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Starbucks’ CEO Kevin Johnson has announced a multi-decade commitment to transform the retailer into a resource-positive company, which gives more than it takes from the planet. The plan includes science-based preliminary targets for the reduction of carbon emissions, water use and waste by 2030, and outlined five strategies the company has identified to move toward them.
“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.
As sustainability transitions from buzzword to action plan, Starbucks’ 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,” Johnson said. “By embracing a longer-term economic, equitable and planetary value for our company, we will create greater value for all stakeholders.”
A comprehensive, data-driven environmental footprint of carbon emissions, water use and waste in Starbucks global operations and supply chain informed the five strategies to prioritize work:
- Expanding plant-based options, migrating toward a more environmentally friendly menu.
- Shifting from single use to reusable packaging.
- Investing in innovative and regenerative agricultural practices, reforestation, forest conservation and water replenishment in Starbucks supply chain.
- 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.
- Innovating to develop more eco-friendly stores, operations, manufacturing and delivery.
Johnson also outlined three preliminary targets for the next decade:
- A 50% reduction in carbon emissions in Starbucks direct operations and supply chain.
- 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.
- A 50% reduction in waste sent to landfill from stores and manufacturing, driven by a broader shift toward a circular economy.
On Starbucks 50th anniversary in 2021, the company will formalize its 2030 environmental goals based on learnings between now and then. Specifically, Johnson noted, the coming year will involve comprehensive market research and trials to better understand consumer behavior and incentives to encourage more use of reusable containers.