Starbucks Announces Plans to Cut its Carbon, Water, and Waste Footprints by 50%

Mar 29, 2021 | Insight

Image via Starbucks

As part of its plan in support of the company’s path to a “Planet Positive future,” Starbucks is focusing on its carbon and water footprints at Origin – or what it refers to as “the first ten feet” (farm to port).


Starbucks has announced its commitment to a “resource-positive future,” which includes formalizing environmental goals to cut its carbon, water, and waste footprints by half.

Starbucks has set goals to achieve carbon neutral green coffee and conserve water usage in green coffee processing by 50% by 2030,” the global brand giant said in a release.            

“As we celebrate 50 years of Starbucks, we are looking ahead at ways we can reimagine the future and continue to inspire and nurture the human spirit,” said Michelle Burns, svp of Global Coffee, Tea and Cocoa at Starbucks.

“For farmers and their communities, we know it is critical we work together to address the challenges they face associated with climate change which are making it increasingly difficult to grow high-quality coffee. By reducing carbon emissions and conserving water, we can help farmers be more productive while we are also contributing to a better planet and bringing coffee to customers in a sustainable way.”

As part of its plan in support of the company’s path to a “Planet Positive future,” Starbucks is focusing on its carbon and water footprints at Origin – or what Starbucks refers to as “the first ten feet” (farm to port).

“Traditional coffee processing is water intensive. With 200,000 wet mills in Starbucks C.A.F.E. Practice supply chain, Starbucks has an opportunity to conserve water by ensuring farmers have access to more environmentally friendly machines, which also standardizes quality and increases processing efficiency for farmers.”

With this focus on on-farm activities and land use change, Starbucks is addressing its largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in coffee before the rest of the coffee value chain (like transportation, roasting, or packaging).

“A strong model for corporate climate leadership; Starbucks has developed clear and ambitious targets that prioritize sustainability from farmer to customer,” said Dr. M. Sanjayan, CEO, Conservation International.

“Just as significantly, they are backing these commitments with immediate actions to reduce their footprint and invest in nature. I encourage other companies to follow a similar path.  It’s good for business, good for people, and essential for our climate.” 

Image: Daniel Reche via Pexels

Over the last year, Starbucks launched programs in Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Rwanda, and Kenya to test its carbon and water strategies impacting more than 92,000 farms. In addition to investing in new, water-conserving wet mills, Starbucks worked with farmers to gather more than 11,500 soil and foliar samples to inform soil health.

Based on the success of these initial pilots, Starbucks is now expanding the program to Colombia and launching a new, holistic sustainability project with 100 small-holder farmers in Nariño, Colombia. Over a five-year period, the Nariño project will combine the best of Starbucks knowledge and resources on regenerative agriculture, precision agronomy and farm economics.

According to Starbucks, farmers will receive hands-on support including customized, in-depth agricultural and business education and training to best manage their crops and land. They will also receive new equipment and facilities to optimize for reduced water use and carbon emissions and new, climate-resistant coffee seedlings to replace unproductive trees.

This project and partnership with Starbucks will help farmers increase their productivity, quality and profitability while decreasing the environmental footprint generated from coffee growing and processing.

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