By Jon Swaine
In a move aimed at halting a sharp decline in sales amid the economic downturn, the US coffee shop giant has said that its 700 outlets in the UK and Ireland will only use beans grown by farmers who receive a high enough level of pay to qualify for Fairtrade certification.
The Fairtrade Foundation, which gives certification to growers who were given at least 92p for every pound of their coffee beans, estimated that 100,000 farmers in Africa, Asia and South America will benefit from the decision.
At present, only six per cent of coffee sold by Starbucks qualifies as Fairtrade. The company claims that it will now become the world’s largest buyer of Fairtrade coffee.
The company hopes the move will boost revenues. Earlier this week, it warned that its global sales would be down this year. After years of aggressive expansion in the US, Australia and UK, the company has been closing hundreds of outlets hit by reduced demand.
Howard Schultz, the company’s chairman and chief executive, told The Independent: “We’ve done something that’s far beyond what any coffee company has done before.
"This is a long-term commitment, which will not only benefit our farmers, but will give our customers the assurance that the coffee they’re buying in Starbucks ... is at a price that will allow sustainability for those people who need it most.”Original here