"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," Jim Hanna, the company's sustainability director, told Britain's The Guardian newspaper Friday.
Farmers supplying Starbucks with coffee beans, mainly in Central America, are already seeing the effects of a changing climate in variable rainfall patterns and more severe pest infestations, Hanna said.
"Even in very well-established coffee plantations and farms, we are hearing more and more stories of impacts," he said.
Starbucks said it is working with local producers to try to anticipate and deal with future changes.
"If we sit by and wait until the impacts of climate change are so severe that [they are] ... impacting our supply chain then that puts us at a greater risk," Hanna said. "From a business perspective we really need to address this now, and to look five, 10 and 20 years down the road."