Meet the Starbucks EMEA Greener Store of the Year for 2023


In the face of global climate change, Starbucks is committed to building a more sustainable, equitable and resilient future for coffee, farmers, communities and the planet. Together with our partners, Starbucks is committed to achieving our environmental promise to give more than we take from the planet we all share. We set a bold aspiration to become a resource-positive – to store more carbon than we emit, to eliminate waste and to conserve and replenish more freshwater than we use. This aspiration included setting ambitious 2030 targets to cut our carbon, water and waste footprints in half.

Co-developed with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Starbucks Greener Store initiative is just one of the many ways Starbucks is working to achieve this goal, by accelerating the transformation of our retail footprint towards lower-impact stores, achieving reductions in carbon emissions, water usage and landfill waste.

In 2023, Starbucks certified over 6,000 Greener Stores around the world. With so many stores being built with the future in mind, one store certified in 2023 from each region globally is celebrated for both its innovative initiatives and the positive environmental impact it has on its region.


The title of the Starbucks EMEA Greener Store of the Year for 2023 has been awarded to the Çeşme Ilıca Drive Thru in Türkiye!

Opened in July 2023 by Starbucks EMEA and its licensee partner Alshaya, the store and drive thru is located between two popular holiday resorts on the west coast of the country. While its interior design is inspired by the Çeşme Peninsula (the westernmost point in Turkey), the store was built with a number of impressive sustainable initiatives which helped it to win the prestigious title.

Long-lasting façade coatings

Part of the store’s exterior is made of locally sourced natural stone, a highly recyclable material which does not require the use of resins or toxins in its manufacturing process. “Using natural stone also reduces the store’s overall carbon footprint, as not only is it locally sourced, but it’s a less energy intensive material to quarry compared to other materials such as brick or concrete”, says Mike Allan, senior design manager at Starbucks EMEA, who worked on the store. Unlike other building materials, natural stone also doesn’t emit VOC (volatile organic compound) gases, which can pollute the environment.

The store’s façade is also made up of Corten, a specifically produced grade of carbon steel metal. An inexpensive, nature-friendly, and recyclable material, the high strength of Corten offers the store a longer lifespan due to a layer of rust on its surface, which prevents corrosion from reaching deep into the metal.

Solar energy panels

Receiving up to 14 hours of sunshine per day in summer months, the Çeşme Ilıca Drive Thru takes advantage of this and is home to solar panels on its roof, which convert sunlight into renewable energy, thus providing a clean alternative to fossil fuels. “The energy the solar panels will produce for the store is around 12-15 kW, which will provide annual energy savings of between 12 and 15%,” Mike continues.

Rainwater harvesting system

During rainier months (the area’s average rainfall in December is 133 millimetres), a rainwater harvesting system has been created to water the store’s surrounding garden and to help prevent flooding and soil erosion. Providing the store with its own independent, high quality water supply, the system reduces water bills, reduces the demand for groundwater and can be an effective relief during local droughts.

Endemic landscaping

The landscaping around the store reflects the region’s terrain and thrives on natural rainfall. “Because the landscape is endemic, the plants don’t require fertilizers or other chemicals – some of which can be harmful to the surrounding environment – to grow,” Mike says. Featuring cacti and other succulents, the plants don’t need any further watering and resistant to heat and droughts.

Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) system

A heating system in winter and cooling system in the summer, the VRF system installed inside the store captures existing heat from the environment, rather than burning fossil fuels to generate heat like other systems. “By providing the exact amount of cooling or heating the store requires, and by turning off automatically when movement isn’t detected in the room, the system is a much more energy efficient option,” Mike says.

Terrazzo flooring

Made entirely out of leftover, locally sourced natural stone aggregates like marble, granite and quartz, the store’s flooring has no carbon footprint and aids the reduction of post-commercial waste. With no petroleum-based materials binding it together, it also doesn’t emit any VOCs, which improves the air quality inside the store. “Furthermore, Terrazzo is an incredibly durable material which can often outlast the lifespan of an actual building,” Mike explains.


The judging process

Judges based their selection of the Greener Store of the Year on three main criteria: Partner Pride, Customer Visibility, and Innovation.

"The Çeşme Ilıca Drive Thru stood out because of the incredible number of its sustainable features and how visible these are to our customers and partners,” says Brent Cashell, vp of store development and design in EMEA.

“The partnership with the developer - who shared our vision of innovative application of sustainable features - was exemplary, and the store far exceeded the number of essential standards and elective points required to be certified as a Greener Store.”


An interview with Gökçe Cömert, store manager

But what is like working in the EMEA Greener Store of the Year 2023? Gökçe Cömert has been a Starbucks partner for over two years and has managed the Çeşme Ilıca Drive Thru since it opened in 2023.

“Winning the EMEA Greener Store of the Year title is a truly remarkable achievement, especially for someone who values environmental sustainability like myself,” she says. “The recognition of our store’s sustainable design fills me with pride and motivates me to continue contributing towards a greener future.”

“When my team and I learned about our store winning, we were overcome with surprise and joy! It was a moment of collective celebration – recognizing our dedication to sustainability and the positive impact we’re making in our community.”

“Working in the store signifies my team’s commitment to excellence in sustainable design and operations,” Gökçe continues. “It reinforces our dedication to conducting our work in the best possible manner, while prioritizing environmental responsibility.”

A commitment to a sustainable future

“Our licensing partner Alshaya has kept an exceptional commitment to sustainability development through opening Greener stores,” Brent continues. “Last year, the KAFD (King Abdullah Financial District) store in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia was the first Greener store to be certified in the EMEA region, and out of the 104 stores certified across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, over half of these stores belonged to Alshaya.”

“A champion of Starbucks commitment to building a more sustainable future, the legacy of Alshaya’s dedication and Greener store achievements will be felt for years to come.”

As we look to the future, we are challenging ourselves to think bigger and do much more in partnership with others to take care of the planet we share. With the help of our partners, customers, industry experts and advocates, we are innovating – testing, learning and scaling – new ways to reduce our impact on the environment.

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Over 1500 Starbucks partners gather in London for a truly Limitless Experience