Starbucks moves forward on global responsibility

by Eric Schroeder
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SEATTLE — Plans to reduce energy consumption by 25% by the end of the year as well as ensuring 100% of all cups are reusable or recyclable by 2015 are on the agenda as part of Starbucks Coffee Co.’s goals for advancing its global responsibility initiatives. The company on April 19 outlined its fiscal 2009 performance in ethical sourcing, environmental stewardship, and community involvement while detailing future plans.

The report — Starbucks’ ninth such report — is now available on-line at www.starbucks.com/responsibility2009.

“While we were faced with difficult global economic conditions last year, we remained steadfastly committed to the responsible practices that have defined our company since its founding,” said Ben Packard, vice-president of Global Responsibility. “Collaboration has been a key component of our strategy.

By engaging external experts, business partners, and other organizations in 2009, we gained valuable insights that will help shape our path forward.”

Reflecting on 2009, Starbucks said it achieved both of its short-term coffee purchasing goals: to increase annual purchases of coffee verified through Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices, and to double purchases of Fairtrade certified coffee. In doing so, the company said it is closer to achieving its long-term goal of purchasing 100% responsibly grown and ethically traded coffee by 2015.

Also during 2009 Starbucks said it made “meaningful progress” toward goals related to farmer loans and incentives, youth engagement, energy and water conservation, and green building. By the end of 2010 Starbucks hopes to reduce energy consumption by 25%, and to purchase renewable energy equivalent to 50% of the electricity used in company-owned stores. Additionally, Starbucks plans to achieve LEED certification for all of its new, company-owned stores around the world beginning later this year.

Looking beyond 2010, Starbucks said it hopes to have 100% of its cups reusable or recyclable by 2015. To date, the company said it has been challenged in this effort by variance in local recycling capabilities. In order to develop solutions that will make its single-use cups more broadly recyclable, Starbucks is collaborating with municipalities, raw material suppliers, cup manufacturers, retail and beverage businesses, recyclers, NGOs (non-government organizations), and academic experts.

“As proud as we are of our accomplishments in 2009, we recognize we have a long way to go,” Mr. Packard said. “We urge our global partners, customers, and other stakeholders to join forces with us as we enter the next phase of this journey.”

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