Starbucks Puerto Rico will be donate two million high-quality, plague-resistant coffee seeds to the island’s Agriculture Department, as well as some $1.7 million in grants to World Coffee Research to help rebuild the coffee industry, the company announced.
The sector took a beating from Hurricane María a year ago. The island’s coffee industry valued at $100 million before the hurricane, suffered a destruction of nearly 20 million coffee plantations, resulting in $18 million in damages.
The seeds to be donated are resistant to coffee leaf “rust,” a plague that has proliferated under the effects of climate change, which is devastating to coffee crops.
Meanwhile, through the Starbucks Foundation and EFI Foundation — a Starbucks licensed partner in Puerto Rico — will grant $583,000 for three years to World Coffee Research to improve seed quality and farming practices on the island, executives will announce today.
“Through this seed donation and financial assistance to farmers, Starbucks is committing itself to ensuring the long-term sustainability of Puerto Rico’s coffee industry,” the company stated in a release. Empresas Fonalledas owns the Starbucks franchise in Puerto Rico, which it runs through Baristas del Caribe Inc.
After the hurricane, Starbucks traveled to Puerto Rican farms to meet with farmers and assess the extent of damage.
Together they “identified the opportunity to rebuild so that the coffee industry was better equipped to handle future climate change, resulting in a more productive and resilient industry,” the company added.
This is the latest contribution that Starbucks Puerto Rico is making to support the island’s coffee industry. In December 2017, Starbucks and Baristas del Caribe and their foundations announced they collectively contributed more than $1.3 million toward emergency relief and long-term rebuilding efforts across the region.
The companies also made the following contributions over the past 10 months:
- $125,000 from Starbucks Coffee Company to Unidos por Puerto Rico;
- $75,000 from The Starbucks Foundation to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy;
- $20,000 from The Starbucks Foundation to match donations by customers across the U.S. through the Starbucks mobile app. These funds also supported the Center for Disaster Philanthropy;
- $27,000 from The Starbucks Foundation to World Coffee Research to support rebuilding of the island’s coffee industry;
- Product/in-kind donations from the business, including bottled water and emergency supplies; and,
- $1 million from Empresas Fonalledas Inc. to various nonprofit organizations working on relief and recovery efforts across the Island, as well as assistance to employees. Among the nonprofit organizations are Red Cross, Para la Naturaleza, Habitat for Humanity, World Central Kitchen, Ricky Martin Foundation, Boys & Girls Club, Centros Sor Isolina Ferré, Centro para Puerto Rico and Unidos por Puerto Rico.