Why I’m proud to be a Starbucks supplier.
Starbucks was the first buyer in the region to reach out to the producer through genuine concern for our livelihood. They were also the first roaster to care about quality – and this inspired us. To be a supplier to Starbucks meant that you had great coffee.
Through working with Starbucks, we came to realize the importance of sound social and environmental business practices. It was almost embarrassing to have someone from abroad tell us that we had taken the wrong path, a path our grandfathers had paved for us. We were cutting corners through the heavy use of pesticides and fertilizers. We were harming our environment and it was time to mend our ways.
Starbucks was also the first company that promoted social projects in our region. The premium we received for our coffee was invested throughout our community in many ways. In addition to the cash incentive given to each producer, we were able to contribute to the local Red Cross Chapter for the acquisition of an ambulance, medical equipment at the local nursing home and donations to the local school. We were able to buy a scientific calculator for each child of every partner of Alturas de San Ramón, S.A.
Our personal relationship with Starbucks is a great source of pride. They really care about us. We see it in every visit from the Starbucks Farmer Support Center. Through their support we are able to work better. If our goal was to just sell coffee we could sell it to anybody, but we have a close-knit relationship that goes beyond a business contract.