2018 Report: Leading in Sustainability

This page shows data from our 2018 Report. For the most up-to-date goals and progress, see our 2021 Global Environmental & Social Impact Report.

Responsible Coffee

Our vision is simple: to produce sustainable coffee, served sustainably. For more than two decades, Starbucks has partnered with Conservation International on C.A.F.E. Practices, our ethical coffee sourcing program. We now source 99 percent of our coffee this way, promoting quality, economic transparency and social and environmental impact with a vision to make coffee the world’s first sustainable agricultural product in the world.

Agronomist Carlos Mario Rodríguez visits with neighborhood farmers to talk about donated seeds and the future of sustainable coffee near Hacienda Alsacia, Starbucks coffee farm in Costa Rica on February 27, 2018.

Climate change represents significant immediate and long-term risks to coffee farmers around the world, and we are taking steps to help ensure the supply of high-quality coffee for future generations. Core to ensuring the long-term sustainability of coffee is also ensuring the economic profitability for farmers. We are investing in innovation to offer farmers new climate-resilient coffee tree varietals and support coffee-farming communities through our Global Farmer Fund to make sure farmers have access to low-interest financing that will help them reinvest in their farms. We continue to share what we have learned with others through agronomy training for farmers, whether they sell to us or not. We are also supporting women and families in coffee- and tea-growing communities through Starbucks Foundation Origin Grants that are focused on strengthening their leadership skills and income-generating activities to diversify their income.

We’re also working toward a goal of 100 percent ethically sourced tea and cocoa for beverages by 2020. We are investing in sustainability, issuing our third sustainability bond in May 2019 for investors to participate in socially and environmentally focused projects and leveraging new technology to bring real-time digital traceability to our coffee supply chain.

Greener Cups and Packaging

There is perhaps nothing more recognizable for the Starbucks brand than our cup. Yet our cups and packaging remain one of our biggest environmental challenges. We are looking for new ways to promote reusable cups and better manage the lifecycles of disposable ones. We are testing a variety of greener cups that are both recyclable and compostable in select cities through the NextGen Cup Challenge and are launching a lightweight strawless lid with a hope to eliminate 1 billion single-use plastic straws annually.

Over the past decade we have struggled with our goal to significantly increase the use of reusable cups in our stores. We are continuing to test new ideas and approaches to the challenge. In the UK we conducted a trial of a 5-pence disposable cup fee and a 25-pence reusable cup incentive, which increased reusable cup usage for hot drinks sold in stores nationwide from 2.2 to 5.8 percent.

Greener Stores

We know that designing and building green stores is not only environmentally responsible, it is good business. We already operate more than 1,600 LEED certified stores around the world, making us the world’s largest green retailer. We are building on that legacy by developing a new Greener Store framework for 10,000 stores globally by 2025, which could save $50 million in utilities costs over the next 10 years. And we’re empowering our partners to help us in that effort by offering sustainability certification through our Greener Apron program.

Greener Power

Over the past two years, Starbucks has committed to more than $140 million in renewable energy to power our stores, reducing our environmental impact and supporting access to green power. It’s enough to power 100 percent of our more than 9,000 company-operated stores in the United States, and 77 percent of our global operations. 

Yellow Jacket Solar Farm located in Meridian, Texas is another project in which Starbucks is investing.

We plan to locally source more than 50 percent of our renewable energy in the U.S by 2020, including from our new solar farm in North Carolina, which delivers enough clean energy to power the equivalent of the energy consumed by 600 Starbucks stores. And we are partnering with developers to bring new projects online, including a wind farm planned near Olympia, Wash., and a new wind farm in Illinois that will power 360 stores in that state, including the future Chicago Roastery.

Coffee & Tea

99% Ethically Sourced Coffee

Goal: 100% ethically sourced coffee
For the fourth year in a row, more than 99% of our coffee was verified as ethically sourced under C.A.F.E. Practices – that’s nearly 650 million pounds of it. Although we are constantly striving for 100%, it’s that last 1% where some of our most important work happens, bringing on new farmers and cooperatives to help ensure the long-term future of coffee.

95% Ethically Sourced Tea

Goal: 100% ethically sourced tea by 2020
Our tea is verified as 95% ethically sourced by third-party organizations including the Ethical Tea Partnership and Rainforest Alliance to ensure the tea Starbucks sources is produced with sustainable practices and under safe and humane working conditions.

31M Trees Distributed to Farmers

Goal: Provide 100 million trees to farmers by 2025
Starbucks has donated more than 31 million coffee trees over the past three years (9.4 million in 2018) to farmers in Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador. These climate-resilient trees replace ones that are declining in productivity due to age and disease, such as coffee leaf rust.

$21.7M Invested in Farmer Loans

Goal: Invest $50 million in farmers loans by 2020
In 2018, loans reached thousands of farmers in 14 countries to strengthen their coffee farms through tree renovation and infrastructure improvements.

52,000+ Farmers Trained

Goal: Train 200,000 coffee farmers by 2020
Our expert agronomists have provided free training to 52,240 coffee farmers through our nine farmer support centers in coffee-producing countries around the world in the past two years, including 27,938 in 2018. We will explore new ways to further scale our efforts.

Greener Cups & Packaging

12 New Cup Technologies

Goal: Develop 100% compostable and reusable cups by 2022
We are currently testing a dozen promising cup technologies developed through the NextGen Cup Challenge with the goal of creating an entirely recyclable and compostable cup.

10% Post-consumer Fiber

Goal: Double the recycled content of our cups by 2022
Our hot cups currently contain 10% post-consumer fiber (PCF) and we are working to double the recycled content.

70%* Fewer Straws

Goal: Eliminate single-use straws worldwide by 2020
Since we announced our intention to eliminate single use-straws in July 2018, we developed and engineered a new strawlesslid that eliminates the need for a plastic straw and reduces the amount of plastic by 9% versus the traditional lid and straw. We have launched this strawless lid as the default for all iced beverages in Seattle and Vancouver, with sevenmore major markets planned for summer 2019. 

*Estimated reduction once fully implemented

10+ Major Cities Currently Recycle our Cups

Goal: Double the recyclability of our cups by 2022
Our cups are accepted for recycling in: Amsterdam; Boston; Dallas; Denver; London; Louisville, Ky.; New York City; San Francisco; Seattle; Washington, D.C.; and Vancouver, B.C.

1.3% Beverages Served in Personal Cups

Goal: Double the use of reusable cups by 2022
In 2018, 1.3% of customers in company-operated stores in the U.S., Canada and EMEA received a discount for bringing their own mug or tumbler, saving more than 42 million disposable cups. We are working to find new ways to encourage customer adoption of reusables, and to begin to track for-here beverages in our reporting.

Greener Stores

1,600+ LEED-certified Stores

Goal: Build and operate 10,000 greener stores globally by 2025
Starbucks has 1,612 LEED-certified stores in 16 countries, including all 50 U.S. states and Puerto Rico. We are also developing a new open-source framework to ensure that all Starbucks stores are delivering high standards of environmental performance.

This year, we will launch the Greener Store framework in 300 stores and will be verifying that these stores are:
•  100% powered by renewable energy
  25% more energy efficient
  30% more water efficient
  Recycling and diverting waste
  Sourcing responsible materials
  Delivering a healthy environment
  Empowering partners to be sustainability champions

77% Green Energy Globally

Goal: Invest in 100% renewable energy to power operations globally by 2020
Starbucks purchases enough renewable energy to power 100% of its more than 9,000 company-operated stores in the U.S., Canada and the UK with clean energy. Worldwide, more than three-quarters of Starbucks operations are powered by renewables.

7,200+ Greener Apron Partners

Goal: Empower 10,000 partners worldwide to be sustainability champions by 2020
More than 7,200 Starbucks partners have enrolled in the Greener Apron sustainability training program through the Starbucks Global Academy with Arizona State University in the United States, Canada and Britain.

2018 Global Social Impact Report

thumbnail for Artist Damon Brown celebrates Black culture and community in Starbucks latest drinkware collection

Artist Damon Brown celebrates Black culture and community in Starbucks latest drinkware collection