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Starbucks Wins Gold for Farmer-Friendly C.A.F.E. Initiative

The World Environment Center has selected Starbucks Coffee Company to receive its 21st Annual Gold Medal for International Corporate Achievement in Sustainable Development. The award recognizes Starbucks for international leadership in sustainable development within the specialty coffee industry.

In particular, WEC commends the company's development of Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices, a set of environmentally, socially and economically responsible coffee buying guidelines created in conjunction with Conservation International that are designed to contribute positively to the livelihoods of coffee farmers while placing an emphasis on environmental conservation and supply chain transparency.

Coffee affects the lives of over 25 million farmers in more than 70 countries around the world, many of which are developing regions. Traditional coffee production methods can often adversely affect the surrounding environment through the use of harmful chemicals and unnecessary deforestation. Although Starbucks Coffee Company purchases only 2% of the world's coffee, Starbucks has used its position in the global marketplace to demonstrate how innovation in combining corporate social responsibility and business strategy can lead to long-term economic and environmental sustainability.

The WEC's Gold Medal Jury based its award criteria on a comprehensive group of achievements that demonstrates superior performance in the areas of policy, implementation, and leadership in sustainable development. These ideals are exemplified in Starbucks innovative Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices Program -- an initiative that provides incentives worldwide for suppliers who meet high quality, transparency, environmental, and labor standards. By 2007, the company has pledged to purchase more than 60% of its coffee from suppliers who grow coffee under C.A.F.E. Practices guidelines.

"Incentivizing growers with low cost loans, long-term contracts and guaranteed prices is a pioneering new route to agricultural production," said Gold Medal Jury chairman Dr. Joel Abrams, Professor Emeritus of the University of Pittsburgh. "This creative new way of doing business has the potential to improve the lives of people and the global environment."

The World Environment Center Gold Medal for International Corporate Achievement in Sustainable Development was established in 1985 to recognize preeminent industry leadership initiatives and contributions to worldwide environmental quality and sustainable development. The WEC Gold Medal is awarded annually by an independent Jury comprised of distinguished international environmental experts. The Jury carefully examines all applications submitted by qualified multinational companies each year. Each nomination is examined for a clearly articulated set of values, a history of proven accomplishment, a global outlook and a commitment to sustainable development.

A complete list of Jury members, the Citation for the 2005 WEC Gold Medal Awardee, and a list of previous recipients are available at the WEC Web site.

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