Business

Starbucks says, hold the milk to reduce carbon footprint

Dairy biggest source of CO2, chain says

Starbucks is targeting 50 percent reductions in carbon emissions, water withdrawal and waste sent to landfills by 2030.
Starbucks is targeting 50 percent reductions in carbon emissions, water withdrawal and waste sent to landfills by 2030. (Bloomberg)

To cut your morning coffee’s carbon footprint, skip the Frappuccino and take a plain black espresso.

Adding whipped cream to millions of Starbucks Corp. drinks emits 50 times as much greenhouse gas as the company’s private jet.

Overall, dairy products are the biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions across the coffee giant’s operations and supply chain.

Those are just two findings from Starbucks’s most sweeping environmental assessment, unveiled Tuesday as the company announced ambitious goals for reducing its impact.

By 2030, the cafe chain is targeting 50 percent reductions in carbon emissions, water withdrawal and waste sent to landfills.

The task is immense. Starbucks in 2018 was responsible for emitting 16 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, using 1 billion cubic meters of water and dumping 868 metric kilotons — more than twice the weight of the Empire State Building — of coffee cups and other waste.

The audit was conducted with sustainability consultant Quantis and the World Wildlife Fund.

“We know this journey will be challenging, we know we can’t do this alone, and we know this will require others to join us,” CEO Kevin Johnson said.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

The company, which has more than 31,000 outlets in more than 80 markets, joins a parade of companies announcing green initiatives as the World Economic Forum in Davos gets underway with a redoubled focus on climate change.

This year’s gathering in the Swiss ski resort features Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and President Donald Trump, while CEO Larry Fink of BlackRock set the tone by warning that the asset manager will address the issue in its investments.

The coffee chain’s moves follow investor pressure, with a resolution calling on the company to step up the use of sustainable packaging receiving support from almost half of shareholders at its annual general meeting last year.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.