March 19, 2013
Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX ) will launch a new agronomy center in Costa Rica to improve farming sustainability and provide insights into future Starbucks blends. The move is part of the company's $70 million ethical sourcing program as well as its billion-dollar commitment to ethically sourcing 100% of its coffee by 2015.
Starbucks' new agronomy center will be converted from a 240-hectare farm near Poas Volcano. The terms of the purchase won't be disclosed until the final closing in May.
Specifically, the farm will further Starbucks' Coffee and Farming Equity practices (C.A.F.E.), an ethical sourcing model that balances coffee quality with social, environmental, and economic impacts. Home to agronomists and quality experts, the center will also look into soil management processes and how it may affect future coffee varietals, or blends, for Starbucks. Researchers are also interested in how the farm's varied elevation may affect responsible growing practices.
The new Costa Rican facility will add to Starbucks' global goals to directly improve farmer livelihoods and a long-term supply of high-quality coffee for the industry. Currently, the company has five other farmer support centers in Rwanda, Tanzania, Colombia, China, and San Jose (Costa Rica).