Starbucks to Invest Additional $2 Million in Root Capital
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Investment to Improve Quality of Life for Farmers in Africa and Latin America.
San Francisco, California, September 1, 2009—The Starbucks Coffee Company announced today an additional $2 million investment in Root Capital, a nonprofit social investment fund that is pioneering finance for rural communities in developing countries. This commitment, announced at the Social Capital Market 2009 Conference, brings Starbucks total investment in Root Capital’s fund to $9 million and marks the five-year anniversary since their first investment in 2004.
Root Capital provides capital, delivers financial training, and strengthens market connections to small and growing businesses – such as farmer cooperatives – that build sustainable livelihoods and transform rural communities in poor, environmentally vulnerable places. Since its launch in 1999, it has provided more than $150 million in loans to 255 small and growing businesses, representing 370,000 individuals in 30 countries throughout Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Root Capital maintains an impressive 99% repayment rate from its borrowers and a 100% payment rate to investors.
“Starbucks is committed to the success and well-being of the thousands of farmers who grow its coffee—and providing access to finance to them is essential,” said Ben Packard, vice president, Global Responsibility, Starbucks Coffee Company. “Our partnership with Root Capital and our growing investment in their fund will help to strengthen and stabilize our supply chain and ultimately help improve farmer livelihoods.”
“Root Capital is honored by Starbucks growing investment in our fund,” said William Foote, Founder and CEO of Root Capital. “Filling the ‘missing middle’ of finance in developing countries – the underserved gap between microfinance and corporate banking – plays a critical role in alleviating global poverty.”
Of the 2.6 billion people living on less than $2 a day, the majority live in rural areas and lack access to clean water, electricity, health services and medicine, and basic education. To meet these basic needs and build prosperity in poor rural areas, Root Capital’s social investment fund is working to dramatically increase farm household incomes. Through short-term harvest loans and long-term capital loans, farmers are empowered to sell their crops at the right time to get the best price and to invest in their own farms by making capital improvements.
Starbucks collaboration with Root Capital is part of the Starbucks™ Shared Planet™ Initiative’s goal that by 2015 100% of its coffee will be responsibly grown and ethically traded. Starbucks hopes to nearly double its investment in these kinds of programs to $20 million by 2015. More information about Starbucks™ Shared Planet™, the company’s relationship with Fair Trade, and other coffee buying practices are available in Starbucks 2008 Global Responsibility Report. The report can be accessed at www.Starbucks.com/sharedplanet.
About Root Capital
Root Capital is pioneering finance for grassroots businesses that build sustainable livelihoods and transform rural communities in poor, environmentally vulnerable places. By working with small and growing businesses, Root Capital aims to fill the “missing middle” of finance in developing countries – the underserved gap between microfinance and commercial banking. Additional industry partners and investors include Ashoka, Calvert Social Investment Foundation, Citi Foundation, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, Foley Hoag LLP, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inter-American Development Bank, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, Kendeda Sustainability Fund, Peru Opportunity Fund, The Rockefeller Foundation, Skoll Foundation, and Trillium Asset Management Corporation. For more information, visit www.rootcapital.org.
Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting the highest quality arabica coffee in the world. Today, with stores around the globe, the company is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. Through our unwavering commitment to excellence and our guiding principles, we bring the unique Starbucks Experience to life for every customer through every cup. To share in the experience, please visit us in our stores or online at www.starbucks.com.