Howard Schultz on Environment

Starbucks CEO; independent candidate for President until July 2019


Protect earth's resources and promote sustainable farming

Between 2000 and 2005, the company and our partners committed more than $47 million to local communities around the world to support efforts such as youth and literacy programs in the United States and Canada like Jumpstart; improved education opportunities in rural China; and aid for the victims of disasters. With donations and thousands of volunteer hours, our partners supported charities and improvement projects in the communities where they worked. We joined with Global Green USA to raise environmental awareness. We take significant steps to reduce our stores' environmental impact by purchasing renewable energy, reducing water consumption, and conserving energy. In 2001, our Fairtrade purchases reached 10 million pounds, making us North America's largest purchaser, roaster, and retailer of Fairtrade green coffee beans. In 2001, with Conservation International, we created our own sourcing guidelines to ensure that the coffee we bought was ethically grown and responsibly traded.
Source: Onward, by Howard Schultz, p. 18-20 , Mar 27, 2012

Effort to reduce environmental impact of Starbucks

Efforts continue to make our company-owned stores more environmentally friendly. As space, municipal regulations, and local recycling services allow, our stores can recycle paper, cardboard, cups, compost, glass, and/or plastics, as well as offer customers free coffee grounds for gardening.

In 2010, Starbucks & its suppliers announced that we had found a way to recycle used paper cups. This brings us one step closer to our goal to have 100% of Starbucks' cups be reusable or recyclable by 2015.

We also continue work toward a goal of having all new Starbucks company-owned stores LEED-certified in 2011, and to date more than 200 of our stores have either achieved or are registered for LEED green building certification. We are currently retro- fitting all of our stores with high-efficiency lighting and are on track to reduce water consumption by 25% in 2015. As of 2010, Starbucks has purchased renewable energy certificates equivalent to 50 percent of the electricity consumed in our stores.

Source: Onward, by Howard Schultz, p.324 , Mar 27, 2012

Human deforestation contributes more carbon than all cars

In 2008, I [held meetings to] firm up our flatlining relationships with Conservation International. Conservation International's people explained their most pressing concern: climate change. They pointed to endangered areas that are home to irreplaceable plant and animal life. These ecosystems are at risk for destruction by human deforestation, also burning and clearing of forest's contributes 20% of the world's carbon emissions--twice as much as ALL the world's vehicles combined. These hotspots are in areas where farmers grow some of Starbucks' most precious coffees. Starbucks would re-up its partnership with Conservation International with a $7.5 million commitment over three years. We would measure the impact of our CAFE. Practices to ensure that we were making a positive difference for the people and places we intended. We would link small farmers to global carbon markets. And we would stand shoulder to shoulder with Conservation International.
Source: Onward, by Howard Schultz, p.119-20 , Mar 27, 2012

Paper sleeves instead of polystyrene coffee cups

In 1994, we assembled a Hot Cup Team. The primary alternative to paper cups is polystyrene, which insulates hot beverages far more effectively than paper. While it's technically possible to recycle polystyrene, it's impractical in many cities.

Switching to polystyrene would have saved Starbucks $5 million a year at that point in time. But we decided against it. It didn't solve the environmental issue, and it wasn't consistent with our image. [Starbuck invented paper sleeves instead]. We decided against polystyrene cups. It didn't solve the environmental issue, and it wasn't consistent with our image.

So we decided to test market a paper sleeve. Instead of two cups, we would slip a ring of corrugated cardboard around the middle of each paper cup of regular coffee. The sleeve used only about half as much material as a second cup and even contained some recycled paper.

Source: Pour Your Heart Into It, by Howard Schultz, p.303-304 , Jan 6, 1999

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Page last updated: Apr 30, 2021