On National Coffee Day in 2015, the coffee company launched One Tree for Every Bag, an effort to fight against one of the biggest threats to coffee farmers, coffee leaf rust. Specifically, Starbucks pledged to donate one rust-resistant coffee tree to farmers affected by the plant fungus for every bag of coffee sold from September 29, 2015 through September 29, 2016 at its stores across the country. The company expanded the initiative to include brewed coffee sales for National Coffee Day in 2016 and has distributed more than 30 million of the coffee trees in Latin America to date. The goal is to plant 100 million of them by 2025.
Starbucks said it also does additional behind-the-scenes work to ensure it sources its coffee beans responsibly, and to give back to the farmers who grow them. For example, it claims that 99% of the coffee it sells has been verified as "ethically sourced," which means it knows exactly where it comes from, how it's grown, and how it impacts the environment. As part of this year's National Coffee Day promotion, the company launched a new page on website with an extensive account of its coffee-sourcing practices.
"Year-round, Starbucks is dedicated to helping farmers overcome the challenges facing coffee communities and committed to buying 100 percent ethically sourced coffee in partnership with Conservation International," the spokesperson said. "In total, Starbucks has invested more than $100 million in supporting coffee communities through collaborative farmer programs and activities -- including Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices, farmer support centers, farmer loans and forest carbon projects."
All said, you won't get a free cup of coffee at Starbucks for the annual "food holiday," but at least it's for a good reason. There are plenty of other free coffee deals out there, after all.