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Press Relases March 19, 2008

Conservation International and Starbucks Launch Initiative in Coffee Growing Landscapes to Combat Climate Change

Seattle, WA/Arlington, VA – Conservation International (CI) and Starbucks Coffee Company (NASDAQ: SBUX) announced today a new phase in their decade long partnership that will take conservation beyond coffee farms and into surrounding landscapes to address the most pressing environmental issue of our day - climate change. The five year commitment includes an initial investment over the first three years of $7.5 million, the majority of which will support projects in Mexico and Indonesia, contributing to positive global climate solutions through the protection of standing forests and restoration of degraded landscapes. Ultimately, Starbucks and CI hope to leverage their global scale to pilot such projects across all coffee growing regions – Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Latin America.

Through this five year global commitment, Starbucks and CI will support communities to not only use best agricultural practices on their farms but also to protect the land, water and forests that surround and nurture the most important coffee growing regions in the world. This strategy will focus on reinforcing and expanding the potential of Starbucks ethical coffee buying guidelines, Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices to support farmer activities that keep carbon on the ground, protect important habitat for the world’s plant and animal species, and help farmlands become more resilient against what are predicted to be the devastating effects of climate change. Project activities may ultimately create an opportunity for farmers to diversify their incomes through access to emerging international carbon markets.

“The alliance between Starbucks and Conservation International is one of the first corporate engagements at scale to address the most pressing issue of our time – global climate change - by protecting forests,” said Peter Seligmann, Chairman and CEO of Conservation International. “Our partnership engages one of the great corporations as well as coffee farmers around the globe in this battle to stabilize our planet’s climate. By stepping up this partnership we have aligned our existing work, geographies and success to address this critical issue.”

A primary activity across these project sites will focus on protecting and increasing tree and forest cover. Forests are our greatest assets in the fight against climate change. As well as being major carbon stores, tropical forests also are the richest storehouses of plant and animal species diversity, which is the foundation of natural ecosystems that regulate the global climate. These rain forests provide life-sustaining resources such as fresh water, food, medicines and shelter to local populations, often the poorest of the poor.

The renewed partnership between Starbucks and CI will build off and continue to strengthen existing pillars of the historic Starbucks – CI partnership, including Verde Ventures and the C.A.F.E. Practices program. Starbucks has been a key supporter of CI’s Verde Ventures fund, which provides loans to businesses that can play a critical role in conserving biological diversity, such as sustainable coffee farmers. Over the course of their partnership, CI has been instrumental in the development of C.A.F.E. Practices. The program is designed to build long-term relationships with suppliers of high quality coffee who demonstrate excellent performance on sustainability criteria addressing issues such as healthy workplace conditions and conservation of natural ecosystems.

Activities around climate mitigation will be governed by the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) standards (, one of top recognized standards for designing land-management projects can deliver compelling environmental and sustainable development benefits in addition to combating climate change.

Aside from benefiting the farmer communities and the global climate, these investments in coffee growing regions will help to ensure the ecological health of the coffee growing landscape, as healthy, biodiverse forests provide vital services to agriculture, such as freshwater supply, natural pest control, pollination, and soil formation.


Conservation International(CI): Applies innovations in science, economics, policy and community participation to protect the Earth's richest regions of plant and animal diversity in the biodiversity hotspots, high-biodiversity wilderness areas and key marine ecosystems. With headquarters in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, CI works in more than 40 countries on four continents. For more information about CI, visit

Starbucks Coffee Company: Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting the highest quality arabica coffee in the world. Today, with nearly 16,000 stores and more than 170,000 partners (employees) in 44 countries, Starbucks is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. Through our unwavering commitment to excellence and our guiding principles, we bring the unique Starbucks Experience to life for every customer through every cup. To share in the experience, please visit us in our stores or online at

Katrin Olson
Conservation International


Stacey Krum

Conservation International’s Center for Environmental Leadership in Business (CELB) provides a new forum for collaboration between the private sector and the environmental community. Created in partnership with Conservation International (CI) and the Ford Motor Company, CELB operates as a division of CI and is governed by a distinct executive board of leaders from the business and environmental communities-engaging the private sector worldwide in creating solutions to critical global environmental problems in which industry plays a defining role. For further information about CELB, please visit


Katrin Olson
[email protected]

 Photo credits for banner image: (Zebras in Botswana) © CI, Chris Brooks