Scientific Expeditions Will Help Improve Sustainable Coffee Farming
© Pernille Risgaard
This summer, eight Starbucks employees and twenty customers will join Earthwatch-supported research at CoopeTarrazú, a coffee cooperative in central Costa Rica. Earthwatch teams will collect data that coffee farmers can use to ensure environmental sustainability.
Earthwatch Institute, Maynard, MA, 1 February 2007 - Earthwatch Institute, the world's leading environmental volunteer organization, and Starbucks Coffee Company (NASDAQ: SBUX) are proud to announce the extension of their partnership that brings Starbucks partners (employees) and customers together on Earthwatch environmental expeditions. The 2007 project will focus on conducting scientific research designed to benefit a cooperative of 2,600 coffee farms in Costa Rica.
Partners and customers with a taste for adventure can participate in this different kind of Starbucks Experience, at the source of the bean, and do good deeds for the environment. This summer, eight partners and 20 customers will have a chance to join special Earthwatch expeditions at CoopeTarrazú, a coffee cooperative in central Costa Rica. These Earthwatch volunteer teams will use GIS (Geographic Information System) technology to provide a broad scale analysis of factors important to a farmer - including soil erosion and water quality. This program is the first component of Starbucks' $1.1 million, three-year commitment, representing the growing partnership with the Earthwatch Institute that began in 2000.
"Coffee and our partners are the foundation of Starbucks' success," said Dub Hay, Starbucks senior vice president, Coffee and Global Procurement. "By extending our successful partnership with Earthwatch, we are able to provide a unique and uplifting experience for our partners and customers, while continuing the work we do with farmers to help ensure their long-term success."
In 2005, Starbucks sent partners and customers on a two-week Earthwatch expedition to plant tree seedlings, restoring part of Costa Rica's vanishing rainforest. "Planting trees to help restore the rainforest in Agua Buena, Costa Rica was an amazing, life-changing opportunity," said Amber Chenoweth, a Starbucks partner in Seattle who was selected to participate as a volunteer on the expedition. "I was able to blend all my passions: connecting with others, coffee, conservation, photography and helping others. I actually got to live the Starbucks guiding principle: contributing positively to our communities and environment."
Earthwatch volunteers at CoopeTarrazú will map water resources and biodiversity indicators, such as the number and types of trees and insects. Local farmers will receive the maps, research results, and management tools to enhance the environmental sustainability of their farms, as well as yield and quality of their coffee. In addition, the partnership will provide support for educational development and fostering community for 40 local leaders.
Starbucks, a leader in the global community, and Earthwatch have worked together on 15 different conservation projects. The partnership spawned expeditions in diverse settings around the world, including Kenya, Belize, and Vietnam. The research at CoopeTarrazú is just one of more than 130 ongoing Earthwatch field research projects around the globe. Since the early 1990s, Earthwatch has been working with organizations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America on a number of conservation issues to provide training and networking opportunities in communities where research is being conducted. These individuals use their experiences to directly influence management and conservation activities. "By involving the people in the issues," said Dr. Marie Studer, chief science officer at Earthwatch, "the joint Starbucks-Earthwatch program not only provides tools and options to the farmers to better manage their farms, but also helps raise awareness in the global community."
Starting in April, customers can enter the sweepstakes online at www.starbucks.com/earthwatch or via a contest on the Gather.com community to join this year's research expedition. Winning customers will be an integral part of the Earthwatch research effort at CoopeTarrazú. More information available in Starbucks stores and via http://www.starbucks.com/ beginning in April. The customer sweepstakes ends May 15, 2007.
Earthwatch's mission is to engage people worldwide in scientific field research and education to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment. Earthwatch works with over 40 Fortune 500 corporations as a leading volunteer organization. For the second year in a row, Earthwatch has earned a 4-star rating, the highest rating from Charity Navigator, indicating that Earthwatch Institute exceeds standards and outperforms most charities in America. More info at www.earthwatch.org
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