Starbucks Coffee Company to commit additional $30 million as part of its Global Farmer Fund program

SEATTLE, 2015-6-24 — /EPR Retail News/ — Starbucks Coffee Company (Nasdaq: SBUX) today announced an additional commitment of $30 million as part of its Global Farmer Fund program, one aspect of the company’s comprehensive ethical sourcing initiatives that help ensure the sustainability of the specialty coffee industry.  This investment is the continuation of an initial $20 million commitment made in 2008, and distributed in collaboration with leading lending organizations such as Root Capital and the Fairtrade Access Fund. To date, this financing has impacted more than 62 cooperatives in 8 countries benefitting more than 40,000 farmers.

“In 2015, we have achieved a number of milestones across our ethical sourcing initiatives but we know that the work isn’t done. This new investment demonstrates how we remain steadfast in our support of farmers around the world,” said Craig Russell, executive vice president of Global Coffee for Starbucks. “By providing access to capital, farmers have the ability to make strategic investments in their infrastructure, offering the stability they need to manage ongoing complexities so that there is a future for them and the industry.”

Starbucks first farmer loan investment was in 2000 with Root Capital (formerly known as Ecologic Enterprise Venture) for a project in the El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve in Chiapas, Mexico. This work helped establish a revolving line of credit focused largely on short-term financing for farmer cooperatives. Today, farmer financing has evolved to include medium and long term investments in order to help provide the necessary stability to manage climate variables by supporting agronomy, restoration and infrastructure improvements. This work directly influences coffee quality, sustainability and overall profitability for the entire specialty coffee industry.

The $50 million Global Farmer Fund aligns to Starbucks global sourcing strategy which includes purchasing coffee from more than 30 countries worldwide and offered to customers in single origin, blend and small-lot programs and beverages. Later this week, the first allocation from the Global Farmer Fund will be announced as part of a collaborative effort led by the IFC and other organizations.

In 2015 Starbucks verified 99% of its coffee as ethically sourced. For over 15 years, Starbucks has worked with Conservation International to design a rigorous set of methods to ensure environmental and social best practices are used in growing and processing coffee. To date, more than a million farmers and workers on four continents have benefited by participating in Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E) Practices. In addition, Starbucks ethical sourcing program includes a network of six farmer support centers around the world (Rwanda, Tanzania, Colombia, China, Costa Rica and Ethiopia) as well as the purchase of a farm in Costa Rica acting as a global agronomy center.

What others are saying about Starbucks commitment to coffee farmers

“Starbucks has always understood the importance of investing in coffee farmers offering access to credit and financial management training. Farmers who receive loans from Root Capital are able to increase their livelihoods and become more reliable and resilient suppliers by improving environmental protection, crop yields, and product quality; thereby becoming more reliable and resilient suppliers. Together, we will make an even greater difference in the lives of coffee farmers and their families across Africa, Asia and Latin America.” – William Fulbright Foote, Founder and CEO of Root Capital.

“Traditionally smallholder coffee farmers depend on a single payment at the end of the harvest season to cover their expenses for an entire year. They are most often viewed as too high risk or lack access to any conventional loan facilities, and are captive to a cycle of sustained poverty. In order to break this cycle, these producers need to be able to make investments in their farms, households and communities that will deliver long-term benefits. Such investments require credit, and buyers who are willing to extend credit and share risk with farmers are not only stabilizing their own supply chains but contributing to the resiliency of coffee production globally.” – Richard Rhinehart, Executive Director SCAA Specialty Coffee Association of America.

“Starbucks ability to achieve the milestone of ninety nine percent of its coffee being ethically sourced is a reflection of their ability to bring the right people and organizations together in support of a common goal of sustainability. Only through a collective approach that provides farmers with access to information, tools and financing will we be able to transition coffee – the most widely traded tropical agricultural commodity on Earth – to becoming the first sustainably produced commodity.”  – Dr. M. Sanjayan, Executive Vice President, Senior Scientist for Conservation International.

“Longer term investments are a necessary ingredient in the recipe for sustainability.When well-managed, such funding can make a difference in the resilience and effectiveness of farmers and their co-ops or organizations. Starbucks’ expanded investment demonstrates a commitment to shared value and a shared responsibility for sustainable coffee.” – Daniele Giovannucci President COSA Committee on Sustainability Assessment.

“Positive change in coffee communities takes time, persistence, and hard work. One of the greatest obstacles to change faced by most coffee farmers is access to financing, to support needed improvements on their farms and within their cooperatives. Farmers need financing to improve their productivity: from purchasing needed inputs to renovating their farms with high-quality rust-resistant coffee plants. Cooperatives need financing to protect and maximize coffee quality through proficient milling, and to support their trading operations. When available, most financing is often limited to short-term loans. Big changes with big impact demand mid- and longer-term investments that enable farmers and cooperatives to improve their coffee quality and earnings, so they can reinvest in their operations. Mid- and long-term financing is the key to support these investments that will ultimately improve coffee quality and the quality of life for coffee farming families now and well into the future. This commitment to insuring adequate financing is a cornerstone of Lutheran World Relief’s work with coffee growing communities around the world.” – Rick Peyser Senior Relationship Manager, Coffee & Cocoa. Lutheran World Relief.

“The lack of access to loans is one of the reasons many coffee farmers in low income countries are struggling to earn a basic living and feed their families. USAID, through the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative, is proud to partner with companies like Starbucks to help ensure small-holder farmers are able to continue producing high quality coffee while reducing poverty in their households and communities.” – Pam Fessenden, Office Director for Markets, Partnerships and Innovation in USAID’s Bureau for Food Security.

“Given Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade’s (FAST) work linking coffee farmers with sources of finance, we are acutely aware that the biggest problem facing small coffee farmers today is the lack of available capital at the right scale, time frame, and terms. FAST commends Starbucks for recognizing the need for new approaches to this situation and establishing the Global Farmer Fund as a pragmatic solution to the mid- and long-term finance needs of its suppliers. We look forward to collaborating with Starbucks to make this a viable model that increases the socio-economic impacts of the coffee industry around the world.” – Noemi Perez, President and CEO Finance Alliance For Sustainable Trade.

Find stories about Starbucks coffee, farmers and suppliers here: Starbucks Global Responsibility

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Starbucks Coffee Company to commit additional $30 million as part of its Global Farmer Fund program

Starbucks Coffee Company to commit additional $30 million as part of its Global Farmer Fund program

Starbucks COO Kevin Johnson on organization moves ahead of FY16

SEATTLE, 2015-6-22 — /EPR Retail News/ — The following is a message to Starbucks partners from chief operating officer Kevin Johnson on organization moves ahead of FY16:


Our business going into the summer continues to perform well and we are focused on many new and exciting activities including the rollout of Mobile Order and Pay, piloting new delivery services in Seattle and New York City, and enabling a new and exciting streaming music capability through our partnership with Spotify. Howard has commented there’s never been a better time to be a Starbucks partner and from my vantage point, I must agree. We are indeed executing well and we have bold aspirations for the years ahead. These aspirations will require us to continue to innovate in ways that increase our relevance with our customers and partners.

We recently completed our annual strategic planning process and the senior leadership team is now shifting to focus on creating our FY16 operating plan. As part of this process, we look at the priorities we have for the upcoming year, the goals we intend to achieve, and how we’ll allocate resources against those goals. I want to share some information about some leadership moves we are making to set the stage for FY16.

Elevating the Starbucks Roastery
The Starbucks Roastery and Reserve Tasting Room in Seattle has gained international attention and has elevated the coffee experience and the Starbucks Reserve brand to new levels.

A special thank you to Craig Russell, executive vice president Global Coffee, and the entire team of Starbucks partners for their passion and dedication in not only getting the Roastery off the ground, but quickly adjusting to the overwhelming response by our local community and visitors from near and far. Craig’s command of the global coffee space and his deep roots as an operator made him the perfect leader for the launch of this project.

As we look to the future, we plan to export the Starbucks Roastery experience to major cities around the world. I’m pleased to share that our chief creative officer and president of global innovation, Arthur Rubinfeld, will lead our efforts to expand the number of Starbucks Roasteries globally as well as end-to-end operational responsibility for those stores. Arthur’s history and world class experience in design and development will help us quickly and elegantly scale the incredible experience we’ve begun in Seattle. In addition, Arthur will leverage several of the design elements and our experience with the Roastery to lead our creative and development efforts for a new format of Starbucks Reserve Stores. He will work closely with the retail and operations teams on this new concept and once these new stores are opened, the operating teams in the field will be responsible for scaling and operating these stores as they do other Starbucks store formats in our global footprint.

Arthur will build the team with the foundational efforts established by Tiffany Broderson, vice president, operations of the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room and her strong Seattle-based team, who will all transition to Arthur. Arthur will continue to report directly to Howard and join as an integral member of my operations leadership team to ensure symmetry and alignment with our overall retail and operations leadership.

Thank you Craig and congratulations Arthur. We have another historic opportunity to create differentiation and premium quality in the coffee experience and you both have and will contribute to our continued success.

The Future of Tea and Teavana
We remain committed to expanding Teavana offerings within Starbucks, in our U.S. Teavana mall stores and internationally. Tea is a $125 billion market and the second most consumed beverage in the world, next to water. Tea represents a very compelling strategic opportunity for Starbucks around the world and we are well under way of executing on our plan to increase our tea business to $3 billion over the next five years. With the integration of Teavana into Starbucks retail stores in the U.S. and Canada now complete, a significant milestone under the leadership of Annie Young-Scrivner, we have up-leveled our in-store tea platform, offering our tea fans new beverages and loose-leaf teas of world-class quality.

Now that we have Teavana products in our U.S. Starbucks retail stores, we have decided to move the Teavana business to report into Sharon Rothstein, global chief marketing officer. Under Sharon’s leadership we plan to expand Teavana offerings within Starbucks stores globally, create global awareness of the Teavana brand and elevate the innovation and merchandising of Teavana in Starbucks retail stores. The second stage of our strategy will be the selective expansion of Teavana retail stores in key global markets. Sharon’s deep expertise in specialty retail and merchandising will be important experience for us as we move to the next chapter with Teavana.

Customer Loyalty
Effective September 1, Annie will transition to a new role reporting to Matt Ryan, chief strategy officer where she will lead our efforts to develop our customer loyalty strategy, My Starbucks Rewards, globally.   This includes how we align and implement customer loyalty programs in all company owned markets. Annie will focus on expanding to our key markets including China, UK and Japan while Aimee Johnson will remain focused on growth of the program in the U.S. and Canada.

Aimee’s North American responsibilities continue to grow, driving continued organic MSR program growth, evolving MSR program design, expanding 1:1 marketing, developing new personalization initiatives, and integrating stars as currency into the program proposition. Recognizing the growth in responsibilities and Aimee’s contribution to growing MSR we are pleased to announce her promotion to senior vice president, Loyalty.

I want to extend my gratitude to Annie on behalf of the company for her stewardship of Teavana over the past year. Annie will now report to Sharon until September 1 and they are working together to identify Annie’s successor and ensure a good handoff as we approach September.

Global Technology
Curt Garner and I have been discussing his career aspirations and after 18 years in technology at Starbucks, we decided that it was an appropriate time to explore Curt’s next opportunity into something that is new and exciting for him – either within or outside the company. Over the years, Curt has made many contributions to build the technology foundation that Starbucks has today. He began in technology when we had less than 2,000 stores and helped build an infrastructure that now supports a global business that is recognized as a leader in digital platform technology. I want to personally thank him for all that he has done for the company.

As we prepare for this transition, Curt will continue to lead the team reporting to me and we will work closely together to recruit his successor and ensure a smooth transition. We expect to have a new leader in place by the end of the calendar year.

Please join me in thanking these leaders for all they have done to put Starbucks in a position of strength as we prepare for FY16. On behalf of the Starbucks Senior Leadership Team, we look forward to sharing more updates in the coming weeks and months, and also look forward to a challenging but very strong Fiscal 16.

Proud to be your partner,

Kevin Johnson

chief operating officer

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Starbucks Reserve® Roastery and Tasting Room in Seattle now offers coffee from Eastern Congo

SEATTLE, 2015-5-29 — /EPR Retail News/ — In the late 1970s, the Democratic Republic of Congo was one of Africa’s leading exporters of coffee. Subsequent decades of violence, poverty and disease claimed the lives of millions in the region and destroyed much of the country’s coffee market. In recent years, despite the odds, Congolese farmers have quietly produced some of the world’s greatest Arabica coffee beans.

Starbucks partnered with the Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI) to develop sustainable agricultural production and help restore Congo as a key source of high quality coffee. Founded by actor and director Ben Affleck, the ECI is a US-based advocacy and grant-making initiative focused on working with and  for the people of Eastern Congo to help rejuvenate their coffee industry.

Toward the end of 2014, Starbucks made its first purchase of coffee from farmers in Eastern Congo. After months of fine-tuning and experimentation, Starbucks is now offering an exclusive blend crafted only for the Starbucks Reserve® Roastery and Tasting Room in Seattle using this coffee from the Congo.

Every Coffee Tells a Story

Starbucks Reserve®  coffees are curated to tell the story of its origin. Serving only Starbucks Reserve®  coffees, Starbucks uses its Roastery as a platform to showcase some of the world’s rarest coffees, expanding the company’s small-lot sourcing program to pay homage to the rich, important history surrounding the specialty coffee industry.

Gravitas Blend No.1 is an alchemy of small-lot beans from Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia and East Congo. With deep and layered flavors of roasted plum, tamarind and milk chocolate, Gravitas weaves together three different origins, yet allows the flavors of each origin to shine on its own.

“Not only is Gravitas a testament to the skill of our master blenders,” said Craig Russell, executive vice president global coffee at Starbucks. “Gravitas speaks to the remarkable progress made through the Eastern Congo Initiative to put the coffee of East Congo back on the map, giving the region the recognition it deserves as a key source of high quality coffee.”

Starbucks Roastery blends build on the heritage and artistry of blending. Roasted fresh, served and scooped daily, Gravitas Blend No.1 will replace Pantheon – the Roastery’s first blend – and is available for a limited time.

“We are excited to bring Gravitas to our customers,” said Russell. “Gravitas speaks to our past, present and future as roasters in one extraordinary cup.”

Giving Back to Communities

As part of the Starbucks Reserve® commitment, the company collaborates with coffee growing communities. Starbucks works with farmers, producers and suppliers to give back to communities. From helping to build schools or working to improve the living conditions of farming families, it’s always been a core Starbucks value to help change lives for the better.

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Starbucks Reserve® Roastery and Tasting Room in Seattle now offers coffee from Eastern Congo

Starbucks Reserve® Roastery and Tasting Room in Seattle now offers coffee from Eastern Congo