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Starbucks is a major, global chain of coffeehouses. The company has announced its bold aims to reduce its environmental footprint significantly in the next decade. The American based corporation is taking a multi-pronged approach to reduce its environmental impact and create positive environmental change.

Starbucks’ Current Initiatives

Through Starbucks’ ethical sourcing initiative called​​ Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices, the corporation is able to source 99% of its coffee from ethical sources. As well as creating a safe and ethical working environment for Starbucks farmers, the initiative benefits the environment. This is because farmers use methods that conserve energy and water, as well as keep soil healthy. This focus on energy and water conservation is highly important because it reduces Starbucks’s environmental footprint in the first stage of its supply chain. Starbucks farmers also grow shade trees that promote biodiversity and protect wildlife habitats. Starbucks also reduces its environmental impact through proper waste treatment and a reduction in the use of agrochemicals.

Starbucks also engages in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (L.E.E.D.) program in which it aims to build more environmentally conscious retail cafes. This program encourages its participants to build stores with its energy efficiency, water stewardship, use of renewable energy and use of responsible materials in mind.

Future Environmental Initiatives

Starbucks now aims to reduce its carbon footprint significantly. The company aims to be more resource-positive, with a focus on storing more carbon, reducing carbon emissions, eliminating waste and providing more clean freshwater than the company currently uses.

The company partnered with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Quantis to quantify the carbon, waste and water footprint of both its supply chain and operations on a global scale. On the basis of this investigation, Starbucks has established five strategies it will undertake to achieve its resource positive goals. These strategies are: creating a more environmentally friendly menu with more plant-based options; shifting from single-use to reusable packaging; modifying its supply chain to include innovative and regenerative agricultural practices, reforestation, forest conservation and water replenishment; more efficient waste management, and enacting more eco-friendly stores, operations, manufacturing and delivery.

Starbucks also established three long-term environmental targets that it aims to achieve by 2030. The first target is to achieve a 50% reduction in carbon emissions in its direct operations and supply chain. Secondly, the company aims to conserve and replenish 50% of its water withdrawal for direct operations and coffee production with a focus on communities and basins with high water risk. The company has joined Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment and aims to reduce its waste sent to landfills from stores and manufacturing by 50%.

Major Corporations Going Green

Large corporations have long been criticised for their waste and large carbon footprints. It is clear that Starbucks is aiming to account for its negative contributions to the environment and is actively making changes that will be beneficial to the environment in the long-term. Let's hope that others follow suit and the corporations that provide jobs and services for people across the world ensure that their wider impact is a positive one.

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