Costa the Latest UK Company to Choose Rainforest Alliance Certified

April 10, 2008

Costa coffee lovers will have even more reason to enjoy their authentically Italian coffee as the UK's largest and fastest growing coffee shop becomes the first to source its entire coffee supply from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms.

From September 2008 at least 30 percent of the coffee used in Costa's unique Mocha Italia coffee blend, which forms the base of its coffee drinks, will come from certified sources, equal to about 1000 tonnes of green coffee over the course of a year.

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."

And while UK consumers will be among the first to see the difference in store the change will have an international impact across Costa's 1,000 stores worldwide. The most recent store opened in Moscow, Russia at the end of March 2008.

Costa is the latest in a line of leading UK food and drink companies to announce commitments to sustainable sourcing. PG Tips tea and Good Natured fruit juice have both launched Rainforest Alliance Certified products this year. Lavazza's Tierra coffee, sourced from Rainforest Aliance Certified farms, has been available in JD Wetherspoons nationwide since January.

David Hutchinson and Tensie Whelan

And in March McDonald's UK followed last year's introduction of certified coffee from Kenco with news of a switch to PG Tips tea. At least 50 percent of the tea in PG tips comes from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms and Unilever, owners of the PG Tips brand, plan to have all their tea sourced from certified farms by 2015.

Costa'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."

In the first year the company will source around 1,000 tons of green beans from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms in Colombia, Costa Rica, Brazil and Guatemala. But over time the commitment will bring farms in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Vietnam into the certification programme.

"The 108 million cups of coffee sold in Costa Coffee shops each year really can make a difference to the quality of life of coffee farmers, farm workers and their families as well as protecting the environment," David Hutchinson said.

In order to earn the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal, farms must meet rigorous standards developed by the Rainforest Alliance, an independent, international environment organisation, and other conservation groups that comprise the Sustainable Agriculture Network.

Farms must make improvements in the way the farm is managed including reducing pesticide use, improving worker safety, ensuring workers have decent housing and access to clean water, as well as education and medical care for themselves and their families. Wildlife and water, forests and soils must also be protected.

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