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Letter from OCA's Director, Ronnie Cummins, to Starbucks Jan. 2002 and Starbucks' Response:

Sue Mecklenberg Director, Environmental and Community Affairs
Starbucks Coffee Company
2401 Utah Ave. S. Seattle, WA 98134

Jan. 8, 2002

Dear Sue:

We appreciate your ongoing dialogue and are were pleased to read your recent statement with your pledge to not use genetically engineered coffee beans. Although we applaud this action and some of the steps Starbucks has taken in the last year, we still feel these efforts have fallen short of what Starbucks customers expect of a company which has prided itself as being at the forefront of social and environmental responsibility.

We will continue on with our campaign and plan to organize a fourth round of Global Week of Actions to coincide with your annual shareholder meeting. This will be the largest protest to date. We also understand that Starbucks shareholders will be introducing a resolution focusing on your continued use of GE products. Our campaign has been continually growing and we believe this week of actions will be even larger than any of the previous three. Once again we would like to reiterate the demands we have made to Starbucks. We believe that if you take the following steps we will be able to convince our network of committed activists to call off the Frankenbuck$ campaign.

We are asking that Starbucks:

1. Continue to offer organic and soy milk as an option in all of your stores, but publicize this option a lot more and reduce the "organic surcharge" to an acceptable level. We believe 10-15 cents more per cup would more than cover the extra cost to you and encourage your cutomers to buy the organic option.

2. Start sourcing the milk for your bottled Frappuccino drinks and ice cream from a dairy which has pledged not to use rBGH and begin labeling the products as such.  We have been made aware of the fact that your US-produced (and likely rBGH-tainted) Frappuccino drinks are being sold in Canada.  As you may already know rBGH has not been approved by the Canadian Government because of animal and public health concerns.  We believe that you will face a significant public relations problem if public interest groups in Canada are made aware of this.  Also this year we will working to develop a testing kit to be able to determine the presence of rBGH in milk products, such as your coffee drink. Imagine a press conference where we stand outside a Starbucks location and test your Cappuchinos for the presence of rBGH. Starbucks has stated that 25% of their milk supply is already rBGH free.  If you provide us with a list of these dairies we would be willing to help you find other rBGH-free dairies.  Of course we would be delighted if, as you state on your website, you would move to an all organic milk line. We are disappointed to see you shifting from rBGH-free brands (like Kemp's Select to regular Kemp's) to rBGH-tainted brands in places like Minnesota. We don't understand why you are doing this, but it certainly appears as if you aren't acting in good faith if you aren't even buying commercial rBGH-free milk where it's available.

3. Start brewing Fair Trade coffee as the "coffee of the day" on a weekly basis in all of your stores.  Although you have stated that there is not an adequate supply of Fair Trade coffee that meets your quality standard (we disagree) we believe that you could find an ample supply of high quality organic coffee and then work with Transfair and Organic Certification Agencies to insure that it meets Fair Trade labor standards. Brewing Fair Trade once a month is better than nothing (as is agreeing to purchase one million pounds of Fair Trade coffee beans next year), but we believe you need to minimally agree to brewing Fair Trade or Organic once a month and buying four times as much Fair Trade coffee (or Organic coffee whereby the certifier certifies as to Fair Trade type economic payment.)

4. Announce that you will be removing GE ingredients from your baked goods, chocolates, and Ice Cream.  The decision made by Trader Joe¹s last November 14 is clear evidence that it is possible for major US retailers to take the steps necessary to remove GMOs from their product lines.  We believe a year is ample time for your to make these changes.

5. Use independent Third Party verification (Fair Trade or Organic Certifiers such as SKAL) to verify that you are paying at least 1.25 per pound and that this money is getting to the farmers and farm workers not just the middlemen/women or owners.

I look forward to hearing from you. I'll call you in the next few days to follow up on this.


Ronnie Cummins

National Director, OCA

Ronnie Cummins National Director Organic Consumers Association 6101 Cliff Estate Road Little Marais, MN  55614 Tel: 218-226-4164 Fax: 218-353-7652

Dear Ronnie-

We received your memo and letter of January 8 regarding the Organic Consumers Association campaign.  I would like to respond to the points you have made.

1.  We are continuing to offer organic and soy milk as an option in our stores at a price that represents our additional cost.

2.  We have been exploring the options available to us regarding milk in various areas in the US and will be providing an update on our website shortly.

3.  We will be brewing Fair Trade coffee as coffee of the day once a month beginning in May 2002.  We are also currently engaged in a significant Fair Trade promotion on college and university campuses.  Because of the difficulty we have had in finding substantial supplies of high quality coffee, we are launching a two-year Fair Trade coffee quality improvement project with a major foundation and highly respected NGO.  Additionally, we continue to talk with the International Fair Trade Labeling Organization about the possibility of offering Fair Trade coffee internationally.

4.  We have also been exploring the options available to us regarding GM ingredients and will be providing an update on our website about this subject shortly. Starbucks will continue to comply with the laws and regulations of all the countries in which it does business.

5.  We recently announced new coffee sourcing guidelines that provide incentives to farmers to meet social, environmental and economic criteria.  These guidelines reward transparency and require independent verification of claims and provide for third-party auditing.   I am attaching the guidelines and the link to our website that describes them.

<<Preferred Supplier English.pdf


I think you will find we have made significant progress in these areas along with many others changes in our company as we strive to operate our business in ways that produce social, environmental and economic benefits to Starbucks communities globally.


Sue Mecklenburg

vice president, business practices

Starbucks Coffee Company 206-318-7653 (phone) 206-447-3029 (fax)

Is Starbucks coming around? Click here for FAQ about the Starbucks campaign.


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