Starbucks Coffee Company (Nasdaq:SBUX) yesterday launches a five-week coffee promotion to build awareness of its Fair Trade Certified coffee. The coffee, which is certified through Starbucks alliance with TransFair USA, will be promoted in more than 2,400 company-owned retail stores across the United States, highlighting its commitment to improving the lives of farmers in origin countries.

“We will continue to work closely with TransFair USA and other organizations who share our mutual goal of ensuring that farmers in coffee origin countries receive a fair share of the price paid for their coffee,” said Orin Smith, president and ceo of Starbucks Coffee Company. “In a time when world coffee prices are at an eight-year low and coffee producers are increasingly impoverished, it is critical for coffee companies to demonstrate their commitment to coffee growers.”

Starbucks Fair Trade Certified coffee is sold year round for $11.45 per pound at retail stores across the United States and on Starbucks.com. The coffee, part of the Mild and Bright family, is a balanced light-to-medium bodied blend of Latin American coffees. It is one of the offerings in Starbucks “Commitment to Origins” category, which includes shade grown, organic and Fair Trade coffee selections.

“Starbucks high-profile support for Fair Trade coffee sends a powerful and visionary message to the rest of the coffee industry — that the plight of small coffee growers cannot be ignored,” said Paul Rice, executive director of TransFair USA. “Customers purchasing Fair Trade certified coffee are demonstrating their support for Starbucks efforts and the Fair Trade movement.”

In celebration of Fair Trade Day, Starbucks will brew Fair Trade coffee as the “Coffee of the Day” in all company-owned retail stores in the United States on Friday, May 18. This initial offering is the first step to including Fair Trade coffee in the regular “Coffee of the Day” calendar. The commitment of looking into offering Fair Trade coffee as part of the company’s “Coffee of the Day” rotational calendar was announced by Smith at Starbucks Annual Shareholders’ Meeting on March 20.

Starbucks Coffee Company and TransFair USA, a third-party certification organization, formed an alliance in April 2000 whereby Starbucks committed to promoting and selling Fair Trade Certified coffee through its U.S. retail stores and online through Starbucks.com. Starbucks began selling Fair Trade Certified coffee in U.S. stores on October 4, 2000. Shortly thereafter, Starbucks began offering Fair Trade Coffee to colleges and universities and more recently to hotel and restaurant accounts.

Starbucks sells and builds awareness of Fair Trade Certified coffee as an important part of a broader effort to improve the lives of coffee farmers and their families. Starbucks continues its efforts with organizations that are helping coffee farmers and their families through its support of Conservation International, CARE and other similar organizations. Starbucks Shade Grown Mexico coffee, a product of the collaboration with Conservation International, joins Fair Trade Certified coffee in Starbucks “Commitment to Origins” line.

TransFair USA, a non-profit agency, is the only organization providing independent, third-party certification of Fair Trade products in the U.S. TransFair promotes mutually-beneficial relationships between farmers and coffee companies, and educates consumers about international trade and economic development. 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, continental Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific Rim, 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. The Company’s other brands enhance the Starbucks Experience through best-of-class products: Tazo Tea Company offers a line of innovative premium teas, and Hear Music produces and distributes a line of exceptional compact discs.