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Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshot

Starbucks Mission to Increase Use of Reusable Cups

Starbucks recently released its 2011 Global Responsibility Report which highlights last year’s progress toward meeting its sustainability goals. Last year, the company celebrated its 40th anniversary, making it fitting that in 2011 Starbucks achieved some progress when it comes to meeting its environmental and sourcing goals for the target year 2015. When it comes to environmental stewardship, Starbucks has goals for green building, recycling, and water and electricity use. The goal for green building is for all new company-owned stores to be built to LEED certification standards. Starbucks is well on its way to meeting that goal as a total of 75 percent of all new company-owned stores were built to LEED certification standards, starting in December 2010. The following are highlights of Starbucks progress in the other areas of environmental stewardship: Recycling
  • In 2011, customers used personal cups more than 34 million times, almost two percent of all beverages served in global company-owned stores. The goal is to serve five percent of its beverages made in its stores in personal cups by 2015. Although there has been a 55 percent increase in personal cup use over the last three years, but the company has “experienced challenges in consistently executing and tracking our ‘for here’ serve-ware use in stores around the world.” Because of the challenges, Starbucks reduced its previous goal of 25 percent personal cup use by 2015.
  • The company has held several Cup Summits since 2008 to develop recyclable cups. The goal is to make 100 cups reusable or recyclable by 2015.
  • The company implemented front-of-store recycling to over 1,000 of its company-owned stores in the U.S. and Canada, totaling 18 percent of all its stores in North America. The goal is to have front-of-store recycling in all company-owned locations by 2015.
  • A total 79 percent (over 2,400) of its company-owned stores in the U.S. and Canada recycled cardboard boxes and other back-of-store items.
Water & electricity use
  • The company reduced its electricity use by over 7.5 since 2008. The goal is to achieve a 25 percent reduction by 2015. However, the report acknowledges that Starbucks needs “to continue to make improvements in order to reach our goal of reducing electricity use by 25 percent in company-owned stores by 2015.”
  • There is one area where the company achieved little progress Water consumption increased five percent over the previous year, which reduced its total water usages to almost 17.5 percent from the over 20 percent reduction from 2008 to 2010. The goal is to reduce water use by 25 percent in company-owned stores by 2015.
When it comes to ethical sourcing, Starbucks has a big goal: ethically sourcing 100 percent (that means ALL) of its coffee by 2015 through verification and certification through Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices, Fairtrade “or another program.” A total of 34.3 million pounds (eight percent) of Starbucks’ coffee purchases were Fairtrade certified. The report notes that the company is “one of the largest purchasers of Fairtrade certified coffee in the world.” The company also purchased 9.6 million pounds (2.2 percent) of organic coffee in 2011. The target year to meet its goal is only a few years away, and it’s a long way to go from eight percent Fairtrade certified coffee and two percent organically grown to 100 percent. However, last year, 86 percent of Starbucks’ coffee was C.A.F.E. Practices certified. Starbucks initiated C.A.F.E. Practices in collaboration with Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), a third-party evaluation and certification firm. Photo credits: Flickr user, jeffwilcox
Gina-Marie Cheeseman headshot

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.

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