I recently had the pleasure of cracking open my first built project for Starbucks: Reclamation Drive-Thru in Tukwila, Washington. This small project came at a perfect time here at Starbucks as we challenge ourselves to deliver LEED-certified stores across the US. Pending LEED certification, this project is just one step toward our goal of universally building all new company-owned stores to be LEED-certified Starbucks Stores. I wanted it to be green, thought provoking and sustainable – the sort of project that stirs chatter. I think we got it.
This past fall in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania, the Association of Kilimanjaro Coffee Growers (KiliCafe) underwent a verification to continue their participation in Starbucks Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices. In 2006 a number of these arabica coffee growers elected to participate in the program, which helps coffee farmers, processors and suppliers transition toward more responsible coffee production, and to provide incentives for demonstrated progress.
The program is comprehensive, calling for just employment strategies, economic accountability and environmentally sustainable agriculture practices, all while maintaining our high bean quality benchmark, and it involves continuous efforts and long-term planning.
“Our grandfathers left us a timeless treasure,” Lankamo Lana tells me as we walk through the impenetrable lush garden farms of the Homacho Waeno Cooperative in Sidamo. “The ability to understand how to keep coffee ageless through garden farms,” he says.
Most coffee farms can be traversed with ease through the relatively wide spaces between growing coffee trees, but here, the spaces between are filled with growing food. I can barely keep up with him as I carefully avoid destroying the delicate crops. I stare at him, pretending I understood what he just said, as he disappears into the next garden.
What are some of your most positive, memorable moments from school? A field trip, maybe, or a special in-classroom project? I loved the science projects that came with dramatic chemical reactions.
Moments like these serve an educational purpose, but also a motivational one, inspiring students to continue learning.
But moments like these also have a financial cost, one which fewer and fewer school districts are able to support. As such, public school teachers spend about $40 of their own money every month to enrich their students’ educational experience – a significant out-of-pocket expense that’s not always feasible.
We do it every year. We come up with a lengthy list of New Years resolutions that will transform our lives! We swear to finally use that gym membership, lose 10 pounds, pay off our credit cards and bulk up our savings account, all while keeping the house spotless and learning to speak Chinese. Sound familiar?
In the middle of all that, it can be easy to miss those smaller goals that, easy as they are to carry out, come with exponential benefits. This year, feel free to take it easy and still make a difference. Here are five ways:
Last month we traveled to Ghana, the second largest cocoa producer in the world. Starbucks is a member of the World Cocoa Foundation, an organization that promotes a sustainable cocoa economy by providing cocoa farmers with the tools they need to grow more and better cocoa, market it successfully, and earn greater profits.
Stop by your Starbucks store tomorrow in recognition of World AIDS Day! For every handcrafted beverage sold at participating Starbucks stores in the U.S. and Canada in support of World AIDS Day, Starbucks will make a five cent contribution to The Global Fund. Since the launch of our partnership with (RED)™ in December 2008, Starbucks has contributed nearly $10 million to The Global Fund to help those living with HIV/AIDS in Africa.
Thank you for your support!
Ever wonder how a company as big as Starbucks knows that the coffee it purchases, even from a small farm in Guatemala, is ethically sourced? We have industry-leading programs, systems and processes in place to track our purchases, but a lot also comes down to the people.
Last week I was in beautiful Antigua, Guatemala - surrounded by coffee farms and volcanoes - attending a Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices verifier training. The training was led by Scientific Certification Systems, the company Starbucks has worked with since 2003 to train and oversee the verification organizations, whose people visit the coffee farms around the world that sell their coffee to Starbucks. There were over 30 participants who play critical roles in verifying that the coffee we source meets the comprehensive C.A.F.E. Practices standards in countries throughout Latin America, including Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Brazil, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Honduras. C.A.F.E. Practices is a set of coffee buying guidelines for farmers for the responsible production and processing of coffee, including both social and environmental field practices.
We are excited for the arrival of our new premium hot cocoa mixes at a grocery or wholesale retailer near you this month. There’s a variety of delicious flavors – Double Chocolate, Salted Caramel, Toasted Marshmallow and Peppermint, and different size options. But one thing that doesn’t vary with all these wonderful cocoa mixes is that they are all made with ethically sourced cocoa. We’ve included QR codes on the packaging to give you more information about ethical sourcing and the positive impact it has on those involved.
Imagine the possibilities. Imagine a place that is bustling and vibrant. There are no abandoned buildings. Homes line the streets with windows so clear that you can see for miles. There is no blight. People are smiling and happy and commerce is flourishing. Imagine that what had once been the inner-city is now a safe, vibrant thriving community.
I know it is hard to imagine these things with the level of economic uncertainty facing our local communities. Imagine being one of millions of people living under these conditions without a positive outlook. Now just imagine growing up under these conditions.
In under-invested urban communities, systemic issues such as consistent quality education, access to jobs and other opportunities for revitalization are further exacerbated by the financial crisis.
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