McDonald’s has announced that it will invest $6.5 million during the next five years to support sustainable and profitable agriculture models for 13,000 Guatemalan coffee growers in its supply chain.
The funds will allow the Central American coffee growers to produce higher quality beans in more sustainable environments than current growing situations permit. McDonald’s sources its Arabica coffee beans from the region, and sales of the fast-food restaurant chain’s coffee products have doubled in sales since 2006, reports Bloomberg. And sales of both hot and iced coffees make up around seven percent of the company’s more than $8.8 billion in annual revenue.
“Investing in both certification and sustainable agriculture training addresses the immediate need to assist farmers today, expands capacity for greater sustainable coffee production in the future and helps assure our customers we will continue to provide the taste profile they have grown to love and expect from McDonald’s,” Susan Forsell, the vice president of sustainability, said in the statement.
Among the issues Guatemalan coffee growers are facing is the fungal disease known as leaf rust. It’s most aggressive in high temperature regions prone to humidity. “We are aware of this issue and continue to work with experts on the ground in Guatemala, alongside our coffee roasters, to understand its impact,” Ofelia Casillas, a company spokeswoman, said in a statement.
McDonald’s already sources its Rainforest Alliance Certified espresso coffee beans from sustainable farms in countries including Brazil Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Sumatra as well as Guatemala.