Letter to the editor
Starbucks’ fair trade policies
I recently read the Letter to the Editor dated Oct. 2, 2008, “Starbucks on campus not OK” and would like to provide some information regarding our ethical sourcing practices for coffee and cocoa.
As North America’s largest purchaser of Fair Trade Certified™ coffee and among the largest worldwide, we share common goals with the Fair Trade movement. In 2007, we purchased almost a third of the Fair Trade Certified™ coffee imported into the U.S.
However, the Fair Trade system only allows small farms who belong to cooperatives to participate. Due to our heritage, we have many long-standing relationships with farms that do not fit into the Fair Trade model. Because we agree with the principles of Fair Trade, we have been working with Conservation International since 1998 to design the most comprehensive, socially and environmentally responsible sourcing program called Coffee and Farmer Equity (CAFE) Practices. CAFE Practices is open to all farms regardless of size and includes our high quality standards.
In 2004, we began developing a set of guidelines built on the foundation of CAFE Practices for our cocoa suppliers. We formally launched Cocoa Practices in 2007 to provide guidelines for the cultivation and processing of cocoa in a manner that is environmentally and socially responsible, and promotes equitable relationships with farmers, workers and communities. CAFE Practices and Cocoa Practices are verified by independent, third parties.
Starbucks coffee and tea products are not genetically modified. For everything else, we are committed to ensuring the safety of the food we offer for sale to our customer and will continue to monitor our products.
Thank you for raising these critical issues that we take very seriously. We invite you to stop by our table at the Open House at Silo Union this week on Oct. 8 and 9 and talk with us more about coffee and the environment. We will also be signing up interested students to join Starbucks in community service projects to support local non-profit environmental organizations.
If you can’t stop by our table, you can read more about our global responsibility initiatives online at www.starbucks.com/csr.
Vice president, global responsibility
Starbucks Coffee Company