Coffee

We take a holistic approach using responsible purchasing practices, farmer loans and forest conservation programs.

Ethically Sourced Coffee Goals and Progress

At Starbucks, coffee is the heart and soul of our company. And we are committed to buying and serving high-quality coffee that is responsibly grown and ethically traded. We honor this commitment through our responsible coffee purchasing practices, farmer support centers, loan programs and forest conservation efforts. When we buy coffee this way, we believe that it helps foster a better future for farmers and helps mitigate the impacts of climate change for the planet.

The cornerstone of our approach is Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices, our comprehensive coffee-buying program that ensures coffee quality while promoting social, economic and environmental standards. C.A.F.E. Practices, which we developed in collaboration with Conservation International (CI) more than a decade ago, has impacted more than a million workers employed by thousands of participating farms.

We are committed to not only increasing our own C.A.F.E. Practices purchases, but also to making the program available to the entire coffee-growing industry – even competitors. We opt for an “open-source” approach, sharing our tools, best practices and resources to help all producers make improvements in the long-term sustainability of their farms. We are continuously improving this program by working with groups such as Conservation International to measure the true impact our purchasing programs have on participating farmers and producers.

2013 Report Update

Coffee Goal Chart
To learn more about our work in coffee purchasing read our Global Responsibility Goals & Progress Report.

In 2008 we set a goal that all of our coffee would meet our standards for ethical sourcing by 2015, through C.A.F.E. Practices, Fairtrade and/or other externally verified or certified programs. We have made steady progress toward this goal each year, and in 2013 95.3% of our coffee was ethically sourced, with some coffees receiving multiple verifications or certifications.

Purchasing third-party certified or verified coffees not only meets our customers’ expectations, but also helps protect the environment and the livelihood of farmers in coffee-growing regions. We have offered Fairtrade coffee since 2000, and in 2013 33.4 million pounds (8.4%) of our coffee purchases were Fairtrade certified. We also purchased 4.4 million pounds (1.1%) of certified organic coffee in 2013.

Starbucks sourced 396 million pounds of premium-quality green (unroasted) coffee from 27 countries in 2013, with total coffee purchases lower from the previous year due to carryover of inventory from 2012. These coffees are sold under the Starbucks, Seattle’s Best Coffee and Torrefazione Italia brands.

What We’re Doing Now
As we buy coffee, we aim to foster a better future for farmers and a more stable climate for the planet. Doing this helps create a long-term supply of the high-quality beans we’ve been carefully blending, roasting and packing fresh for more than forty years.

CAFE PractgicesOver the last decade, Conservation International has helped us develop buying guidelines that address our principles for ethical sourcing. Called Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices, these guidelines help our farmers grow coffee in a way that’s better for both people and the planet. C.A.F.E. Practices is a comprehensive set of measurable standards focused on the following four areas:

Product Quality:
All coffee must meet our standards for high quality.

Economic Accountability:
Economic transparency is required. Suppliers must submit evidence of payments made throughout the coffee supply chain to demonstrate how much of the price that we pay for green coffee gets to the farmer.

Social Responsibility:
Measures evaluated by third-party verifiers help protect the rights of workers and ensure safe, fair and humane working and living conditions. Compliance with minimum-wage requirements and prohibition of child and forced labor is mandatory.

Environmental Leadership:
Measures evaluated by third-party verifiers help manage waste, protect water quality, conserve water and energy, preserve biodiversity and reduce agrochemical use.

We believe in the continuous improvement of our suppliers and know objective measurement and evaluation is critical. Farms and mills are evaluated by third-party verification organizations overseen by SCS Global Services. In October 2012, we released an update to C.A.F.E. Practices. All of the information we received from farmers, suppliers and stakeholders has allowed us to improve C.A.F.E. Practices and make farmer participation more meaningful and relevant.

Important additions to the program include practices for supporting the long-term productivity of coffee farms through coffee renovation, or replanting. Additionally, tracking climate change impacts and creating adaptation plans are encouraged to minimize the effects farmers experience from climate change.

Our Farmer Support Centers are available to support farmers in creating farm management and work plans and achieving their goals.

How are Coffee Farms and Climate Change Linked?

Team Chiapas

The Starbucks and Conservation International partnership supports coffee farmers in mitigating the impacts of climate change.

Watch a video
Learn More

Measuring the Impact of C.A.F.E. Practices

Cultivating Change by our Coffee Sourcing

See the most recent results of how the C.A.F.E. Practices program impacts people, products and the planet. Read the report.