Is Starbucks Coffee Truly Sustainable?

Is Starbucks Coffee Truly Sustainable?

Starbucks has launched an ambitious plan to cut its waste, water use, and carbon emissions ( #ambitious plan to cut its waste, water use, and carbon emissions ) in half by 2030.
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Ambitious Plan for Sustainability
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Starbucks CEO and President Kevin Johnson announced the plan on Tuesday. It appears to be the result of a mixture of government regulation, activist pressure, and internal concerns about the company’s image in a time of greater focus on environmental issues.
Starbucks’ promise comes one week after Microsoft announced its own sustainability commitment: becoming carbon negative by 2030, meaning it will remove more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits.
Now Starbucks says it will go farther: eventually, it will not only be carbon negative, it will also be a net producer of water.
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Five Main Goals
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The initiative has five main goals: add more plant-based menu items, shift toward reusable packaging over single-use, invest in new farming and forestry practices to conserve water, reduce material waste and food waste, and develop more eco-friendly stores, operations, manufacturing, and delivery.
Johnson explains that he sees “a milestone for our business as we declare our concern about our planet’s future and commit to do more.” Starbucks’ initiative will cover the full range of the coffee giant’s sprawling operations, including the water it consumes, the methane emitted by the dairy cattle that supply its milk, and the waste produced at its more than 31,00 retail stores.
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Environmental Baseline Report
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Starbucks also released an Environmental Baseline Report, which detailed the breadth and scope of the company’s impacts as of 2018. This will help the company measure the success of its initiatives.
One interesting takeaway is that much of Starbucks’ footprint for greenhouse gases, water, and waste have to do with its heavy reliance on dairy products, which account for over a fifth of the company’s greenhouse gas emissions and over a seventh of its water use.
The company plans to push alternative milks, including almond, coconut, soy, and oat milk.
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Starbucks’ Impact
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Starbucks’ actions have the potential to make a big impact for sustainability. By 2015, Starbucks was ranked as the largest chain of coffee shops in the world, going by the number of stores.
In addition to its signature coffee-based drinks, Starbucks also sells teas, bottled drinks, baked goods, snacks, and other food. Both the company’s products and their packaging expose the company to various forest risk commodities such as palm oil, soy, beef, and paper.
On the Forest 500 index, Starbucks performs very poorly for palm oil, soy, and pulp and paper. It is ranked as a particularly bad offender for soy, where its commitment strength, reporting and monitoring, and social consideration scores are abysmal. It scored 25% on the index overall.
Starbucks says that 99% of its coffee is now ethically sourced, but the company has yet to adopt sourcing policies that ensure that the palm oil in its baked goods does not contribute to deforestation, climate change, and human rights violations. A Wall Street Journal investigation found human rights abuses on plantations in Malaysia.
Lexicon:
Ambitious plan to cut its waste, water use, and carbon emissions ( https://www.seattletimes.com/business/starbucks/starbucks-unveils-new-sustainability-push-aiming-to-slash-waste-water-use-and-carbon-emissions/ ): source from seattletimes website

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