Starbucks commits to a sustainable future, recent statement by CEO

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Starbucks is turning fifty in 2021, and with its birthday they are looking for positive change

Anna Frazier, Climate & Environment Editor

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SEATTLE–Starbucks CEO, Kevin Johnson, recently sent a letter to staff, stakeholders, and customers outlining the company’s short- and long-term goals for sustainability. Johnson’s  big takeaway message for his readers is that Starbucks is moving to become “resource-positive.”

To Starbucks, becoming resource-positive means storing more carbon than [they emit], eliminating waste, and providing more clean, freshwater than [they use].”

In the letter, he outlines the company’s recent successes, including its partnership  with Conservation International to source 99% of all coffee purchased for Starbucks through Coffee and Farmer Equity practices.

“We agree with the consensus of scientific experts who note that without drastic action from everyone,” Johnson said. 

Starbucks’ three “preliminary targets for 2030” are: reducing CO2 production in its supply chain and operations by 50 percent, conserving or replenishing 50 percent of freshwater used in production, and reducing landfill waste from manufacturing and stores by 50 percent. Johnson said the company plans to finalize these goals for Starbucks’ 50th anniversary in 2021.

Johnson states the company’s five environmental strategies for a resource-positive future:

    1. We will expand plant-based options, migrating toward a more environmentally friendly menu.
    2. We will shift from single-use to reusable packaging. 
    3. We will invest in innovative and regenerative agricultural practices, reforestation, forest conservation and water replenishment in our supply chain.
    4. We will invest in better ways to manage our waste, both in our stores and in our communities, to ensure more reuse, recycling and elimination of food waste. 
    5. We will innovate to develop more eco-friendly stores, operations, manufacturing and delivery

“While we’re confident these strategies are directionally right, our eyes are wide open knowing that we do not have all the answers,” said Johnson. He adds that Starbucks will be working with Science Based Target initiatives (STBi) to stay on track for its goals.