Starbucks Sustainability Timeline

Updated April 6, 2021

Sustainability has been at our core since the beginning, back when Starbucks began in 1971. Over the years, with the help of our partners, customers, industry experts and advocates, we’ve looked for ways to help protect our planet, including introducing a cup sleeve made from recycled content, ethically sourcing 99% of our coffee, co-developing the LEED for Retail program, investments in renewable energy, championing the creation of a recyclable and compostable paper to-go cup and more. We recently announced a new sustainability commitment to be resource positive, including preliminary goals of reducing carbon, water and waste 50 percent by 2030.

To learn more, read on for an at-a-glance look at Starbucks sustainability milestones:


Opens its first store in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, selling whole bean coffee, tea and spices.


Begins its first test of a coffeehouse concept, serving to-go beverages in paper cups.


Offers 10 cent reusable cup discount.


Unveils Starbucks Mission Statement: “To establish Starbucks as the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world while maintaining our uncompromising principles as we grow.”


Establishes environmental mission statement, committing to “a role of environmental leadership in all facets of our business.”


Rolls out Grounds for Your Garden program in U.S. and Canada.


Establishes a relationship with the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund to explore ways to reduce the environmental impact of its cups.


Introduces soymilk, Starbucks first non-dairy milk alternative.

Develops a cup sleeve made from recycled content to help eliminate the practice of double-cupping.

Establishes The Starbucks Foundation, whose mission is to strengthen communities around the world by creating opportunities for populations that face barriers, advancing sustainability initiatives and promoting civic engagement.


Forms partnership with Conservation International to create Starbucks first ethical sourcing program.


Issues its first Corporate Social Responsibility Report.

Introduces ethical coffee-sourcing guidelines developed in partnership with Conservation International.

Partners with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to develop the LEED for Retail program.


Launches C.A.F.E. (Coffee and Farmer Equity) Practices with Conservation International, with SCS Global Services overseeing the verification system of suppliers.

Opens first Farmer Support Center opens in Costa Rica. Since then, eight other centers have opened around the world to support coffee farmers with climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies.

Publicly reports its first inventory of greenhouse gas emissions.


Makes its first renewable energy purchase, equivalent to 5 percent of U.S. stores' electricity consumption.

Designs and builds its first LEED certified store in Hillsboro, Ore.


Quadruples renewable energy purchases to equal 20 percent and begins buying renewable energy certificates (RECs) in partnership with World Resources Institute’s Green Power Market Development Group. Designated as one of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partner of the Year.

Launches the retail industry’s first hot beverage paper cup with 10 percent post-consumer recycled fiber (PCF).


Announces 2015 “Shared Planet” commitments, including goals to ethically source 100 percent of its coffee, build LEED-certified company-operated stores and cover 100 percent of U.S. store operations with renewable energy. Implements global LED lighting conversion program.

Commits $20 million to a variety of farmer loan funds, providing coffee farmers access to capital to cover expenses during the growing and harvesting cycles and make strategic investments in their farms.

Partners with Conservation International to launch climate change campaign and five-year global commitment to support farming communities and encourage the protection of their land, water and forests.

Introduces a new polypropylene plastic cup that uses 15 percent less plastic than previous cups and emits 45 percent less greenhouse gas during production.


Hosts first Cup Summit in Seattle, inviting local governments, cup manufacturers, recyclers and stakeholders to find a comprehensive recyclable cup solution.

Opens Farmer Support Center in Kigali, Rwanda.

Unveils new, locally relevant design strategy to reduce environmental impact and incorporate reused and recycled elements. Starbucks becomes one of the first retailers to join USGBC’s LEED Volume Certification pilot program.

Starbucks store at Disneyland Paris, 2009

Opens LEED-certified roasting plant in Sandy Run, S.C.


Hosts second Cup Summit in Boston and announces Paper Recovery Alliance with the Foodservice Packaging Institute.


Opens Farmer Support Center in Mbeya, Tanzania.


Rolls out cup sleeves made from less paper and more post-consumer content, saving nearly 100,000 trees each year.

Starbucks Mexico opens its first LEED® certified store and achieves the Silver Certification level, making it the first LEED® Silver store in Latin America.

Committed to helping coffee growers and workers who represent Starbucks collective supply chain, Starbucks opens its second Farmer Support Center in Latin American and the Caribbean region in Manizales, Colombia.

Opens its first store made from reclaimed end-of-life shipping containers. Starbucks would go on to open more than 45 of these modular stores in the United States, and more around the world.

Opens Farmer Support Centers in Manizales, Colombia and Yunnan, China.


Purchases Hacienda Alsacia, its first 240-hectare coffee farm in Costa Rica, to serve as a global agronomy Research and Development facility and working farm.

Offers a $1 reusable cup in the U.S. and Canada, and a £1 cup in the United Kingdom to help reduce cup waste.


Starbucks Japan offers environmentally friendly napkins made from 70% post-consumer recycled milk-carton fiber and 30% FSC®-certified paper.

Opens 500th LEED®-certified store, more than any other retailer in the world.

York Roasting Plant achieves 100% zero waste certification.


Is a founding partner with Conservation International and other industry leaders to launch the Sustainable Coffee Challenge, an effort to make coffee the world’s first sustainable agricultural product.

Launches One Tree for Every Bag program, which provides more than 25 million rust-resistant coffee trees to farmers whose farms are affected by coffee rust.   

Purchases enough renewable energy to power 100% of its company-operated stores in the U.S., Canada and UK.

Reaches 99% ethically-sourced coffee milestone with Conservation International.

Achieves its 25 percent water reduction target through global water conservation measures.

Announces additional commitment of $30 million as part of its Global Farmer Fund program, which supports coffee farmers in improving the infrastructure on their farms and replacing older coffee trees with new ones.

Introduces coconutmilk, a non-dairy milk alternative.

Completes global rollout of new cup sleeves, which are made from less paper and more post-consumer fiber.


Introduces almondmilk, a non-dairy milk alternative.

Issues its first Sustainability Bond in the United States.

Reaches milestone of 1,000 LEED-certified stores in 20 countries, including the historic Starbucks Roastery in Seattle.

Opens its third Farmers Support Center in Latin America, in Chiapas, Mexico, to offer technical support to coffee producers.

Partners with Feeding America to launch its FoodShare food donation program with a goal to rescue 100 percent of food available to donate from U.S. stores by the end of 2020.  

Launches Greener Apron program for partners to become certified in environmental sustainability.


Announces commitment to provide 100 million climate-resilient coffee trees to farmers by 2025.

Issues its second Sustainability Bond, this time in Japan.

Expands food waste initiatives across EMEA.


Eliminates straws in all Starbucks stores in Korea through strawless lids and paper straw alternatives.

Achieves 98% recycling of coffee grounds in Korea.

Rolls out 5p Paper Cup Charge in Starbucks stores in the UK and Germany

Achieves 100 percent zero waste certification at the Starbucks roasting plant in Carson Valley, Nev.

Opens Hacienda Alsacia Visitor Center to welcome visitors from around the world to experience Starbucks Hacienda Alsacia coffee farm, a hub for coffee research and innovation.

Invests in North Carolina solar farm to power 600 Starbucks stores in North Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, West Virginia and Washington, D.C., as well solar farms in Texas, providing enough energy for the equivalent of 360 Starbucks stores across the state.

Cascade Solar Farm in Wharton, Tex.

Develops Greener Stores framework in partnership with SCS Global Services and World Wildlife Fund to design, build and operate 10,000 Greener Stores globally by 2025.

Co-founds the NextGen Consortium in partnership with Closed Loop Partners to address recycling infrastructure and launch the NextGen Cup Challenge to develop a widely recyclable and compostable fiber to-go cup.

Announces commitment to eliminate plastic straws globally by 2020 and launches innovative strawless lid for cold beverages.

Donates 2 million coffee seeds to rebuild Puerto Rico’s coffee industry following the destruction of Hurricane Maria.

Announces strategy to positively impact 250,000 women and girls in coffee, tea and cocoa communities by 2025.

Operates over 1600 LEED-certified stores in 20 countries.


Launches FoodShare program in Canada, committing to rescue 100 percent of food available for donation from its more than 1,100 company-owned stores. Starbucks Canada is actively working to expand the program to even more cities and provinces, with a goal to have a national solution in place by 2021.

The Shanghai Roastery sets a new benchmark in green retail as the first in mainland China’s food retail industry to be certified LEED Platinum.

Issues its third and largest Sustainability Bond to support Starbucks ethical coffee sourcing and its Greener Retail initiative.

Coffee journey goes digital for customers and farmers with development of new traceability technology.

Reaches goal to enroll 10,000 partners in Greener Apron certification program.

Launches Siren’s Blend, supporting and celebrating women in coffee.

Conducts the first ever airport reusable cup trial at London’s Gatwick Airport to drive consumer behavior around reusables.

Hosts Greener Stores Innovation Challenge at Tryer Center, with store partners from U.S. and Canada pitching ideas on how stores can become more sustainable. 

More than 340 Illinois Starbucks-operated stores are powered with 100% renewable energy from wind power generated at Hilltopper wind farm in Logan County, Ill.

Introduces improved strawless lid made with 9 percent less plastic in several markets in the U.S. and Canada with plans for a full roll out by the end of 2020.

Reaches a milestone in the U.S. of rescuing enough eligible unsold food to provide more than 20 million meals to those in need, through the FoodShare program in partnership with Feeding America.

Invests in a wind farm in Illinois to power 360 stores, including the Chicago Roastery.

Launches The Cup Fund recycling program in the UK with environmental charity, Hubbub.


Rolls out 5p paper cup charge in Germany

Introduces oatmilk, a non-dairy milk alternative, in the Midwest.

Starbucks markets across Asia begin the new year by phasing out plastic straws, including Japan, Indonesia and Thailand.

Hires first chief sustainability officer.

Announces new sustainability commitment to be resource positive, including preliminary goals of reducing carbon, water and waste 50 percent by 2030.

Expands plant-based menu innovation

Launches Starbucks Digital Traceability Web Tool, which provides a way for customers to engage directly with their coffee and learn more about its journey, from bean to cup.

Rolls out strawless lids across company-operated and licensed stores in the U.S. and Canada

Distributes 10 million disease-resistant coffee trees to farmers in Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador as part of our 10-year, 100 million-tree commitment. Starbucks has donated nearly 50 million coffee trees to farmers to-date.

Joined the new Transform to Net Zero initiative as a founding member.

Announces Starbucks China will open its Coffee Innovation Park in summer 2022 incorporating advancements in sustainable manufacturing, smart supply chain innovation, and technology to support the aspiration to deliver the most energy- and water-efficient roasting operations for Starbucks in the world, while minimizing waste.

Confirms commitment to be resource positive company, including goals of reducing carbon, water and waste 50 percent by 2030.


Rolls out oatmilk in all U.S. stores.

Commits to Carbon Neutral Green Coffee and to conserve water usage in green coffee processing by 50%, both by 2030.

Starbucks pilots Borrow a Cup Program in Seattle, an initiative that provides customers an option to receive their beverage in a reusable cup for a small deposit and return at participating stores contactless return kiosk.

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A latte, latte love: How Starbucks UK partners surprised customers with personalised cups this Valentines Day