Gallery: INTERVIEW: 8 Questions with Starbucks Global Responsibility VP...

 

3. In the Global Sustainability Report you lay out a number of measures you take to ensure that your coffee is ethically sourced and that coffee farmers are well treated. Could you talk more about the steps Starbucks takes to self regulate and ensure the ethical treatment of coffee farmers?

Ben: Starbucks takes a multi-pronged approach which relies on a robust set of standards that we use to buy our coffee, on investing in the communities where we buy our coffee through financing and technical assistance, and on more traditional philanthropic activities.

We provide access to lines of credit, and we provide technical assistance through what we call farmer support centers. We have these centers throughout Central and South America, providing economic and sustainable agriculture expertise that our company is investing in to help improve the resilience and the quality of the coffee that's coming from a lot of these areas. Our philanthropic activities support basic social wellness, access to education and basic infrastructure needs in some of these key coffee growing regions.

A lot of folks pin their focus on the standards and certification piece as it guarantees the consumer where their coffee is coming from. We're happily making progress towards our goal of ensuring that 100% of our coffee is ethically sourced by 2015. Last year 86% of our coffee came from Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) practices that we implemented in our buying practices over seven years ago.

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  1. Erik Lindstrom October 28, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    It’s great to see that companies like Starbucks are spending the money to become more sustainable. I wish we would see more companies doing the same thing, but the biggest issue with sustainability and changing consumer behavior is that it’s expensive. Hopefully people begin to see the value in sustainability and take that into more consideration in their lives.

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