For Immediate Release
May 13, 2003

Media Contacts:
Michael Straus - (415) 777-1170

Coffee Pioneer, Innovator Honored
Int’l Environmental Group Salutes Thanksgiving Coffee’s Leadership

San Francisco, CA - It started when roastmaster Paul Katzeff first witnessed the struggles of Nicaraguan coffee farmers in 1985. Eighteen years and 65 trips to Nicaragua later, Thanksgiving Coffee Company ( has committed to the social, economic and environmental well-being of their coffee farmers and, though years of thoughtful leadership, fundamentally changed the way Americans drink coffee.

On May 14, the Rainforest Alliance will present Thanksgiving Coffee Company with their highest honor, The Corporate Green Globe Award for social and environmental leadership, at their Thirteenth Annual Gala in New York City.

Thanksgiving’s leadership in environmental and community development programs have also changed the way Starbucks, the United States government and coffee roasters do business, including expanding market for Fair Trade, organic and Shade Grown coffees.

“We have a basic philosophy here,” stated Katzeff from his roasting facility in Fort Bragg on California’s north coast. “You get ‘Total Quality’ by caring about the taste of the coffee, honoring the farmers, and respecting the environment.”

Rainforest Alliance, in presenting the award, cited Thanksgiving’s “… outstanding leadership in promoting sustainable and economic development. Thanksgiving, a roaster of certified organic, certified fair trade, and shade grown coffees, long ago built social responsibility into its business model - proving it is possible to have a healthy environment and a strong bottom line.”

Thanksgiving’s and Katzeff’s numerous sustainable development initiatives include:

  • Spearheading the creating of a Sustainable Coffee division for SCAA, the specialty coffee industry’s largest trade organization.
  • Establishing an innovative public/private partnership, building nine quality control laboratories with Nicaragua coffee cooperatives, thereby enabling small-scale farms and farmers to more directly access the world marketplace.
  • Planting 70,000 trees in Ethiopia to offset 553 tons of greenhouse gasses generated annually by their entire operation, which includes the electricity consumers use to brew 50 million cups of Thanksgiving coffee at home.
  • Creating the "Coffee for Peace" program, launched in 1985, which was the first initiative by a U.S. company to add a price surcharge to benefit its producers.
  • Becoming California’s first private fleet to convert, in March 2003, to B100 - pure 100% Biodiesel (made from renewable sources, such as vegetables and recycled frying oil), reducing harmful carbon dioxide emissions by 80% and carbon monoxide emissions by 44%.

This Rainforest Alliance award comes on the heals of Thanksgiving earning the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Waste Reduction award for the second year in a row, and the California Governor's Economic and Environmental Leadership Award for excellence in protecting the environment and conserving natural resources, while promoting compatible, sustainable, economic development.

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