Submitted by Starbucks Corporation
This additional funding increases Starbucks loans to EcoLogic Finance to a total of $5 million since 2002, offering critical financial resources and a source of hope for struggling farm communities. While loans Starbucks previously made to EcoLogic Finance provided funds entirely for coffee farmers, $500,000 of the additional funding is earmarked for cocoa farmers, as they experience many of the same economic, environmental and social issues faced by coffee growers. In 2004, Starbucks also contributed $50,000 to EcoLogic Finance for financial literacy and capacity training projects for smallholder farmers in Latin America.
Starbucks believes it is the single largest private lender of loans to smallholder farmers in coffee growing regions with a total commitment of $8.5 million in loan capital to date, including loans to EcoLogic Finance, Conservation International's Verde Ventures and the Calvert Foundation. As the loans are not restricted to only Starbucks suppliers, the funds have provided much-needed credit to a broad range of coffee farmers throughout Latin America and Africa.
"At Starbucks, we take an integrated approach to help ensure the long-term sustainability of farmers and their communities," said Sue Mecklenburg, vice president, Business Practices, Starbucks Coffee Company. "One of the components of that approach is providing access to affordable credit, which we have been doing since 2000. We increased our commitment with EcoLogic Finance because of the meaningful results we have achieved together in helping thousands of farmers increase their incomes and improve their livelihoods."
Loans provided by Starbucks and EcoLogic Finance give cooperatives and farmers the confidence of knowing they will have sufficient cash throughout the crop cycle, allowing them to make important investments in infrastructure and develop sustainable growing practices. Going forward, Starbucks and EcoLogic Finance plan to explore new ways to contribute to the long-term sustainability of coffee farming cooperatives.
"By increasing its funding to EcoLogic Finance, Starbucks is making a strong commitment to the well-being of the farming villages that supply the world's coffee and cocoa," said William Foote, president, EcoLogic Finance. "The scale of this investment guarantees that thousands of farmers will receive the loans they need to sustain their farms, their families, their environment, and their way of life."
Starbucks Corporation is the leading retailer, roaster and brand of specialty coffee in the world, with more than 9,000 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. In addition to its retail operations, the Company produces and sells bottled Frappuccino® coffee drinks, Starbucks DoubleShot® espresso drink, and a line of superpremium ice creams through its joint venture partnerships. The Company's brand portfolio provides a wide variety of consumer products. Tazo® Tea's line of innovative superpremium teas and Hear Music's exceptional compact discs enhance the Starbucks Experience through best-of-class products. The Seattle's Best Coffee® and Torrefazione Italia® coffee brands enable Starbucks to appeal to a broader consumer base by offering an alternative variety of coffee flavor profiles.
About EcoLogic Finance
EcoLogic Finance provides low-interest loans and financial training to help struggling farming communities in the developing world maintain their livelihoods in environmentally sustainable ways. Launched in 2000, the organization manages a portfolio of $25,000 to $500,000 loans. Their borrowers: small- and medium-sized farmers' co-ops that are too large for microcredit agencies and too small or untested to be "bankable" with a commercial bank. EcoLogic Finance loans benefit villagers involved in agroforestry (shade-grown and sustainable agriculture), wild-harvested products, sustainable fisheries, and ecotourism, with a particular focus on small-scale producers of sustainably grown coffee.
With few exceptions, EcoLogic Finance restricts its lending to farmers' co-ops that have established relationships with values-driven buyers like Starbucks. Other EcoLogic Finance investors and funders include the Citigroup Foundation, the Flora Family Foundation, the Global Development Alliance of USAID, the Goldman Sachs Foundation, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, JP Morgan Chase Foundation, the Packard Foundation, and the Skoll Foundation.
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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