Submitted by Starbucks Corporation
The two-day celebration on May 31 and June 1, 2006, centered around coffee farmers and exporters from four African nations -- some visiting the United States and Starbucks headquarters in Seattle for the first time. Representing Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania, the farmers and exporters met with public policy makers, strategic business partners, and Starbucks partners (employees) to share their personal experiences. Guests also were educated about Starbucks socially responsible coffee buying practices, updated on the status of various social and economic initiatives in East Africa and experienced a "coffee cupping" to taste coffees from each African nation.
"The cooperative union that I represent-- Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union and two other unions Sidama and Yirgacheffee have been selling coffee to Starbucks since 2003 and have been fortunate to sell our coffees to Starbucks for a price that is better than the conventional market," said Tadesse Meskela Gudeta, an agricultural economist and farmer in Ethiopia. "Besides buying coffee, Starbucks is investing in social projects in Ethiopia and are creating long-term relationships with coffee farmers by focusing on sustainability, empowerment of farmers, environmental management, conserving biological diversity, and a healthy working environment for workers."
Starbucks Updated Guests on the "African Heartlands Coffee Project"
Starbucks proudly announced that the "African Heartlands Coffee Project," which launched in June 2005, is now rolling out the first initial stages of Starbucks C.A.F.E. Practices in Kenya. C.A.F.E. (Coffee and Farmer Equity) Practices are Starbucks coffee buying guidelines designed to encourage coffee farmers to grow high-quality coffee and to promote equitable relationships with farmers, workers, and communities, as well as protect the environment. The three-year venture and $600,000 commitment launched in collaboration with the African Wildlife Foundation -- a leading conservation organization with nearly 45 years of successful expertise working in Africa -- focuses on growing and processing coffee in a sustainable manner while meeting Starbucks high quality standards, a pre-requisite for C.A.F.E. Practices. Working together, the verification team will further the adoption of sustainable coffee growing and processing practices in Kenya and Tanzania.
"The many positive developments taking place in East Africa's coffee growing regions is a clear reflection of the hard work and dedication of coffee growers who are passionate about embracing higher quality standards," said Jim Donald, Starbucks president and ceo. "Through continued education, implementation of new stages of C.A.F.E. Practices and collaboration with local and international organizations with proven expertise in Africa, Starbucks looks forward to celebrating even more successes with Africa's coffee farmers."
Information shared during the two-day event included an update on reconstruction efforts to rehabilitate two pulping stations, which are essential to the production of coffee. Now completed, the pulping stations better enable farmers in Kihuyo and Kiamariga to produce high quality coffee, and serve as models for water recirculation and conservation, waste re-use and management and energy conservation.
"We are so proud of the work completed thus far on the African Heartlands Coffee Project," said Annika Vieira, director, corporate partnerships from the African Wildlife Foundation. "Collaborating with Starbucks is such a unique experience because the Company truly understands and cares about the economic and social well-being of coffee farmers and communities, as well as the conservation of the environment."
Black Apron Exclusives Award New Opportunities
Starbucks was also proud to share the positive impact the awarding of "Black Apron Exclusives" has had on farmers' livelihoods and coffee growing practices. The Black Apron Exclusives coffees are a rare honor bestowed upon only the best and most exceptional coffees found in the world, and are produced in limited supply. To date, five out of 11 Starbucks Black Apron Exclusives have been awarded to African coffee growers. Starbucks awards US$15,000 for each Black Apron Exclusives coffee, which is to be applied to projects that will help to improve the lives of the farmers in the community. Attendees learned where and how these projects have been carried out by the various farmers which included:
-- Shirkina Black Apron Exclusives Award (#8, October 2005) - The Fero Cooperative utilized the award to partly finance construction costs of the Cooperative's new office.
-- Ethiopia Harrar Black Apron Exclusives Award (#2, June 2004) - The coffee farming village of Dire Dawa, which brought this coffee to Starbucks, used the award money to help support their community's medical services.
-- In FY04 and FY05, Starbucks Coffee U.K. additionally contributed a total of $148,000 toward the installation of a water pump that directs water into a reservoir tank built around the town of Bensa Ware Kebele in Ethiopia.
-- Starbucks U.K. also sponsored the construction of a new library and provided books needed for students at the nearby Daye High School in Ethiopia to continue their studies.
-- Kenya Kirinyaga Black Apron Exclusives Award (# 9, January 2006) - The Kikuyu tribe members who cultivated this coffee purchased computers, software, and computer training, which will allow the Cooperative to implement an electronic bookkeeping for the delivery of coffee cherries.
-- Rwanda Blue Bourbon Black Apron Exclusives Award (#10, March 2006)- The coffee farmers that deliver coffee cherries to the Gatare and Karengera washing stations used the award to purchase cows for the communities' coffee farmers, which supplement their local diets and provide organic fertilizer for their smallholder coffee farms.
-- Additionally in FY06, Starbucks Coffee Company contributed nearly $8,000 for the purchase of classroom furniture including chairs, desks, and lockers for six classrooms at Kinunu School in Kayove District in Rwanda. A Starbucks exporter and the local community also sponsored the construction of a playground for the school, benefiting more than 100 children.
-- Elephant Kinjia Black Apron Exclusives (Award #6, May 2005) - Blackburn Estate's award contributed to a rainwater system to construct a sanitary building, and to supply the community with new drying beds to process their coffee. Both projects helped improve living conditions and health services in the village.
Starbucks Coffee Company
Through the dedication of our passionate partners (employees), Starbucks Coffee Company has transformed the way people in 37 countries enjoy their coffee, one cup at a time. Starbucks is the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world, with more than 11,000 retail locations in North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific Rim. The Company is committed to offering its customers the highest quality coffee and human connection through the Starbucks Experience, while striving to improve the social, environmental and economic well being of its partners, coffee farmers, countries of coffee origin, and the communities which it serves. Through Ethos Water, Starbucks demonstrates its long history of integrating a social conscience into all aspects of its business. The Company surprises and delights its customers by producing and selling bottled Starbucks Frappuccino(R) coffee drinks, Starbucks DoubleShot(R) espresso drinks and Starbucks(R) superpremium ice creams through its joint-venture partnerships, and Starbucks(TM) Coffee and Cream Liqueurs through a marketing and distribution agreement, in other convenient locations outside its retail operations. The Company's brand portfolio includes superpremium Tazo(R) teas, Starbucks Hear Music(TM) compact discs, Seattle's Best Coffee and Torrefazione Italia. These brands' unique and innovative personalities allow Starbucks to appeal to a broad consumer base.
Copyright Business Wire 2006
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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