are brought to bear for sustainability
and resilience across all farming communities." 

In 2008 Starbucks and Conservation International began conducting impact
assessments of C.A.F.E. practices on coffee farmers and communities, and in 2012
aggregated the year-over-year performance impact. For example, on average
farmers employing C.A.F.E. practices saw 98 percent of farms maintaining or
improving soil fertility and 100 percent of school-age children on smallholder
farms were able to attend school. Of the 545 million pounds of coffee purchased
by Starbucks in fiscal year 2012, across 29 countries, 93 percent of it was
ethically sourced. 

Starbucks has signed an agreement to purchase the Costa Rican farm through a
subsidiary of Starbucks Coffee Trading Company. The terms of the purchase are
not being disclosed and upon final closing in May, Starbucks will immediately
begin evolving the location into a research and development facility. 

About Starbucks Corporation

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

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available:

Starbucks Coffee Company
Starbucks Media Relations, 206-318-7100

Copyright Business Wire 2013