In its list of the world’s most innovative companies, the Forbes magazine ranks Starbucks Corporation at number 30. The company, which was started in the year 1971, pursues the mission of inspiring and nurturing the human spirit through its slogan of “one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time,” (Starbucks Coffee Company, 2020). Among the principles that Starbucks prioritizes is that of responsibility and sustainability, built on the firm belief that there is an inextricable link between the company’s future and that of farmers together with their families. Fully aware of the threat posed by climate change, Starbucks commits itself to find and implement innovative solutions that help to minimize the environmental effect of its activities (Starbucks Coffee Company, 2020).
Pursuant to the above mission, Starbucks has developed several sustainability goals. For example, the company aims to achieve 50% reduction in carbon emissions by the year 2030. This goal is based on the realization that Starbucks emits a huge amount of harmful gases through its production activities. According to Calma (2020, para.6), Starbucks’ greenhouse gas emissions in every year “are roughly equivalent to the pollution from almost 14 coal-fired power plants- nearly on par with other giant corporations like Microsoft”. Clearly, there is need for the company to do something about the volume of greenhouse gas emissions if it wants to be the responsible company it envisions.
A second goal is to conserve at least 50% of the volume of water currently used in coffee production by the year 2030. It is claimed that operations together with coffee production activities at Starbucks currently use a lot of water, enough to fill “400,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools,” (Calma, 2020 para.6). Again, with the climate change problem facing the world, it is necessary that Starbucks seeks to reduce its water consumption.
Still in line with sustainability plans, Starbucks has issued conditions that its suppliers must meet. For instance, farmers supplying coffee beans must adhere to the guidelines laid out by the company in terms of growing and processing, as well as quality. Starbucks applies the guidelines created by Conservation International when evaluating its supply chains. Suppliers must deliver highest quality coffee grown and processed in strict adherence to C.A.F.E- (Coffee and Farmer Equity) principles. Specifically, the guidelines seek to promote sustainability in coffee farming by advocating for safe working environments and ensuring that all children residing on farms access basic education (Rochman, 2017). In other words, ethical sourcing is the key sustainability requirement Starbucks imposes on suppliers.
Calma, J. (2020). Starbucks sets new sustainability goals for the decade. The Verge. Available at https://www.theverge.com/2020/1/21/21075852/starbucks-sustainability-goals-waste-water-greenhouse-gases-decade
Rochman, B. (2017). Sustainability is at the heart of Starbucks coffee sourcing. Retrieved from https://stories.starbucks.com/stories/2017/sustainability-is-at-the-heart-of-starbucks-coffee-sourcing/
Starbucks Coffee Company. (2020). Starbucks company profile. Available at https://www.starbucks.com/about-us/company-information/starbucks-company-profile
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