Responsibly Grown Coffee

We have always worked to buy our coffee in a way that respects the people and places that produce it. It's simply what we believe to be right.

Over 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 (requirement):
All coffee must meet Starbucks standards of high quality.

Economic Accountability (requirement):
Transparency is required. Suppliers must submit evidence of payments made throughout the coffee supply chain to demonstrate how much of the price Starbucks pays for green (unroasted) coffee gets to the farmer.

Social Responsibility (evaluated by third-party verifiers):
Measures in place that concern safe, fair and humane working conditions. These include protecting the rights of workers and providing adequate living conditions. Compliance with the indicators for minimum-wage requirements and addressing child labor/forced labor and discrimination is mandatory.

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

Goal: Ensure 100% of our coffee is ethically sourced by 2015.
Progress through 2012: 93% of our coffee was ethically sourced in 2012, including 90% through C.A.F.E. Practices.

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) a decade ago, has created significant social and economic impacts for more than one million workers, and environmental improvements on the thousands of participating farms.

Farms and mills are evaluated using a comprehensive scorecard of more than 200 indicators by third-party verification organizations, which are overseen by SCS Global Services. In 2012, 90 % of our coffee was C.A.F.E. Practices verified.

Purchasing third-party certified or verified coffees not only meets our customers’ expectations, but can also help protect the environment and the livelihood of farmers in coffee-growing regions. We have offered Fairtrade coffee since 2000, and are now one of the largest purchasers of Fairtrade certified coffee in the world. In 2012, 44.4 million pounds (8.1 %) of our coffee purchases were Fairtrade certified. We also purchased 8.7 million pounds (1.6%) of certified organic coffee in 2012.

In 2012, 93 % of our coffee was ethically sourced through C.A.F.E. Practices, Fairtrade and/or other externally verified or certified programs, with some coffees receiving multiple verifications or certifications. It is our goal that by 2015, 100 % of our coffee will be sourced this way.

Another important component of our approach is a green coffee pricing model that aims to pay the prices premium quality commands, while fostering price stability and mutually beneficial relationships with suppliers. Starbucks sourced 545 million pounds of premium quality green (unroasted) coffee from 29 countries in 2012, and paid an average price of $2.56 per pound. In 2012, 98% of our contracts included an economic transparency clause.