Starbucks Launches Sustainability Innovations in China

Food and beverages available at Starbucks in China

Range of new sustainable packaging invites Chinese customers to take small steps towards a better planet

Extension of Starbucks ‘GOOD GOOD’ movement beyond offering plant-based food and beverage menu

Latest of Starbucks efforts to reduce environmental impact at every stage of the coffee journey

This Earth Day, Starbucks invites customers to take simple actions that are good for the planet in their daily lifestyles. As part of its ‘GOOD GOOD’ movement, Starbucks will be rolling out a range of new sustainable packaging in its stores across the Chinese mainland, including coffee ground straws - the first major food and beverage retail chain in the market to do so at scale. Together with the launch of reusable for-here cold beverage cups and to-go wooden flatware, it marks the latest of Starbucks continuous efforts to reduce environmental impact at every stage of the coffee journey ‘from bean to cup’.

“Starbucks new sustainable packaging solutions make it easier for our partners (employees) and customers to make small contributions towards a better planet in their daily lives. Sustainable packaging is an extension of the StarbucksGOOD GOOD’ movement, as we seek to invite everyone to eat good, feel good and do good. We firmly believe that the cumulative impact of our every action, however small, can add up to effect real change and make a positive difference to the environment,” said Leo Tsoi, senior vice president, chief operating officer and president, Starbucks China Retail.

Starbucks new coffee ground straws are made using coffee grounds and Poly Lactic Acid (PLA), and are 90 percent biodegradable within four months under standard conditions, far exceeding the six-month criteria under both national and international regulatory requirements. Apart from being eco-friendlier, the material is more compact and resilient compared to paper straws, which will be gradually phased out. Customers will be able to enjoy a superior experience as coffee ground straws are more suited for stirring, and can be soaked in beverages for longer periods without turning soft. They also enable smoother suction for customers consuming beverages containing fruit bits. Coffee ground straws were first piloted in selected stores in the market in February, and have received positive feedback from customers. Starting tomorrow, it will be launched in more than 850 Starbucks stores in Shanghai, before subsequent roll out to the rest of the Chinese mainland by the end of the year.

To be launched concurrently in Starbucks stores in Shanghai are specially designed reusable for-here cold beverage cups made from food contact resin, which customers can choose to replace single use plastic cups in-store. Developed by Starbucks China’s R&D team, the new cup had undergone rigorous testing for durability, and is able to withstand over 1,000 times of thorough washing and sanitizing. It was first piloted in Guangzhou and Hainan province last December, and will be rolled out to the rest of the market by the end of the year.

In addition, all Starbucks stores in the Chinese mainland will introduce newly developed biodegradable wooden flatware for to-go consumption, replacing plastic cutlery which will be discontinued. Reusable serve ware will continue to be provided for all in-store consumption. The initiatives are estimated to eliminate a total of over 500 tons of plastic and 350 tons of waste per year when fully rolled out. On top of sustainable packaging innovations, Starbucks will continue to promote waste reduction by offering a 4RMB discount for customers who bring their own tumblers/cups.

The introduction of the latest sustainable packaging solutions comes a year after Starbucks first launched its ‘GOOD GOOD’ Movement inspiring Chinese customers to explore new lifestyles that are good for the planet, starting with the market-wide offering of a plant-based food and beverage menu in partnership with plant-based innovators Beyond Meat, Inc. and Oatly. The menu continues to be refreshed, most recently with the launch of two ‘GOOD GOOD’ limited time offer beverages in late March – the new Oatmilk Velvet Latte, and the return of seasonal favorite Berries Oatmilk Black Tea Macchiato.

Starbucks sustainability efforts are driven by its aspiration to become a resource positive company that gives more than it takes from the planet. The company has set science-based preliminary targets for 50 percent reductions of carbon, water and waste globally by 2030, and just last month announced a new goal to achieve Carbon Neutral Green Coffee and conserve water usage in green coffee processing by 50 percent by 2030.

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