A Message from svp of Global Coffee, Tea and Cocoa on 2030 coffee sustainability goals

Michelle Burns, svp of Global Coffee, Tea and Cocoa, shares new 2030 coffee sustainability goals to achieve carbon neutral green coffee and conserve water usage in green coffee processing by 50%.

Dear partners, friends and colleagues,

It is no secret to any of us that climate change is making it harder and harder to grow coffee. We’ve seen the research. We’ve spoken to experts. We’ve witnessed it first-hand. And, even more so, we’ve heard directly from farmers. If we want to ensure a sustainable future of coffee for all, if we want farmers to thrive, if we want coffee to continue to flow, then we must do more with a greater sense of urgency.

Last year, our ceo, Kevin Johnson, made a bold aspiration for our company to be resource positive – giving more than we take from the planet – and outlined ten-year goals to achieve 50% reduction in carbon, water and waste. With the entire company rallied behind this vision, the coffee team set off to build upon our long-standing programs and initiatives, research and development work, and partnerships with so many others in the industry, to outline a clear path forward for coffee to contribute to these goals, knowing it was equally important for farmers that we take on and solidify this work.

So today, in support of the company’s resource-positive aspiration, to support farmers and to protect the longevity of our supply chain, I’m excited to share our goals to achieve carbon neutral green coffee and conserve water usage in green coffee processing by 50%, both by 2030.    

Our carbon strategy will focus on three primary strategies:

  1. Decreasing carbon emissions in Starbucks supply chain by equipping farmers with precision agronomy tools;
  2. Promoting and distributing disease-resistant coffee tree varietals;
  3. Protecting and restoring at-risk forests in key coffee landscapes.

For water conservation at origin, we will:

  1. Conserve water by directly investing in new ecological wet mills for C.A.F.E. Practice-verified farms;
  2. Invest to make current water processing technology and machinery even more efficient;
  3. Develop water replenishment projects in coffee communities.

More details about our goals and roadmap can be found here. But even more so, it’s important to re-emphasize this isn’t new for us. With coffee at our core and sustainability always a part of our philosophy, this has been a journey fifty years in the making led by the passion of our Starbucks leaders and partners who believe in our mission to inspire and nurture the human spirit. And it’s because of our strategic partners, our industry allies, our like-minded suppliers who have also made sustainability a priority and who have helped us, as well as the industry, to think bigger, hold ourselves accountable and reimagine what’s possible.

The journey is long from over, but together, the future is looking bright. We know we don’t have all the answers and much of the work ahead is uncharted territory. But we stand more firmly now than ever in our commitments and our continued work together to support farmers, their communities and our planet.

I also wanted to share with you how we continue to bring this great work to our customers and partners, as we know sustainability is also a meaningful topic for them. Last week, we launched a new, immersive virtual experience of Hacienda Alsacia, our coffee farm in Costa Rica. As the center of our research and development efforts, Hacienda Alsacia plays a pivotal role in testing new farming practices, tools and techniques as well as breeding more resilient tree varietals – work that has helped inform our sustainability strategies and will continue to play an important role moving forward. With the new virtual experience, people around the world can now get closer to how their coffee is grown and have a deeper appreciation for the many farmers who make it possible. I invite you to grab a cup of coffee and take a trip to the farm.