Ask the Experts: Why Don't More Companies Use Ethically-Sourced Ingredients?

Martin Nijenhuis/CC BY-ND 2.0

What's the biggest factor preventing more companies developing ethical sourcing policies for their ingredients?

Ben Packard from Starbucks answers:

"In my mind, the biggest factor holding companies back is the misunderstanding that it's not just the right thing to do, it's the right thing to do for business success. This is a fundamental change companies must embrace.

Ingredient policies, or standards, are an essential part of Starbucks ethical sourcing approach. After many years of work in this area connecting standards with technical assistance and farmer financing, we have seen first-hand how our long-term success is linked to the success of the hundreds of thousands of people who supply our products. That's why we work hand-in-hand with producers to help improve quality and ensure environmental and social best practices.

The best example of our policies at work is the implementation of our C.A.F.E. Practices which we developed in collaboration with Conservation International nearly a decade ago. This stringent verification program is a set of more than 200 social, economic and environmental indicators (evaluated by third-party organizations) that help us to evaluate and reward producers of high-quality, socially responsible and sustainably grown coffee. In doing so, C.A.F.E. Practices helps to build more resilient farming communities that can more readily adapt to change in weather patterns (i.e. Climate change) or coffee related challenges such as pests or disease issues while meeting our continued need for high quality Arabica coffee.

In short, investing in responsible sourcing policies means we are directly ensuring a long-term supply of high quality ingredients that help foster a better future for farmers and a more stable climate for the planet.  All of which are critical elements of our success at Starbucks Coffee Company."

© Starbucks

Ben Packard is vice president, Global Responsibility for Starbucks Coffee Company.

Tags: Ask The Experts | Corporate Responsibility | Earth Day | Ethical | Fair Trade