Coffee chain Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) said today that it would ensure that around 100 million healthy coffee trees are available for coffee farmers by 2025, part of a Starbucks initiative to offer broad support — including financing, open-source agronomy research and access to data — to coffee farmers worldwide. (See also: 3 Coffee Stocks for 2017.)
Starbucks had launched the Starbucks One Tree for Every Bag initiative in September 2015, which seeks to plant a tree for every bag of coffee bought in participating U.S. stores. The target is to plant trees to replace coffee trees that are becoming less productive as a result of age or disease. The coffee giant says over 25 million trees have been donated so far. The initiative kicked off with the distribution of some 10 million trees in the summer of 2016. With the latest expansion of its tree distribution initiative, Starbucks said it “can now integrate the purchase of healthy, rust-resistant coffee trees into its green coffee buying program.”
Starbucks and Sustainability
Starbucks’ commitments to coffee farming has included maintaining an ethical sourcing standard, with the company saying in 2015 that 99 percent of the coffee it sourced adheres to the Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E) practices, a set of procedures that Starbucks adopted about 16 years ago. The company has also committed about $50 million in reasonably priced credit for coffee farmers to enable them to reinvest in their farms. Starbucks has also committed $20 million to open-source agronomy research and the training of about 200,000 coffee farmers by 2020 through a network of eight farmer support centers.
Starbucks has been funding its sustainability initiatives with the proceeds of a $500 million corporate sustainability bond that it issued in the U.S. during the first half of last year.
In December 2015, Starbucks partnered with Conservation International, along with 18 other firms, to launch a sustainable coffee challenge, an initiative geared toward making coffee the first sustainable agricultural product in the world.