Coffee drinkers can help protect endangered rain forests and small farming communities in Mexico when they enjoy Shade Grown Mexico(TM), which returns to Starbucks Coffee Company (Nasdaq: SBUX) on August 16. Starbucks also announced today an elevated commitment to Conservation International (CI) of $600,000 over the next three years. Shade Grown Mexico is one of the successful outcomes of the collaboration between the two organizations.

Starbucks Shade Grown Mexico coffee comes from the flagship Conservation International Conservation Coffee(TM) project in El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve in Chiapas, Mexico. It is sold in 16-ounce bags for $12.95 ($16.95 in Canada) in retail stores and on The coffee, part of the Lively Impressions(TM) family, is a light-to-medium bodied coffee with bold acidity and a crisp, refreshing finish. It is certified organic by the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

"We are excited to have this high quality Shade Grown Mexico coffee return to Starbucks for a second consecutive year," said Mary Williams, senior vice president of Coffee. "Starbucks values the relationship with Conservation International and we look forward to our continued collaboration of supporting programs in other origin countries."

Based upon the success of the initial Conservation Coffee program, Starbucks elevated their commitment to develop five new projects in Latin America, Asia and Africa in an effort to replicate the success of the Chiapas Conservation Coffee site. CI works with farmers to promote such practices as water and soil conservation, crop diversification, and chemical fertilizer and pesticide reduction that help protect the surrounding forest, streams and wildlife. Starbucks works with CI and the cooperatives providing farmers with financial support and technical assistance to raise the quality of their coffee. With its added funding, Starbucks will have committed $750,000 to CI since 1998.

Coffee that is grown in the shade has a lower impact on its surrounding environment than "sun" coffee, which requires higher chemical input and the removal of forests. Shade coffee can be an important part of an integrated conservation strategy for sensitive ecosystems.

"Starbucks is making a real difference in the quality of the natural environment while helping farmers that live in sensitive ecosystems," said Peter Seligmann, CI chairman and ceo. "Our project in Chiapas has resulted in a 40 percent average increase in coffee farmers' earnings, a 100 percent growth in the cooperative's international coffee sales and $200,000 in non- Starbucks harvest loans to farmers' cooperatives."

"Today, more than 600 farmers are involved with the Conservation Coffee program in Chiapas, which is a 30 percent increase in the number participating from the past year," Seligmann added.

Additionally, Starbucks is unveiling a new year-round sustainable coffee category, including shade grown, organic or Fair Trade selections. Shade Grown Mexico launches the new line that will be available at more than 2,400 Starbucks retail stores throughout the United States, Canada and in select international markets. Organic Costa Rica was most recently offered in May 2000. Fair Trade coffee, made possible through Starbucks relationship with TransFair USA, will be available in U.S. locations and on in October.

"Starbucks new year-round sustainable coffee offering program reiterates our commitment to our guiding principles, which includes contributing positively to our communities and environment," said Orin Smith, Starbucks president and ceo. "Our long-term efforts and support of programs in origin countries will continue so that Starbucks may help protect biodiversity and improve the lives of families in coffee farming communities."

Conservation International works in 27 countries to protect global biodiversity and demonstrate that human societies can live harmoniously with nature. CI develops scientific, policy, and economic solutions to protect threatened natural ecosystems that are rich in biodiversity.

Starbucks Coffee Company is the leading retailer, roaster and brand of specialty coffee in the world. In addition to its retail locations in North America, the United Kingdom, the Pacific Rim and the Middle East, Starbucks sells coffee and tea products through its specialty operations, including its online store at Additionally Starbucks produces and sells bottled Frappuccino® coffee drink and a line of super-premium ice creams through its joint venture partnerships and offers a line of innovative premium teas produced by its wholly owned subsidiary, Tazo Tea Company.