You probably haven’t heard of coffee rust, but it is devastating coffee trees in Latin America. Essentially, it is a fungus that attacks coffee trees and decimates a tree’s ability to produce high-quality coffee.
So, to help celebrate National Coffee Day in the United States, Starbucks decided to help combat the effects of coffee rust by donating trees to Latin American coffee farmers impacted by the fungus.
On 29 September 2016, Starbucks donated a tree on behalf of each customer who purchases a brewed Mexico Chiapas coffee in a participating US and Mexico stores.
In the last year, Starbucks has donated enough funds to plant 18 million rust-resistant coffee trees, 10 million of which have already been distributed to farmers in need. The company hopes that this new initiative will help it reach its goal of 20 million donated trees by the end of the year.
“I have seen firsthand the devastation coffee rust has had on farmers. The initial distribution of these coffee trees has already had a positive impact with potential to help farmers and their families for years to come,” says Craig Russell, executive vice president, Starbucks Global Coffee.
“We have an ambitious goal of planting 20 million trees and celebrating Chiapas coffee, the birthplace of our ethical sourcing program over a decade ago. This is the perfect way to have our customers and the coffee community become part of the solution on National Coffee Day.”