Starbucks has acknowledged that dairy contributes to its carbon footprint.

Starbucks has acknowledged that dairy contributes to climate change.

In a section on its website titled “Tackling Climate Change, the world’s biggest coffee shop chain acknowledges that the leading contributors to its carbon footprint are food, dairy, coffee, and packaging.

Despite this, cow’s milk remains the coffee chain’s go-to. If customers want to add dairy-free milk to their latte or cappuccino, they have to pay extra.

More than 130,000 people have now signed a petition against this surcharge. It reads, “more people than ever before are ditching dairy and going vegan to help animals, save the environment, and improve their own health. It’s time that Starbucks stopped charging customers extra for choosing dairy-free milk!” 

Dairy production is responsible for a plethora of environmental issues.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) notes on its website, “dairy cows and their manure produce greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to climate change. Poor handling of manure and fertilizers can degrade local water resources. And unsustainable dairy farming and feed production can lead to the loss of ecologically important areas, such as prairies, wetlands, and forests.”

Dairy production is harmful to the environment.

Making Steps Toward Sustainability

Starbucks maintains it is solution-focused when it comes to the planet. It notes, “we believe now is the time to increase our investments in solutions and strategies – both in our stores and at the farm level – that help tackle this crisis.”

Last year, it pledged to run 10,000 stores with renewable energy by 2025.

It is also attempting to move to more sustainable materials and reduce its reliance on single-use plastic. In June, Starbucks joined WWF’s ReSource: Plastic initiative as a principal member.

“We’re committed to learning and leading alongside other brands as we work toward our aspiration of sustainable coffee, served sustainably,” said John Kelly — Starbuck’s senior vice president of global public affairs and social impact — in a statement at the time.

The chain also consistently adds environmentally-friendly vegan food options to its menus around the world. In Canada, for example, customers can now purchase vegan yogurt and everything bagels. In the UK, vegan breakfast burritos and mac ‘n’ cheese are on offer.