Coffee giant Starbucks program aimed at sourcing is yielding positive changes more than it was expected. It has made a great impact on the coffee sector. This is according to a report from conservation international [C.I] The program is known as coffee and farmer equity (C.A.F.E) practices. In partnership with C.I, this program was created 20 years ago. The main aim of the group was to improve social, environmental and economic outcomes for coffee farms. Since then, this has been the trend with coffee chains and coffee producers following the same precept. Coffee shops and coffee producers are following the same precept as well. All those groups are aligning their business strategies with similar goals aimed at sustainability. This has led to the area of verifiability grown coffee to expand by 64 percent since 2008.
C.A.F.E practices program and its origin
C.A.F.E practices program is an ideal program with some of its standards being thought of and executed in the early 1990s. As early as that, the coffee chain Starbucks had an idea to devise some guidelines. The guidelines were to act as a barometer to give recognition to producers of the finest sustainably –grown coffee. It was also aimed at evaluating and rewarding their efforts. This was long before the notion of ethical sourcing was familiar amongst firms. As soon as possible, Starbucks in collaboration with C.I came up with guidelines and standards which later became the C.A.F.E practices program which was launched in 2004.
The practices program allows the coffee giant to gain access to social economic and environmental characteristics of all the coffee entering its supply chain. This is usually based on over 200 indicators. Ever since the starting of this program coffee producers have benefited a lot. For the sake of the record, coffee producers from 23 countries have taken part in this program. In return, this has, directly and indirectly, affected their revenues. It has also impacted on the living conditions of over a million farmers as well as farm workers. By 2015, Starbucks was popular as the largest coffee retailer with 99% of its coffee supply being ethically sourced.
According to experts in ethical sourcing programs, C.A.F.E. practices are believed to be the right way to grow coffee today. This is great news for coffee consumers since this will translate into them purchasing the finest cup of coffee. In return, farmers and related workers will benefit since this will simultaneously support them though in an indirect way. Starbucks shares information gained through its research as well as resources through its Farmer Support Centers. These centers are located in coffee producing countries all over the planet. All farmers are entitled to all these benefits whether they are selling coffee to the chain or not. To ensure that farmers are giving the best quality of coffee, the coffee giant has been donating millions of disease-resistant trees. This is aimed at helping farmers to fight threats such as coffee rust which is enemy number one as far as growing coffee is concerned. The coffee giant is helping farmers adapt to more sustainable practices. It is doing this by identically investing $50 million as financing for farmers. The funds help farmers to renovate their farms giving room for more coffee production.
Across the planet, C.A.F.E. practices are yielding positive results
According to C.I report, there are some amazing facts. Starbucks has a lot of influence when it comes to coffee growing. In fact, Starbucks influence for more coffee than it buys. Recently it has purchased only 5 percent of the world’s supply or Arabica coffee. In 2015 approximately 18 percent of the world’s supply was being produced as per C.A.F.E practices. As time goes by, this can change since statistics show that the number changed by 8 percent recording an overwhelming 26% in 2017 of the world’s supply.
C.A.F.E. practices are in a way proved to be helpful global sustainability endeavors. They have been embraced in 23 countries with 190,000 hectares being conserved for these practices. Equally, 1.3 million workers have benefited from these practices. They have been recruited by farms as well as mills under this program. In addition, 1.1 million temporary workers are even earning more than the minimum wage. According to the C.I report, 99% of farms which are operating under this program have not converted any natural forest into coffee production since the year 2004. These findings have rekindled some hope for the coffee industry that is considered in peril. This is due to the soaring demand for coffee all over the world and the challenge we have today on climate change.
It is believed that sustainable strategies in the coffee sector can result in the firm and positive outcomes. This is necessitated by the hard times that we are in especially now that we are in a critical moment. If we stick to C.A.F.E. practices, we can witness a 14% improvement year in year out. This is according to three-quarter of participants of these practices who stick to the program practices year after year.
Sustainable coffee may be the only option in future
Coffee is usually grown in tropical countries and regions home to the worlds remaining tropical forests to be specific. From the past, farmers had a habit of cutting down surrounding trees to expand their coffee plantations. This seemed the simplest thing they would turn to. It is imperative to mention that coffee is usually grown on a steep slope where soil erosion can occur easily if proper care is not taken. This can also lead to sedimentation of waterways as well. Also, Coffee processing, being water-intensive, can also end up contaminating rivers and streams. We can conclude that many practices in the cultivation and production of coffee can rapidly become unsustainable, damaging nature instead of preserving it.
As we all know, some 120 million people around the world depend on coffee for a living. Majority of them are small-scale farmers as well as farm workers. This calls for the adoption of C.A.F.E. practices program for sustainable coffee growing and marketing. If these practices are adopted, coffee production will increase which will be able to sustain the ever-rising demand for coffee all over the world.