Starbucks Adopts Sustainability Agenda

The CEO of the global coffee company’s announces a five-point strategy to accomplish reducing its carbon emissions, water use and waste
| Updated: January 21, 2020

Starbucks just ordered up an extra jolt of environmental expresso by announcing a multi-decade plan to become a “resource-positive” company, including setting targets for the reduction of carbon emissions, water use and waste by 2030.

The plan, announced by Starbucks Chief Executive Officer Kevin Johnson in a public letter to shareholders, customers and partners, is based on a five-point strategy.

1. Expanding plant-based options and shifting to a more environmentally friendly menu.
2. Shifting to reusable packaging.
3. Investing in innovative and sustainable practices in its supply chain.
4. Investing in better waste-management practices.
5. Developing more eco-friendly stores, operations, delivery and manufacturing options.

“As we approach the 50th anniversary of Starbucks in 2021, we are looking ahead with a heightened sense of urgency and conviction that we must challenge ourselves, think bigger and do much more in partnership with others to take care of the planet we share,” Johnson says. “By embracing a longer-term economic, equitable and planetary value for our company, we will create greater value for all stakeholders.”

The specific goals set for 2030 include reducing carbon emissions in the company’s direct operations and supply chain by 50%; conserving or replenishing 50% of the water used in direct operations and coffee production, with a focus on communities with high water risk; and reducing waste sent to landfills from stores and manufacturing by 50%.

“This puts Starbucks in the vanguard of corporate sustainability leaders, and we hope more businesses will be inspired to develop similarly robust approaches to addressing the world's most pressing sustainability challenges,” says Mark Lee, executive director of SustainAbility, a think tank and advisory firm focused on helping businesses advance a more sustainable economy.

This article was originally published on Seattle Business magazine’s website.

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