Submitted by Starbucks Corporation
"Starbucks was impressed with EcoLogic Finance's lending strategy and their track record of providing loans to coffee farmers," said Sue Mecklenburg, vice president of Business Practices, Starbucks Coffee Company. "Through this loan, we can provide access to affordable credit for thousands of farmers which helps them improve their lives and invest in their farms."
Since 1999, EcoLogic Finance has provided affordable loans of $25,000 to $500,000 to small-scale coffee producers who conserve their natural resources by employing sustainable farming methods in environmentally sensitive areas. Over the past four years, EcoLogic Finance has made available more than 85 loans with a gross value of nearly $13 million to rural producer organizations located in nine different Latin American countries.
"We're thrilled to count Starbucks as our partner," said William F. Foote, President, EcoLogic Finance. "The farmers we lend to play a huge role as stewards of the land. With this important new infusion of resources from Starbucks, EcoLogic Finance can help small local entrepreneurs get the cash they need at a critical time so they can make a decent living while protecting the environment."
All told, more than 11,250 coffee farming families have benefited from loans made available by EcoLogic Finance. Two of the cooperatives receiving loans are COOCAFE and Coopelibertad in Costa Rica. EcoLogic loaned $300,000 in trade credit to COOCAFE, a Fair Trade-registered organization representing 3,500 family farmers in the Guanacaste and Montes de Oro regions of northwest Costa Rica. The money will be utilized to make down payments on their members' crop. Additionally, Coopelibertad, a cooperative of 653 family farmers in the Central Valley of Costa Rica, utilized a $200,000 loan from EcoLogic Finance to refurbish individual coffee farms during the pre-harvest season
Starbucks will earn a two percent return on its investment in EcoLogic Finance. The principal will be returned in July 2007 and Starbucks will have an option to renew. In 2001-2003, Starbucks provided $650,000 in credit support to EcoLogic Finance and Conservation International to support the provision of short-term harvest loans to smallholder coffee farmers operating in the buffer zone of the El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve in Chiapas, Mexico. The new $2.5 million loan from Starbucks will expand on the effort to finance cooperatives across Latin America and in East Africa.
Based in Cambridge, Mass. and with a field office in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, EcoLogic Finance provides credit and financial training to support low-income communities whose business activities foster environmental conservation and grassroots economic development. Founded in 1999, the organization manages a portfolio of $25,000 to $500,000 loans to small- and medium-sized enterprises that do not meet traditional requirements to access loans from local financial institutions. Target sectors for rural credit include agroforestry (shade-grown and sustainable agriculture), wild-harvested products, sustainable fisheries, and ecotourism. EcoLogic Finance has a particular focus on small-scale producers of sustainably grown coffee. With few exceptions, EcoLogic Finance restricts its lending to rural producer organizations with established market linkages to values-driven buyers engaged in direct commerce with their suppliers. Other EcoLogic Finance investors and funders include the Global Development Alliance of USAID, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, JP Morgan Chase Foundation, and David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
Starbucks Corporation is the leading retailer, roaster and brand of specialty coffee in the world, with more than 8,000 retail locations in North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific Rim. The Company is committed to offering the highest quality coffee and the Starbucks Experience while conducting its business in ways that produce social, environmental and economic benefits for communities in which it does business.
It's the way we do business Contributing positively to our communities and environment is so important to Starbucks that it's a guiding principle of our mission statement. We jointly fulfill this commitment with partners (employees), at all levels of the company, by getting involved together to help build stronger communities and conserve natural resources.
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