Starbucks announces green stores commitment

Starbucks announced a commitment to design, build and operate 10,000 greener stores globally by 2025.

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September 18, 2018
Edited by Adam Redling

Starbucks Coffee Company, Seattle, announced its Starbucks Greener Stores framework and a commitment to design, build and operate 10,000 greener stores globally by 2025. The Starbucks Greener Stores framework will be built upon comprehensive performance criteria that help ensure the company’s approach to designing, building and operating its company-owned stores sets a new standard for green retail, the company says. Over the next year, Starbucks will develop an accredited program to audit all existing company-operated stores in the U.S. and Canada against the framework criteria, culminating in 10,000 greener stores globally by 2025. These stores will encompass existing stores, new builds and renovations. The Starbucks Greener Stores framework will also be open-sourced to benefit the broader retail industry.

“Simply put, sustainable coffee, served sustainably is our aspiration,” Kevin Johnson, president and CEO of Starbucks, says. “We know that designing and building green stores is not only responsible, it is cost effective as well. The energy and passion of our green apron partners has inspired us to find ways to operate a greener store that will generate even greater cost savings while reducing impact.”

Announced at The Global Climate Action Summit Sept. 12-15 in San Francisco , the Starbucks Greener Stores framework is anticipated to save the company an incremental $50 million in utilities over the next 10 years. This builds on Starbucks 10-year legacy of utility cost savings attributable to greener store practices, which already equates to approximately $30 million in saved annual operating costs.

Built on a foundation of the LEED certification program and sustainable operations, the Starbucks Greener Stores framework will offer a comprehensive model and broad environmental scope that is universal in design, but most relevant to the retail industry, the company says. With performance-based standards that incorporate design and extend throughout the life of a store, Starbucks Greener Stores will focus on energy efficiency and water stewardship, renewable energy, healthy environment, responsible materials, waste diversion and engagement.

With this commitment, Starbucks will also further enable and empower its more than 330,000 partners globally to be informed and engaged in sustainability, the company says, adding to a burgeoning group of partner advocates through Partners for Sustainability and the Greener Apron voluntary certification program with Arizona State University.

The Starbucks greener stores framework will be co-developed by leading experts including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Gland, Switzerland, and will be audited and verified by SCS Global Services, Emeryville, California, a third-party verification organization that also oversees Starbucks Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices. This framework will be open-sourced to enable other retailers to engage in this initiative.

“This framework represents the next step in how Starbucks is approaching environmental stewardship, looking holistically at stores and their role in helping to ensure the future health of our natural resources,” Erin Simon, director of R&D at World Wildlife Fund U.S., says. “When companies step up and demonstrate leadership, other businesses often follow with commitments of their own, driving further positive impacts.”

“Willingness for Starbucks to independently verify a large-scale complex deployment of a robust, impact-driven and innovative multi-attribute greener stores program to address climate change demonstrates leadership, integrity and transparency, which are core values shared by SCS,” Stanley Mathuram, vice president at SCS Global Services, says.

Starbucks has been committed for more than a decade to the development and implementation of scalable green building and operations. In 2001, Starbucks joined with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to develop the LEED for Retail program, and in 2005, Starbucks opened its first LEED-certified store. Today, Starbucks operates more than 1,500 LEED-certified stores globally across 20 countries—including all 50 states and Puerto Rico—more than any other retailer in the world.