How Green is Starbucks: The Sustainability Report

Starbucks wants you to enjoy a (fair trade) double espresso in the comforts of a LEED certified building that uses less electricity — and then to recycle your cup in a conveniently placed recycle bin. Or better yet, bring your own cup.

These are some of the goals Starbucks hopes to achieve with its annual Global Responsibility Report. Triple Pundit breaks down the green goals the coffee giant reached in 2011 and where they hope to be in the coming years.


  • In 2011, customers used personal cups more than 34 million times, almost 2% of all beverages served in global company-owned stores. The goal is to serve 5% of its beverages made in its stores in personal cups by 2015.
  • Since 2008, the company has held several Cup Summits to develop recyclable cups. By 2015 the goal is to serve 25% of all beverages in reusable cups.
  • The company implemented front-of-store recycling to over 1,000 of its company-owned stores in the U.S. and Canada, totaling 18% of all its stores in North America. The goal is to have front-of-store recycling in all company-owned locations by 2015.
  • A total 79% (over 2,400) of its company-owned stores in the U.S. and Canada recycled cardboard boxes and other back-of-store items.

Water & Electricity Use

  • The company reduced its electricity use by over 7.5 since 2008. The goal is to achieve a 25% reduction by 2015. However, the report acknowledges that Starbucks needs “to continue to make improvements in order to reach our goal of reducing electricity use by 25% in company-owned stores by 2015.”
  • There is one area where the company achieved little progress. Water consumption increased 5% over the previous year, which reduced its total water usages to almost 17.5% from the over 20% reduction from 2008 to 2010. The goal is to reduce water use by 25% in company-owned stores by 2015.

Ethical Sourcing

  • By 2015, Starbucks hopes to ethically source 100% of its coffee through verification and certification via Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices, Fairtrade, or other programs.
  • In 2011 a total of 34.3 million pounds (8%) of Starbucks’ coffee purchases were Fairtrade certified. The company also purchased 9.6 million pounds (2.2%) of organic coffee in 2011.

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