C. Bhandari shared:
>Starbucks to Buy More 'Fair Trade' Coffee
>SEATTLE (Reuters) - Starbucks Corp. (SBUX.O) said on Monday it will buy
>more coffee beans from importers paying
>above-market prices to small farmers and will sell them in its more than
>2,000 U.S. coffee shops and on its Web site.
>The Seattle coffee giant will buy an unspecified amount of ''fair trade''
>beans from wholesalers certified by nonprofit
>TransFair USA to pay up to three times the 30 cents per pound farmers
>Starbucks will pay a minimum of $1.26 per pound, a price above the current
>world market rate but less than its average
>cost, to co-operatives that pay up to $1 a pound to farmers. The program
>will begin in Central America but may expand to
>``We have a coffee mission that exhorts us to focus attention on the
>quality of coffee, the environment and the lives of the
>people who produce it,'' said Dave Olsen, Starbucks senior vice president
>for corporate responsibility.
>Activist group Global Exchange, which has repeatedly urged Starbucks to
>buy fair trade coffee and had planned protests at
>its coffee shops in 30 cities this week, hailed the deal as a step toward
>ending exploitation of coffee growers.
>``We focused on Starbucks because it's the industry leader and a wildly
>profitable one,'' said Global Exchange spokesman
>Jason Mark. ``This is a gigantic first step toward establishing fair trade
>coffee as an economically viable alternative.''
>If the company sold just one pound per store per day that would total
>nearly a million pounds per year -- a huge increase
>from the 75,000 pounds of fair-trade beans Starbucks said in February that
>it had bought.
>Starbucks shares were down 2-3/16 at 37-7/8 in afternoon Nasdaq trading.
>Starbucks declined to say how much fair trade coffee it would buy, but it
>did commit itself to keeping the beans on its
>shelves for at least a year, at which point it would reevaluate the
>In the past Starbucks said fair trade coffee often failed to meet its
>quality standards. But Olsen said uneven quality is
>typical for new suppliers and the company has been working to educate
>growers on how to improve their product.
>``We began reviewing sources of fair trade coffee months ago. Like samples
>from any new supplier, quality and flavor
>vary from pretty darn good to not so good at all,'' he added.
>For TransFair and Global Exchange, the deal with Starbucks represents a
>potential springboard for launching deals with
>other major coffee shops and retail coffee sellers.
>``We have tried to reach everyone in the industry. People are selling
>gourmet coffee for $15 a pound, but the farmers are
>getting left behind,'' Rice said.
>TransFair also approached Peet's Coffee, Diedrich Coffee Inc. (DDRX.O) and
>Seattle's Best, but none of those signed on
>for fair trade coffee.
>All parties agreed that the future of the program would depend heavily on
>consumers. If enough demand surfaced,
>Starbucks and TransFair could easily expand the program. Reut15:03
So the little band of anarchists trash a Seattle Starbucks during WTO and now they've seen the light - a clear endorsement of the protest.