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Starbucks Just Committed to the Environment in a Huge Way

Starbucks has taken several strides in recent years to curb their environmental impact, from offering straw-free lids with straws on request at some of their stores to introducing new plant-based milk options and even having buckets of used coffee grounds at some stores that people can take home to their gardens. They even give a $.10 discount when you bring your own cup (any excuse to sport my gold glitter and rainbow metal tumblers!), which helps cut down on waste. Now, in a letter from their CEO, they’ve announced that their commitment to the environment is taking on a new seriousness as they approach their 50th anniversary, with a long-term goal of becoming resource-positive, and several short-term goals they hope to achieve by 2030.

Becoming resource-positive means that the company wants to store more carbon than it emits, eliminate more waste than it produces, and provide more clean, fresh water than it uses.

They’ve developed a 5-point plan to make this goal a reality:

  1. Expanding plant-based options, migrating toward a more environmentally friendly menu.
  2. Shifting from single-use to reusable packaging.
  3. Investing in innovative and regenerative agricultural practices, reforestation, forest conservation and water replenishment in Starbucks supply chain.
  4. Investing in better ways to manage waste, both in Starbucks stores and in its communities, to ensure more reuse, recycling and elimination of food waste.
  5. Innovating to develop more eco-friendly stores, operations, manufacturing and delivery.

This is their long-term goal, but there are three things they want to achieve specifically by 2030:

  1. A 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions in Starbucks direct operations and supply chain.
  2. 50 percent of water withdrawal for direct operations and coffee production will be conserved or replenished with a focus on communities and basins with high water risk.
  3. A 50 percent reduction in waste sent to landfill from stores and manufacturing, driven by a broader shift toward a circular economy. To underscore its commitment to the circular economy, Starbucks is pleased to sign the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, setting ambitious circular targets for its packaging.

If they can pull it off, this means that instead of feeling guilty for spending so much of your spending money on coffee, you can actually feel good about it — every cup you buy would actually end up making more natural resources and fresh water while eliminating carbon from the environment. Who knew that someday your coffee could do more than just give you a jolt of caffeine?

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