Starbucks Fears Climate Change Could Harm World's Coffee Supply

10/16/2011 03:02 pm ET | Updated Dec 16, 2011

Starbucks lovers, beware. It looks like your precious coffee could be on the endangered list thanks to climate change.

"What we are really seeing as a company as we look 10, 20, 30 years down the road - if conditions continue as they are - is a potentially significant risk to our supply chain, which is the Arabica coffee bean," said Starbucks Sustainability Director Jim Hanna in a phone interview with the Guardian.

In addition to Central America's farmers already feeling the effects of global warming on their crops, Hanna told the Guardian of his plans to visit Washington to speak to members of Congress at a Union of Concerned Scientists event to speak about climate change and coffee.

The move comes after rumors circulated this week that Starbucks might be considering juice bars. Though there's no formal confirmation of switching from coffee to juice, this could symbolize the coffee chain's attempt to secure its future business in the face of unpredictable weather, by varying its offerings and looking beyond coffee.

The Starbucks website addresses climate change, writing, "In addition to increased erosion and infestation by pests, coffee farmers are reporting shifts in rainfall and harvest patterns that are hurting their communities and shrinking the available usable land in coffee regions around the world.

This isn't the first time a commodity has been threatened by global warming. Earlier this month, a report came out by the International Center For Tropical Agriculture warning chocolate could become a luxury item if farmers don't adapt to rising temperatures in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, where a majority of the world's cocoa is grown.

Just this past week, peanut butter brands announced price hikes up to 40% thanks to the worst peanut harvest in 30 years from severe weather. Other products reportedly affected by climate change include French wine and Italian pasta.