Responsibly Grown Coffee

We take a holistic approach to ethically sourcing coffee through responsible purchasing practices, farmer loans and forest conservation programs.

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 labour/forced labour 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.

Our Goal

We aim to have 100% of our coffee certified or verified by an independent third party.

What We've Been Doing

Starbucks bought 367 million pounds (167 million kilograms) of coffee in the 2009 financial year. Eighty-one per cent of that – 299 million pounds (136 million kilograms) worth – from C.A.F.E. Practices approved suppliers. We paid an average of $1.47 per pound (0.5 kilograms) for green coffee in the 2009 financial year.

Fair Trade for a better quality of life

Fair Trade Certified™ coffee empowers small-scale farmers organised in cooperatives to invest in their farms and communities, protect the environment and develop the business skills necessary to compete in the global marketplace.

Starbucks began purchasing Fair Trade Certified™ coffee in 2000, helping grow the market for Fair Trade Certified coffee in the US. And in 2009, we increased our purchases to 40 million pounds (18 million kilograms) – making us one of the largest purchasers of Fair Trade Certified™ coffee in the world.