Here’s a story about Tony Bennett:
It’s the 1960s and Bennett, a premier pop idol of the ‘50s whose popularity took a downturn when the Beatles and their rock ‘n’ roll brethren took over the charts, turned to old friend Count Basie for advice. Should he update his style to fit the times? Bennett asked the great jazz bandleader. Basie responded with the succinctness he was famous for as a pianist: “Why change an apple?”
In other words, don’t mess with something that’s as close to perfection as this world is capable of producing.
Supporting thriving communities – inside our stores and in the neighborhoods where we live and work – is at the heart of our mission. And being a good neighbor has never been more important as the global economy continues to weather a painful and challenging period.
Here in the U.S., we are starting to help fuel the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. Starbucks is teaming up with the Opportunity Finance Network® (OFN) to help create and sustain jobs through a program we are calling Create Jobs for USA, which will provide loans to underserved community businesses. The Create Jobs for USA program will be seeded with a $5 million contribution from the Starbucks Foundation.
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.
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.
It’s time to “fall back in” to our usual routine. Summer vacations have come and gone, the kids are (finally) back in school and we’re settling back into our habitual schedules.
Fortunately, there’s something to spice things up a little: the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte!
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.
A new coffee is arriving for Starbucks Reserve and we are delighted to share it with you. Ka’u coffee takes its name from the Ka’u district on the Big Island of Hawaii. The Ka’u region is located on the slopes of the volcano Mauna Loa. The area was traditionally used for growing sugar cane, but after the exodus of sugar plantations the soil was well-suited to grow coffee. With over 2,000 acres of prime land in the district of Ka’u there are approximately 280 acres planted and worked by about 40 farmers. Here Ka’u coffee is quietly transforming this small region into a world-class coffee source that’s gaining attention.
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