SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES AND QUALITY COFFEE
Since 2007, more than 400 people, working in teams composed of Starbucks partners (employees), Starbucks customers, and Earthwatch volunteers, have helped researchers collect data on soil acidity, plant productivity, and the use of agricultural inputs. At the same time, they’ve learned about key relationships between sustainable practices and quality coffee. Research has demonstrated that farmers can increase coffee yields by up to 25% by reducing the use of fertilizers and reducing soil acidity–resulting in financial returns of up to $1,200 for farmers and improved environmental outcomes.
Beginning in 2010, Starbucks’ support for the Coffee Sustainability Leaders program has spread the outcomes of this program to four additional cooperatives across Costa Rica and will enable the results of this partnership to be distributed to other coffee-growing regions of the world.
Earthwatch and Starbucks are now exploring possible ways forward for the partnership, including extending agricultural research to China.