Starbucks Green Building to Achieve Its New Sustainability

Topics: Green Building

Starbucks, a well-known and common hangout spot, is the food establishment that I chose to research in order to find out whether it is sustainable or not. Environment-friendly wise, Starbucks is efficient at including recycled coffee grounds, containing low-emitting materials, and saving over 45% of lighting power through the consumption of effective LED fixtures. Not only that, but Starbucks continues to implement green design into international stores that include building two flagship LEED-certified stores in China in order to assist with market identifying efficiencies.

According to Starbucks website, “we joined the U.S. Green Building Council® (USGBC) in 2001 and collaborated with them to develop the LEED® for Retail program, an effort to adapt LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) to new construction and commercial interior strategies for retail businesses” (

Not only is Starbucks efficient with being environmentally-conscious, its corporation is also focused on preserving water and energy consumption. Starbucks reduced their water use by 26.

5% through retrofits regarding plumbing, water systems, and enhancements to new store design. Not only that, but C.A.F.E. Practices and farmer support centers worldwide help increase quality and demand while still reducing water used for processing coffee, maintaining rivers and streams, and ensuring that employees always have access to clean drinking water. As if that isn’t impressive enough, Starbucks also works with non-profit organizations to help improve the quality of life in coffee-growing regions by investing in programs that address critical community needs such as water access, sanitation, and hygiene.

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Energy-wise, this past year was dedicated to finishing the installation of Energy Management Systems (which optimize heating and cooling) in roughly 6,000 stores. The addition of heated food to the Starbucks menu requires an increase in refrigeration and ovens, which offsets a portion of the gains from their existing energy efficiency measures. According to its website, “for 2016, we remained one of the Environmental Protection Agency’s top ten purchasers of renewable energy in the U.S”

When it comes to recycling, Starbucks is determined to establish ways to reduce waste. They cooperate with companies and organizations as a member of the Food Packaging Institute’s Paper Recovery Alliance and Plastics Recovery Group with the goal to achieve recyclable packaging in both material and practice so that consumers can have access to recycling services wherever they choose to dispose of their waste. Not only that, but Starbucks also offers a cup with 10% post-consumer recycled paper fiber in North America, after helping develop the technology and lead the industry to seek approval for using recycled fiber for food packaging. Just when you think that Starbucks can’t put any more effort in, they also include 50% post-consumer, recycled PET (rPET) in cold cups used in European markets, and 15% rPET in U.S. Bistro boxes. To encourage investing in reusable cups, Starbucks has been rewarding consumers with a discount since 1985 when they bring in personal tumblers. According to its website, “in 2013 we launched a $2 reusable cup in the U.S. and Canada, and a £1cup in the United Kingdom (

When it comes to climate change, Starbucks focuses on building to LEED standards while, at the same time, becoming one of the largest purchasers of renewable energy in their sector. Farm level-wise, Starbucks has worked with Conservation International to include climate-smart agricultural practices as part of C.A.F.E (aka ethical coffee-buying guidelines). Starbucks also takes pride in being a founding member of Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), and collaborates with other companies to advocate for stronger climate change and clean energy policies. Starbucks is a signatory to RE100 (the global corporate commitment to purchasing 100% renewable energy), as well as the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyer’s Principles. Not to mention that Starbucks conducted an inventory of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in fiscal 2015, used the correct protocol, and evaluated major emissions from their global retail stores and manufacturing operations. Since over 80% of GHG emissions focus on energy conservation and purchases of renewable energy, it’s proved to be a success for being conscious and adaptive to inevitable climate change.

According to Mackenzie Goldberg, the company’s CEO Kevin Johnson states that “simply put, sustainable coffee, served sustainably is our aspiration. We know that designing and building green stores is not only responsible, it is cost effective as well. The energy and passion of our green apron partners has inspired us to find ways to operate a greener store that will generate even greater cost savings while reducing impact.” (Starbucks Commits To Move Towards More Sustainable Stores By 2025). Clearly, the CEO of Starbucks Corporation advocates that Starbucks is sustainable and effective in reducing costs and generating greener stores. According to CSRHUB rating systems, however, 86% CSR/ESG ranking compared with 18,553 companies. 54% overall CSR rating based on perceived performance. 64% overall CSR rankings based on ordering a company’s ratings against all other ratings. 51% community, 51% employees, 63% environment, and 49% governance. These ratings insinuate that the practices Starbucks engages in are not sustainable.

Personally, after gathering all the information and looking into the statistics of the Starbucks Corporation, I would rate its practices to be efficient and effective. Even though I would have continued to occasionally purchase Starbucks regardless, just being knowledgeable of all this information makes me want to further support Starbucks and its businesses. It is evident that Starbucks cares about its employees, its consumers, and remains active in organizations that are conscious of the environment, climate change, water reduction, energy consumption, recycling, and reducing waste. I was unable to find accurate information on reducing pollution and sustainable interior decor, however. Considering all the information at hand, it is evident that Starbucks and its practices are sustainable.

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Starbucks Green Building to Achieve Its New Sustainability. (2022, May 16). Retrieved from

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