Costa Stirs Up Coffee Market by Sourcing Beans from Rainforest Alliance Certified Farms

October 03, 2008 // Franchising.com // Costa cup chalk drawing in Covent Garden 02 October 2008From 2 October 2008, every cup of coffee sold by Costa, the UK's largest and fastest growing coffee shop chain, will be made up of beans sourced from Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM farms across all 785 of its UK stores.*

The move means that from today, Costa will buy almost 1,500 tonnes of green beans, already achieving 30% of its annual requirements from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms. Costa and the Rainforest Alliance are discussing how to steadily increase this percentage as more farms are certified.

Rainforest Alliance works with farmers to ensure farms are not only run in an environmentally sustainable manner, but also improve conditions for workers and their families. This includes:

  • Ensuring the environment is protected
  • Improving worker safety
  • Ensuring workers are paid decent wages
  • Ensuring workers have housing and access to clean water
  • Ensuring workers have access to education and medical care

To celebrate the launch, Costa Coffee has commissioned leading pavement artist, Manfred Stader to create a giant 3D image of a Costa cup, using chalk and coffee roasting waste product from Costa's very own Roastery in Lambeth, London. Chocolate dusting of a frog, the well-known symbol from the Rainforest Alliance logo will be replicated on top of the coffee froth. The event will take place at Covent Garden Piazza on 2 October.

John Derkach, Managing Director of Costa Coffee, said: "As the UK's largest and fastest growing coffee shop chain, we believe we have a responsibility to ensure that coffee production is sustainable, that it supports coffee growing communities and protects the environment. Recent YouGov research has revealed that UK consumers want ethically sourced coffee, another reason why we have made this important choice for our business. The work that the Rainforest Alliance does also complements our Costa Foundation projects perfectly."

Tensie Whelan, President of Rainforest Alliance said: "Costa Coffee's commitment to source increasing amounts of coffee from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms demonstrates that sustainably sourced coffee really is now the mainstream choice. Costa customers can enjoy a great tasting cup of coffee knowing that it comes from well managed farms where workers are well cared for, children are able to go to school and forests and wildlife are protected."

Notes to Editors:

Coffee made up of beans sourced from Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM farms will be available in the rest of our global stores by January 2009, in 24 markets in over 300 stores.

Costa Coffee is sold through all of Whitbread's extended brands including Premier Inn, Beefeater, Brewer's Fayre, Table Table, and pub restaurants.

About Rainforest Alliance:

The Rainforest Alliance is an international environment organisation that works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behaviour. The Rainforest Alliance pioneered the practice of setting standards and certifying well-managed forests nearly 20 years ago, and developed comprehensive principles and standards for sustainable agriculture shortly thereafter. For more information visit: http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/.

The Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM seal appears on agricultural products that comply with the standards of the Sustainable Agriculture Network (a group of NGOs of which the Rainforest Alliance serves as the Secretariat) and should not be confused with any other certification mark or product label. Care should be taken when referring to labels generically, as terms such as ethical, fair, or sustainable have specific meanings within the scope of each label's approach to improving the social and environmental impact of business and commerce.

Challenges Costa faces in sourcing 100% of its beans from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms

  • Costa Coffee's unique Mocha Italia coffee is a blend of beans from up to eight countries at any one time. To continue to deliver the same quality and taste we need to source beans that match the needs of our blend. At this time there is not sufficient amounts of the quality coffee we need available from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms. And there are no Rainforest Alliance Certified farms in three of the countries we source from - Vietnam, Kenya and Uganda.
  • Also, every time we make any changes to the composition of the Mocha Italia blend, we have to completely re-formulate it. It is extremely time consuming finding the correct blend of beans to maintain the quality and consistency of Costa's Mocha Italia blend. In fact this means that we can only make one change once a year or 18 months.

About Costa:

Costa is now officially the largest and fastest growing coffee shop chain in the UK. It opened its 1000th milestone store in March 2008 in Moscow.

In 2007/08, Costa reported turnover up 23.5% to £216.3 million, like for like sales up by 6.5% and profits of £20.8 million up 16.9%.

Costa was founded by Italian brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa in 1971. With 785 stores in the UK and over 300 internationally, Costa has enjoyed a remarkable period of growth since it opened its first store. It now operates in 24 countries.

Costa Coffee is the first UK coffee shop chain to commit sourcing Rainforest Alliance Certified Coffee.

Costa set up a registered charity (no.327489) in 2006 called 'The Costa Foundation' to give something back to the communities within the countries from which Costa sources its coffee beans.

Costa is part of the Whitbread family of brands.

http://www.costa.co.uk

About Whitbread:

Whitbread PLC is the UK's largest hotel and restaurant company operating market-leading businesses in the budget hotels and restaurant sectors. Its brands include Premier Inn, Beefeater, Table Table, Brewers Fayre, Taybarns and Costa Coffee.

Whitbread PLC employs over 33,000 people and serves 8.5 million customers every month in its 1500 outlets across the UK.

In the financial year ending 28th February 2008, Whitbread PLC reported an 11.3% increase in Group Revenue to £1.18 billion and 26.3% increase in Pre-tax Profit to £210.3 million.

Whitbread PLC is a FTSE 100 company, listed on the London Stock Exchange. It is also a member of the FTSE4Good Index. In August 2008, Whitbread's market capitalization was circa £2.0 billion.

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