Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Starbucks Sustainability Journey

With over 17,000 stores in more than fifty countries, including over 12,000 in the United States Starbucks Corporation is the largest coffeehouse in the world. Starbucks has engaged a number of sustainability initiatives in an effort to become more environmentally friendly.

As reviewed in an article written by Shawn Lesser, here are some of Starbucks' environmental initiatives:

Starbuck’s is serious about recycling and waste reduction. Starbucks works with local communities to make recycling easier. Starbucks also offers a ten cent reduction on cost to those who bring in their own reusable cups rather than needing one of the paper ones.

Starbucks is working to conserve energy and boost energy efficiency. Currently, 20 percent of total electricity used in the stores throughout the US and Canada comes from renewable sources. Starbucks has also made a number of investments into new, energy efficient lighting and HVAC systems.

Starbucks wants to reduce water consumption by 25 percent by the year 2015. One example of a technological innovation to help them meet their water objectives involves the use of dishwashers that require less than a single gallon of water during the cycle.

Starbucks buildings make use of responsible building materials and include a number of water and energy efficient technologies. Starbucks uses the LEED Certification program created by the United States Green Building Council. Some of their green building initiatives involve low-flow valves, lighting efficiency, recycled flooring, low VOC paints, and cabinetry made from postindustrial material.

Since 2004, Starbucks has focused on energy conservation, renewable energy, as well as advocacy and collaboration. Starbucks is very involved with the sourcing of responsible coffee, tea and coaca. Starbucks is also involved with the farmers and the communities that grow the foods and drinks that they sell. For example Starbucks created Farmer Support Centers throughout Costa Rica and Rwanda to offer local farmers expertise and resources to lower the total cost of production but increase the production and quality.

Starbucks has partnered with Conservation International to improve coffee production, restore and conserve natural habitats, and increase farmer access to forest carbon markets. This partnership has also assisted in developing purchasing guidelines to address ethical sourcing of coffee known as Coffee and Farmer Equity (CAFÉ). This coffee is good for people and the environment (reduced waste, improved quality of water, energy conservation, and biodiversity conservation).

Starbucks is also a member of the Ethical Tea Partnership, and therefore is looking for ways for buyers to improve industry conditions throughout the entire tea industry. The ingredients in Starbucks’ Tazo, tea brand are part of the Community Health and Advancement Initiative Project, or CHAI project. This project aids in increasing sustainability throughout communities by providing economic development and health services.

Like coffee and tea, Starbucks has sourced a long-term supply of ethically sourced and high quality cocoa while still contributing in a positive way to the environment as well as all the cocoa-farming communities.

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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