C.A.F.E. Practices

C.A.F.E. Practices is a verification program developed by Starbucks in collaboration with Conservation International and SCS Global Services to assess the coffee supply chain and ensure the sustainability of the product in economic, social and environmental aspects.

Aimed at continuous supply chain improvement and promoting sustainability, the C.A.F.E. Practices (Coffee and Farmer Fairness Practices) program was launched in 2004 as one of the coffee industry's first ethical sourcing standards.

Developed by Starbucks in collaboration with Conservation International and SCS Global Services, the verification program aims to evaluate producers, processors and suppliers in the coffee industry with a focus on economic, social and environmental criteria. The program has helped Starbucks create a long-term supply of high-quality coffee and positively impact the lives and livelihoods of coffee farmers and their communities.

C.A.F.E. Practices includes a third-party verification process that is overseen by SCS Global Services, which is responsible for ensuring the quality and integrity of the audits

What are the criteria of the C.A.F.E. Practices verification?

  • Economic Transparency: Suppliers are required to provide proof of payments made for coffee beans throughout the supply chain, including how much was paid directly to farmers for coffee.
  • Social Responsibility: Coffee growers must protect the rights of the people who work on their farms and must adopt measures that promote a safe, fair and humane working environment. This includes criteria on wages and benefits, hiring practices, working hours, use of protective equipment, access to medical care, and education. Permanent and temporary/seasonal workers must be paid at least the nationally or regionally established legal minimum wage on a regular basis. There is no tolerance for any form of child labor.
  • Environmental Leadership: In growing and processing coffee, the program promotes sustainable agricultural practices, including measures to protect water quality, improve soil health, preserve biodiversity, reduce the use of agrochemicals, and conserve water and energy. The program has prohibited the conversion of natural forest to agricultural production since 2004, and the use of pesticides.
  • Quality: All production must meet high quality standards. Starbucks offers premiums that support farmer profitability above the commercial market price. These premiums are driven by the purchase of premium quality coffee that is verified as ethically sourced by C.A.F.E. Practices.

What is assessed during the C.A.F.E. Practices verification?

  1. The first thing is to assess coffee quality and ensure that suppliers transparently transmit financial information down to the producer level before any business is even done. This is a prerequisite for doing business with Starbucks.
  2. Suppliers then submit a formal request to Starbucks detailing their entire coffee supply chain and committing to implement the program's guidelines.
  3. Next, the company responsible for the third-party audit, which must be approved and overseen by SCS Global Services, conducts inspections of farm milling facilities and warehouses within the supply chain to evaluate supplier performance following the more than 200 items indicated on the scorecards.
  4. Detailed verification reports are sent to Starbucks to assign the supplier's status in the program according to the data analyzed.
  5. Once approved, the supplier is responsible for meeting the program standard. To improve their C.A.F.E. Practices status, suppliers can also rely on Starbucks support through the Farmer Support Center.
  6. To maintain active status in the program, each supply chain must pass a re-check, with the frequency to be established according to performance in the program.

Why verify with C.A.F.E. Practices?

  • Continuous improvement: C.A.F.E. Practices is a verification program, not a one-time certification system. This means that work to ensure the supply of high quality coffee is done over the long term with the goal of positively impacting farming communities.
  • Impact on stakeholders: Starbucks seeks to enhance the program by working with groups like Conservation International to measure the influence that procurement programs have on participating farmers and producers.
  • Recognized globally: The program enables Starbucks to gain insights into the challenges faced by farmers and supply chain operations in more than 30 coffee-producing countries around the world.

Why choose QIMA/WQS for C.A.F.E. Practices verification?

  • Our team, with over 30 years of experience in the food industry supply chain, is ready to deliver end-to-end quality solutions for your business.
  • Specialized in the food area, QIMA/WQS has a structure designed to start your service with speed and availability to clarify any questions that may arise along the way.
  • Experienced and approved local auditors for various programs, specialized in all areas of quality and food safety.
  • More than 9,000 satisfied customers in all stages of the food chain are proof of the quality, dedication, and success offered by QIMA/WQS.