Britain's Costa Coffee have announced plans to convert its entire coffee bean supply to sustainably grown beans sourced from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms by 2010. The Rainforest Alliance is an independent, international non-profit NGO that works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behaviour.
Only farms that meet specific standards balancing all aspects of production, including protecting the environment, the rights and welfare of workers and the interest of coffee-growing communities are awarded certification. The standards were developed by the Rainforest Alliance, an independent, international environment organisation, and other conservation groups that comprise the Sustainable Agriculture Network.
The base of all coffee beverages at Costa is their unique Mocha Italia blend. Starting September 2008, at least 30% of the coffee beans that make up that blend, will come from Rainforest Alliance Certified sources. This is equal to about one thousand tonnes of green coffee over the course of a year.
Although it will be UK customers who will be the first to see the difference, the change will have an international impact across the one thousand plus Costa stores worldwide.
Costa Coffee’s Marketing Director, David Hutchinson said: “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.
“Costa’s success is built on a commitment to quality, authentic espresso coffee. And in Costa’s view quality coffee comes from well managed farms that care for their workers and protect the environment on which they, and we, depend. That’s why Costa has decided to partner with the Rainforest Alliance to support coffee farmers and communities that are investing in sustainable farming practices,” David Hutchinson continued.
The announcement follows the successful establishment of the Costa Foundation in 2006 which supports coffee communities through investment in education and access to clean water and sanitation. In 2007 the Costa Foundation raised more than £300,000 which was invested in building schools, providing teacher housing and teaching materials in Colombia, Ethiopia and Uganda.
Costa Coffee now plans to embed further investment in a sustainable future for coffee growing communities globally through its supply chain. Costa’s Mocha Italia blend is roasted in its very own roastery based in Lambeth, South London, and is made up of coffee sourced from eight countries.
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.”