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Starbucks Announces “Multi-Decade Commitment to Become a Resource-Positive Company”

Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay – Dénnis Kendall

In a recent public letter to all company stakeholders, CEO Kevin Johnson announced Starbucks’ multi-decade commitment to become a resource-positive company. The announcement includes targets including expansion of plantbased options and reduction of carbon emissions, water use, and waste by 2030. 

Starbucks offers an outline of five strategies to achieve these  goals:

  1. Expanding plant-based options while migrating toward a more environmentally friendly menu.
  2. Shifting from single-use to reusable packaging.
  3. Investing in innovative and regenerative agricultural practices, reforestation, forest conservation, and water replenishment in its supply chain.
  4. Investing in better ways to manage waste, both in Starbucks stores and in its communities, to ensure more reuse, recycling, and elimination of food waste.
  5. Innovating to develop more eco-friendly stores, operations, manufacturing, and delivery.

Johnson also outlined three preliminary targets for 2030:

  1. A 50% reduction in carbon emissions in Starbucks direct operations and supply chain.
  2. 50% of water withdrawal for direct operations and coffee production will be conserved or replenished with a focus on communities and basins with high water risk.
  3. A 50% reduction in waste sent to landfill from stores and manufacturing, driven by a broader shift toward a circular economy. To underscore its commitment to the circular economy, Starbucks has agreed to sign the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, setting ambitious circular targets for its packaging.

“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 said. The company’s aspiration is to become resource positive – storing more carbon than it emits, eliminating waste, and providing more clean, freshwater than it uses. “This aspiration is grounded in Starbucks’ mission,” he continued. “By embracing a longer-term economic, equitable, and planetary value for our company, we will create greater value for all stakeholders.”

Ray Silverstein, VP of Store Development at Starbucks and the sponsor of Partners for Sustainability, said: “Starbucks commitment to sustainability has been a meaningful way for our partners to engage and support their communities and neighborhoods.  With today’s announcement, we are even more energized to have science-based strategies to guide us in setting priorities and accelerating this work.  Whether it’s reducing our environmental footprint in our stores, in our supply chain, or through our ability to engage our communities — we will have new ways to focus our efforts to make the greatest impact.”

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