Starbucks Coffee Company (Nasdaq: SBUX) will begin offering Fair Trade certified coffee through its extensive network of more than 2,300 company-owned retail stores in the United States on October 4. Additionally, beginning October 23, Starbucks will offer Fair Trade coffee to more than 400 colleges and universities in the country currently serving Starbucks® coffee.
“Starbucks launch of Fair Trade coffee is an historic event that will have a tremendous impact on disadvantaged coffee farmers and their families,” says Paul Rice, Executive Director of TransFair USA. “At a time when family farmers are facing severe economic hardship due to the current slump in world coffee prices, Starbucks high-profile support for Fair Trade sends a powerful and visionary message to the rest of the coffee industry-that the plight of small coffee growers cannot be ignored. With every cup of Starbucks Fair Trade coffee, consumers are supporting and empowering farmers and their families.”
“We are very excited to further extend Starbucks Fair Trade coffee to colleges and universities,” said Dave Olsen, Starbucks senior vice president, Corporate Social Responsibility. “Our participation with organizations such as TransFair USA, Conservation International and CARE demonstrate our commitment to coffee producers and their families, communities and the natural environment.”
In the breakthrough alliance announced in April 2000, Starbucks committed to sourcing, roasting and selling Fair Trade certified coffee to meet consumer demand. Starbucks has also developed marketing, promotional and educational materials about Fair Trade Certified coffee and will display TransFair USA’s Fair Trade Certified label on coffee that has been grown, processed, traded and marketed in accordance with international Fair Trade criteria. Starbucks purchases of Fair Trade coffee are from certified importers who have demonstrated they have paid farmers the Fair Trade price, which is currently almost double the world market price.
Fair Trade links farmers directly to markets and helps them get a fair price (as defined by international Fair Trade standards), even at times when market prices are low. “Fair Trade is needed because with little or no income, farmers can be forced to sell their next crop in advance to local middlemen, who often pay far below the harvest’s value,” added Rice. “Currently, world coffee prices are in a prolonged slump.”
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Starbucks Fair Trade certified coffee will be sold in 16-ounce FlavorLock™ bags for $11.45 in retail stores in the United States and on Starbucks.com. The coffee, part of the Lively Impressionsä family, is a balanced light-to-medium blend of Latin American coffees with complementary acidity and body. It is the second offering of Starbucks “Commitment to Origins” coffees, which includes shade grown, organic and/or Fair Trade selections. Shade Grown Mexico™ coffee launched the year-round “Commitment to Origins” category in August 2000.
Starbucks considers promoting Fair Trade Certified coffee as one of several approaches to improving the lives of coffee farmers and their families. Starbucks continues its efforts with organizations that are helping coffee farmers and their families through support of CARE, Conservation International and other similar organizations. In August 2000, Starbucks reintroduced Shade Grown Mexico™ coffee, a product of the collaboration with Conservation International that benefits both coffee farmers and the environment.
Through all of its efforts, Starbucks maintains a strong commitment to sourcing coffees of the highest quality that support a sustainable social, ecological and economic model for the production and trade of coffee.
TransFair USA, a non-profit agency, is the only organization providing independent, third-party certification of Fair Trade products in the US. TransFair promotes mutually-beneficial relationships between farmers and coffee companies, and educates consumers about international trade and economic development. Through regular visits to Fair Trade farmer cooperatives, and partnerships with participating coffee companies in the US, TransFair guarantees that farmers who produce Fair Trade Certified products have received a decent living wage. By monitoring trade from crop to cup, TransFair guarantees that Fair Trade Certified products were grown and traded responsibly.
Starbucks Coffee Company is the leading retailer, roaster and brand of specialty coffee in the world. In addition to its retail locations in North America, the United Kingdom, the Pacific Rim and the Middle East, Starbucks sells coffee and tea products through its specialty operations, including its online store at Starbucks.com. Additionally Starbucks produces and sells bottled Frappuccino® coffee drink and a line of superpremium ice creams through its joint venture partnerships and offers a line of innovative premium teas produced by its wholly owned subsidiary, Tazo Tea Company.