Starbucks perks up renewable energy, but blows efficiency goal

In its 10th annual report on global corporate responsibility, the giant coffee company boosts purchases of alternative energy, sustainably sourced coffee. But it fell short of its energy efficiency target.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

A decade ago, when Starbucks published its first corporate sustainability report, there were very few people -- let alone entire companies -- that believed in the idea acting with the environment or the community in mind could be good for business. With its latest disclosures, the giant coffee company reports continued progress toward a number of its key high-level goals, including its pledge to source 100 percent of the energy used in its company-owned stores with renewable energy or renewable energy equivalents by 2015.

By the end of 2010, Starbucks was purchasing renewable energy equal to approximately 58 percent of the electricity used in its North American operations. (See the chart to the left for the multi-year story.)

BUT, Starbucks fell far short of its goal to reduce energy consumption by 25 percent through 2010 against its 2008 base level of 6.8 kilowatt-hours of consumption for its company-owned stores. During 2009, it cut consumption by 1.7 percent and during 2009, it reduced electricity usage by 1.6 percent. Starbucks said it will now seek to cut energy consumption by 25 percent through 2015.

Here's a visual view of the company's progress toward its various sustainability goals, notably energy and water.

The other metric that gets particular attention is the company's quest toward a better recycling policy for its paper and plastic cups. It is testing some new ideas in New York with the goal of introducing a new program in 2012. By 2015, the company is aiming to produce 25 percent of its beverages in reusable cups. With that in mind, it will give a free cup of coffee or tea to anyone bringing in a reusable container on Earth Day (Friday, April 22). The video below explains the program.

As for what is in those containers, during 2010, Starbucks managed to increase its purchases of coffee sourced under the C.A.F.E. Practices to 84 percent (from 81 percent). It also expanded its pilot programs with coffee-growing communities in Chiapas, Mexico, and Sumatra, Indonesia.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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