Starbucks and Fairtrade NGOs announce initiative to support small-scale coffee farmers
Starbucks, the Fairtrade Labelling Organisations (FLO) and TransFair USA announced joining forces to leverage a small-scale coffee farmer loan program that is intended to grow to at least $20 million by 2015 based on current commitments from Starbucks Coffee Company.
The Small Farmer Sustainability Initiative (SFSI) was designed to build on existing Starbucks efforts that help foster improved livelihoods, environmental stewardship and economic sustainability in the coffee industry. Given the economic and business challenges that continue to face coffee farmers around the world, the program will increase market access for small-scale coffee farmers, provide much needed farm loans and technical assistance, and offer an industry-pioneering coordinated audit system.
The SFSI is a three-year pilot that will leverage the on-the-ground expertise and resources that each group has in coffee growing regions. The initiative will be supported by the Starbucks Farmer Support Centers in Latin America and East Africa to facilitate outreach in key regions across Latin America, Africa and Asia Pacific. Farmers will have access to the $12.5 million Starbucks currently has invested in farmer loan programs through social investment organizations such as Root Capital, Verde Ventures and Calvert. Starbucks has an additional goal to increase funding for farmer loans to those related organizations to $20 million by 2015 as part of the Starbucks™ Shared Planet™ commitment to ethical sourcing. Together, the organizations hope to increase the participation of small-scale farmers in the global specialty coffee market.