Starbucks and FNC expand tree planting target by 22 million seedlings and US$4.2 million

Starbucks Coffee Company and the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) have announced an expansion of their programme to support Colombian coffee growers in the Starbucks C.A.F.E. Practices network, with Starbucks investing a total of US$7.2 million to distribute more than 45 million coffee seedlings across Colombia by September 2023.

In 2020, Starbucks provided the FNC with a US$3 million investment to support a new coffee crop renovation programme, with the goal of distributing 23 million coffee seedlings by 2023.

Within the first year of the programme, more than seven million coffee seedlings were distributed to Colombian farmers. Following this success, the 2022 project expansion includes an additional US$4.2 million grant for an extra 22 million trees and will also support farmers with fertilisers during the early growth stage for every tree.

This programme builds on a ten-year partnership between Starbucks and the FNC and aims to help more than 12,000 farmers who participate in the C.A.F.E. Practices programme under which Starbucks sources its coffee globally.

“In service of Starbucks’ aspiration to ensure a sustainable future of coffee for all, we are pleased to strengthen our partnership with Colombian Coffee Growers Federation and increase our support of local coffee farmers through the expansion of this important tree renovation program,” said Tim Scharrer, managing director and vice president of Starbucks coffee and cocoa.

“Supplying farmers with healthy coffee seedlings and replacing old trees is a critical first step in the long-term success of our farmers and, ultimately, the Colombian coffee industry,” he added.

Working hand-in-hand with farmers in the field, the local Starbucks Farmer Support Center (located in Manizales) and the FNC, through its technical division and its office in Europe, will continue to oversee the project, which includes technical assistance, such as virtual training and field visits to farmers for planting of the seedlings, as well as recommendations for renovation of coffee plantations and verification of the trees established for the fertilisation incentive.

“These programmes confirm the great commitment of Starbucks to Colombian coffee growers’ well-being, coffee farming quality and sustainability, and environmental protection. Starbucks is a strategic partner of Colombian coffee and the FNC,” Roberto Vélez, the FNC CEO, acknowledged.

Additionally, Starbucks is partnering with the FNC to further implement sustainable farming practices in support of Starbucks coffee sustainability goals to reduce carbon emissions on coffee farms and save water in green coffee processing.

Through a separate US$1.5 million sustainability grant, Starbucks is funding the purchase and installation of 200 ecological wet mills (across seven C.A.F.E. Practices-verified coffee supply chains), which use up to 80% less water compared to traditional technologies. The grant will also fund the collection of 2,400 soil samples to inform custom fertilisation plans to support better soil health and rational fertiliser use.

Building on over five decades of sourcing, roasting and serving Colombian coffee worldwide, Starbucks is dedicated to working alongside Colombian coffee growers to support their well-being, their families, and their communities while ensuring a sustainable supply of high-quality coffee. As part of this effort, The Starbucks Foundation has provided funding to nonprofit organisations that support Colombian women and girls in coffee-, tea- and cocoa-growing communities, including Cauca, Nariño and Tolima.

In 2012, Starbucks opened its fifth Farmer Support Center worldwide, located in Manizales, Colombia. To date, more than 110,000 Colombian coffee growers have benefited from its work through shared training, tools, and information to help them increase productivity and quality of coffee on their farms.

Starbucks opened its first retail store in Colombia in 2014. Currently there are 40 stores in four cities that feature high-quality, arabica coffee grown in Colombia.

“As we expand our footprint across Colombia and continue to bring the Starbucks Experience to more customers, we are tremendously proud of the Colombian arabica coffee served in our cafés,” said Francisco Tosso, director of Starbucks Colombia. “Starbucks recognises the importance of investing in Colombian farmers who make this all possible – and this ongoing work to support farmers also creates great pride for our partners and customers.”

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