Starbucks, the world’s largest coffeehouse chain, has announced it will build and renovate thousands of stores so that 10,000 of its outlets are more environmentally friendly.
The announcement was delivered to more than 4,000 people at the Global Climate Action Summit, where industry leaders discussed innovative ways to reach climate goals stipulated in the Paris Agreement.
Kevin Johnson, the chief executive officer at Starbucks, spoke on a conference panel about the increasingly urgent matter of the planet’s current state. “If you look at this problem on a global basis, it can be so overwhelming it’s discouraging,” he said. “The only way to look at this problem is ‘Am I partnering with other like-minded organizations in the public and private sectors and NGOs to work progress?'”
Johnson added that leading a major corporation is not solely about profit, “but also about doing what’s right,” the press release noted. “One of our social impact pillars is sustainability,” he commented. “We are a company that believes, in the fabric of mission and values, that the pursuit of profit is not in conflict with the pursuit of doing good.”
As a way to further its social impact, Starbucks aims to have 10,000 eco-friendly stores across the United States and Canada, a figure which will be achieved with renovations and the building of entirely new outlets. The change is part of its Starbucks Greener Stores initiative, which has ultimate goals of powering stores with 100 percent renewable energy. Other aims include the use of technology that will save 25 to 30 percent on energy and water use, as well as using responsible materials that have a smaller impact on the planet.
On an individual scale, the stores will provide a cleaner, healthier environment for customers and staff by improving air and water quality within the outlets. Starbucks hopes other retail industry players will adopt similar behaviors.
The move toward sustainability joins other efforts by the chain to reduce its impact on the environment. In July, the company announced intentions to ditch single-use plastic straws from its 28,000 locations across the world. In its place, a new lid design was launched to eradicate the need for a straw for many coffee drinkers.
To reduce waste further, Starbucks now rewards customers who bring their own reusable cup by offering a discount, and in London, introduced a 5p charge on paper cups.
At the summit, Johnson pointed out that shifts toward sustainability are not just good for the planet, but good for the bank accounts of businesses involved. It was estimated that the Greener Stores initiative will save Starbucks $50 million in utilities over the next decade.
Image Credit: Starbucks
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