Starbucks to Double Its Purchase of Fair Trade Coffee in 2009

Fair Trade logoEarlier this month, Starbucks took a beating by environmentalists when it was reported that the coffee chain was wasting up to 6 million gallons of water daily. Just a few weeks later, the are making environmental news again, but this time for something positive they are doing.

Yesterday, TransFair USA and the Fairtrade Labelling Organiations International (FLO) announced that

Starbucks, one of the largest buyers of Fair Trade Certified coffee, will double its purchases to 40 million pounds in 2009, making the company the largest purchaser of Fair Trade Certified™ coffee in the world. Marking a new phase in their nine-year relationship with Starbucks, TransFair USA and FLO will join Conservation International as key partners in the Starbucks™ Shared Planet™ commitment to ethical sourcing.

In addition to doubling the amount of Fair Trade Coffee they purchase, Starbucks is also making a commitment to expand the work they do with the Fair Trade farmers. According to the press release

Also central to Starbucks effort to source ethically traded coffee will be an expansion of their work with Fair Trade farmers to enhance coffee quality and profitability through improved environmental and agricultural practices. To accomplish this they will leverage Starbucks Farmer Support Centers in Costa Rica and Africa, as well as current investments in programs that provide farmers access to credit.

Rob Cameron, the ceo of FLO believes that Starbucks, together with his organization, TransFair USA, and Conseravation International “can forge a model of trade for sustainable development that the coffee industry has never before seen.”

This commitment to purchasing Fair Trade Coffee coffee by Starbucks is a good thing at a good time. In this tight economy, I would expect that some individual consumers who were making it a practice to purchase fair trade goods may be forgoing those fair trade products because of the extra expense. In fact, Tree Hugger did a survey earlier this week asking its readers if they were cutting back on their fair trade purchases because of the economy. 10% of those surveyed said yes.

Out of curiosity, I just phoned my local Starbucks. The girl who answered the phone told me that they offer a Fair Trade Coffee every day, and it is not more expensive than their other coffee options. That’s good news, too.

Image taken from TransfairUSA.org

So what do you think of this announcement? Will it make any difference in whether you walk though the front doors of a Starbucks any time soon?

  1. Bobby B.

    What an interesting journey?

    Starbucks originally filled a niche market for coffee aficionados. It saw rapid expansion as the niche became – in yuppie fashion – mainstream. They took a major hit that resulted in lay-offs and store closings when it became apparent that providing health care for every employee (even part-time employees) was too costly. Another hit occurred when the general public realized that $5 per cup coffee was no longer a priority in light of rising food and fuel costs.

    Now, by seeking the “Fair Trade” logo and using it as a marketing device, Starbucks is undoubtedly targeting a specific focus group. Could this be an indicator that Starbucks has designs on leaving the yuppie mainstream and making a return to its roots as a niche vendor that targets only select segments of society?

  2. Mateus Maia de Jesus

    Timor Leste has more 95 % production of organic coffee in 6 distric aroung ermera,aileu,liqica,manufahi,ainaro and bobonaro,the farmer has organisirby CCT/NCBA and farmer submited in 21 cooperative estabelised by CCT board.Becaouse CCT is only 1 organization have certification organicof coffe,now other more leki Timor Corp,Timor Global and Elsa Cafe.But same time salling coffee reprecentatip by organik certification but now rill applicxation in the felld.
    I,am learning certification whit CCt/ncba in Indonesian time and joint in manager of extention and certification until now.
    thansk to starbucks coffee to learning my information.

  3. Clay

    These people are exploited. I have been there in the coffee business. The serious coffee farms are owned by minority wealth. The farmer gets little. Yeah.. a lot of roasters like to put on their khakis and go down there and post pics on their website, but really do nothing to help. It’s a racket that is full of foodie elitists.

  4. Kerry

    Whether or not this was done in response to the bad PR is irrelevant. The point is they are getting in the fair trade coffee business, and with so many small companies out there, the rise in awareness of the term ‘fair trade’ can only be viewed as a positive thing.

  5. Taryn

    So they bought 40 million pounds of fair trade coffee in 2009, that is great news, seriously! But my question is, how many pounds did they buy that are not fair trade?

  6. Mateus Maia De jesus

    Timor Leste,coffee is more then low production now, before Indonesia time start 1980-1997 good production but low price, the calculate production 700 kg/ha coffee cerry our 210 kg pastman. To remove hige production need suport ower ptners wilbe designe methode cultivation and replating pollowing CCT program.
    I,am verry congratulation whit cct/ncba -patners USAID, to remove rural economic in Timor Leste.only see thnks for Starbucks coffee to giveng suport primeun by cct developing the farmers.I hope more then suport training and education for coffee members to probate qulaity production and quntity of orgnic production in Timor Leste.

  7. Mateus Maia de Jessus

    CCT increacy production and certification program
    during Indonesia time until now CCT has probate coffee production system and education training to increacy production,to montein organic coffee we have jobs for organic production system before exsport coffee sizent. system certification by organization program, coffee plant program and administration program every years fron international inspectors.

  8. Mateus Maia de Jessus

    Quality Timor Leste Coffee
    Timor leste mosly coffee production in six districts and 99 % munual orgnic product, the best quality of coffee. What cant garanty the best of quality, becouse the grwoing natural growing not micks some non organic fertilizer .
    Only one problems some coffee would last years agou, this need more pruning sizent and quality control.

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