COSTA Coffee has pledged to buy its entire supply of coffee beans from Rainforest Alliance certified farms.
It will become the first UK coffee chain to make such a wholesale commitment to buying the most ethical products from sustainable sources, and plans to complete the buying restructuring 100 per cent by 2010. From September this year the figure will already be at 30 per cent in the ‘Mocha Italia’ blend that forms the base of all its coffee drinks.
In the first year of the changeover, Costa will be purchasing 1,000 tonnes of green beans from farms in Colombia, Costa Rica, Brazil and Guatemala. Long term this will extend to Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Vietnam.
The Costa Foundation has been investing in education and providing access to clean water and sanitation for coffee communities since it was launched in 2006. In 2007 the Foundation raised more than £300,000, which was invested in building schools, providing teacher housing and teaching materials in Colombia, Ethiopia and Uganda.
David Hutchinson, marketing director, said: “The 108 million cups of coffee sold in Costa Coffee shops each year really can make a difference to the quality of life of coffee farmers, farm workers and their families as well as protecting the environment.
“Costa is at the beginning of a journey towards greater sustainability in its business. We know it will take time to convert our supply base to certified sustainable sources but we believe it’s an investment that is right for our business, right for the coffee industry as a whole and we believe it’s a journey our customers will want to be part of.”
Tensie Whelan, president of the Rainforest Alliance said: “We are delighted to work with Costa Coffee to bring sustainably sourced coffee to the UK’s leading high street coffee chain and to more coffee growing communities globally. Costa’s decision is demonstration of their commitment to not just quality coffee but also the quality of life of coffee communities.”