“Our success is linked to the success of our coffee farmers and coffee producing landscapes. We knew that if we didn’t pursue a landscape approach, we’d compromise our success.”
Kelly Goodejohn, Director of Ethical Sourcing, Starbucks
Collaboration for a landscape approach
Starting in 1998, Starbucks partnered with Conservation International (CI) in order to create a system of agricultural best practices for coffee production that maintained ecosystem services while protecting biodiversity. The result is Starbucks’ own tailor-made coffee standard—Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices. C.A.F.E. Practices combines roughly 200 economic, environmental and agronomic indicators into a single reporting tool.
Encouraging sustainable production
By piloting innovative projects with coffee-growing communities in Mexico, Indonesia and Brazil the partnership is improving coffee production, conserving and restoring natural habitat and identifying solutions to help farming communities be more resilient to climate change. In each of the three countries, opportunities to tap into carbon finance have been evaluated to diversify farmer income and entice coffee farmers to stay with coffee production.
In Mexico, the partnership was instrumental in persuading local farmers to continue sustainable farming practices and conservation techniques with technical and financial assistance while Starbucks became a dependable buyer of beans. As a result of this project, over 1000 farmers have been trained in high-yield shade grown coffee methods, over 17,000 trees have been planted across 442.5 acres, and Starbucks has developed a line of coffee called Shade Grown Mexico, which has been sold since 2004.
Analytical framework applied to Starbucks. From p. 15.
Ensuring high coffee yields
In order to maintain strong coffee yields and ensure farmers continue to grow coffee over palm oil, Starbucks and CI began to develop new strategies to address climate change benefiting both farmers and the ecosystems, work with communities to improve production practices in return for an agreement to respect forest boundaries and link coffee farmers to carbon markets as a means of providing additional income. So far these interventions have been successful with over 600 farmers being engaged in farmer extension programs, including certification programs and have worked with Aceh Coffee Forum to develop a climate change plan designed to improve farmer livelihoods and coffee production in the region.