(Photo courtesy of Starbucks.Com)
Starbucks is purchasing a 240 hectare farm in Costa Rica with the intentions of turning it into a global agronomy research and development center in order to help strengthen climate change mitigation and create a long term crop stability program. They also support a billion dollar commitment to only buy 100 percent ethically sourced coffee by the year 2015.
The land purchased, in the Poas Volcano area, will be adapted by the coffee corporation to work towards expanding its Coffee and Farming Equity (C.A.F.E.) practices. This is actually a leading program and model in the coffee industry to promote ethical farming and sourcing in partnership with Conservation International. Conservation International helps to ensure coffee quality while also promoting environmental, social, and economic standards.
Additionally, the farm will influence the development of coffee varietals through insight that the soil management offers. This could help with the cultivation of future blends.
President, chairman, and CEO of Starbucks Howard Schultz says of the recent purchase “This investment, and the cumulative impact it will have when combined with programs we have put into place over the last forty years, will support the resiliency of coffee farmers and their families as well as the one million people that represent our collective coffee supply chain. It also opens up an opportunity for Starbucks to innovate with proprietary coffee varietals that can support the development of future blends.”
Over the past 40 years, Starbucks has invested over $70 million in developing farming programs, starting farming support centers, giving farmer loans and helping with forest carbon projects. The new facility hopes to globally scale the initiatives and work that is being done in Rwanda, Tanzania, Colombia, and China.
The support centers that Starbucks started are home to agronomists and experts in the field of coffee cultivation. They help bring expertise and quality farming methods to farmers while providing training on crop production, soil management, and milling processes. Peter Seligmann, chairman and CEO of Conservation International says of the work “The convergence of climate change and ecosystem deterioration creates stress on the ability of farmers to produce crops. The work of Starbucks over the last several years to address many of these issues facing coffee producers – including the environmental, economic and social development of coffee production – is very impressive. The opportunity this continued investment brings will ensure the most innovative resources are brought to bear for sustainability and resilience across all farming communities.”