Starbucks adds new ingredient to “bean to cup” transparency

By James Henderson
Starbucks is adding a new ingredient to take “bean to cup” transparency, which it says will add a new layer to its supply chain traceability. The c...

Starbucks is adding a new ingredient to take “bean to cup” transparency, which it says will add a new layer to its supply chain traceability.

The coffee giant will launch a pilot programme with select coffee farmers in Costa Rica, Colombia and Rwanda to develop next-level data technology to log and share real-time information along the journey of coffee beans with the aim of driving positive impact to smallholder farmers within its supply chain.

“Over the next two years, we will look to demonstrate how technology and innovative data platforms can give coffee farmers even more financial empowerment,” said Kevin Johnson, chief executive officer at Starbucks.

“We’ll leverage an open-source approach to share what we learn with the rest of the world.”

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Traceability technology could have profound implications for connecting coffee drinkers to the farmers who grow it, said Arthur Karuletwa, director of traceability at Starbucks.

“This could be a seismic change in an industry that hasn’t had much innovation in the way coffee moves across borders and oceans,” he said.

“At the same time, I’ve met farmers who have very little by way of possessions, but they have a mobile phone. Digital has become the economic engine of this century, and traceability preserves the most valuable assets we have as human beings – our identity.”

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