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WWF Report: Major Companies Buying Coffee Illegally Grown in Tiger, Rhino and Elephant Habitat
WASHINGTON, Jan. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Coffee lovers all over the world are unknowingly drinking coffee that was illegally grown inside one of
the world's most important national parks for tigers, elephants and rhinos,
according to an investigative report released today by World Wildlife Fund
(WWF). Illegally grown coffee from Indonesia is mixed with legally grown
coffee beans and sold to such companies as Kraft Foods and Nestle among
other major companies in the United States and abroad.
WWF tracked the illegal cultivation of coffee inside Indonesia's remote
Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park (BBS) all the way through its export
routes to multinational coffee companies and the shelves of grocery stores
across the United States, Europe and Asia using satellite imaging,
interviews with coffee farmers and traders, and by monitoring coffee trade
routes. Trade of illegal coffee is possible because neither exporters nor
importers have any mechanisms in place to prevent the illegal beans from
entering the supply chains.
Bukit Barisan Selatan, a World Heritage Site on the southern tip of
Sumatra Island, is one of the few protected areas where Sumatran tigers,
elephants and rhinos coexist. It has already lost nearly 30 percent of its
forest cover to illegal agriculture, most of which is for coffee
production. "No consumer wants their morning cup of coffee to contribute to the
demise of endangered tigers," said Carter Roberts, President and CEO of
WWF-US. "The findings in this report illustrate the challenge of ensuring
that global trade respects environmental concerns. We're raising awareness
of the issue but we're also actively working with companies to implement
constructive solutions to the problem".
Indonesia is the world's second-largest exporter of robusta, a kind of
bean often used in instant and packaged coffee sold in supermarkets. At
least half the country's coffee is exported through the port of Lampung,
adjacent to the national park.
WWF's investigation found farmers growing coffee on more than 173
square miles of park land (about two-thirds the size of Chicago) and
producing more than 19,600 tons of coffee there each year. Most wildlife
has already abandoned the sections of the park that have been illegally
converted to coffee plantations. Illegally grown coffee is exported to at
least 52 countries.
The report determined that most of the companies buying the coffee
likely were unaware of its illegal origins. WWF provided draft copies of
the report's findings to the top recipients of Lampung coffee tainted with
illegal beans from Bukit Barisan Selatan. The reaction of the companies has
been mixed. Some companies are currently in discussion with WWF on how to
avoid purchases of illegally grown coffee, boost production of sustainably
grown coffee and restore wildlife habitat in the park, while others have
denied any purchasing of illegally grown coffee.
"These companies can do better," continued Roberts. "The multinational
coffee companies mentioned in this report should implement rigorous
chain-of- custody controls to ensure that they no longer buy illegally
grown coffee, as well as support park protection and restoration efforts."
WWF is also asking involved coffee-buying companies to work with local
Sumatran growers and traders to provide incentives to switch to sustainable
coffee production outside the park. The report recommends that Indonesian
authorities prevent further encroachment into the park and develop
regulations that prevent illegally grown coffee from infiltrating
Worldwide, WWF engages with a variety of businesses to improve their
product sourcing. Part of WWF's overall strategy is to help companies find
better ways to use their purchasing power to promote better agricultural
and forestry practices.
[bCONTACT: Tom Lalley of World Wildlife Fund, +1-202-778-9544,
This news release and associated material can be found on