Starbucks Lays Out Sweeping Goals to Combat Climate Change

By 2030, the coffee chain wants to cut carbon emissions in half and reduce half of its waste.
Lauren MuskettJanuary 21, 2020

Starbucks said it was committed to becoming a resource-positive company and set preliminary targets for the reduction of carbon emissions, water use, and waste by 2030.

The targets included a 50% reduction in carbon emissions from direct operations and the supply chain and a 50% reduction in waste sent to landfills from stores and manufacturing. It is also targeting replenishing 50% of the water it withdraws for operations and coffee production with a focus on “communities and basins with high water risk.”

“By embracing a longer-term economic, equitable, and planetary value proposition for our company, we will create greater value for all stakeholders,” chief executive officer Kevin Johnson said in a statement.

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To meet the goals, the company said it would offer more plant-based options on its menu, shift to reusable packaging, and invest in innovative agricultural practices and waste management.

Starbucks emitted 16 million tons of greenhouse gases and created 868 kilotons of waste in 2018.

The announcement comes as companies face increasing criticism for failures to address climate risks.

Last week, Microsoft launched what it called a “moonshot” climate initiative, pledging to remove more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits by 2030. The company said its goal was to remove enough carbon by 2050 to account for all the direct emissions the company has made since it was founded in 1975.

Also last week, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, in his annual letter to company executives, said the fund giant was overhauling its investment strategy to reflect a “fundamental reshaping of finance” around climate risk.

“In the near future – and sooner than most anticipate – there will be a significant reallocation of capital,” Fink said.

In September, Amazon has said its goal was to be “net zero carbon” by 2040 and 100% renewables by 2030.

“We’re done being in the middle of the herd on this issue — we’ve decided to use our size and scale to make a difference,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. “If a company with as much physical infrastructure as Amazon — which delivers more than 10 billion items a year—can meet the Paris Agreement 10 years early, then any company can.