Starbucks Sustainability Timeline


Updated May 2023

Sustainability is core to who we are at Starbucks. 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 ethically sourcing our coffee, developing a Greener Store Framework, making investments in renewable energy and championing a more sustainable cup. 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, with the latest updates here.

1971

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

1984

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

1985

Offers 10-cent reusable cup discount.

1990

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.”

1992

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

1995

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

1996

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

1997

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.

1998

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

2001

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.

2004

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.

2005

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.

2006

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).

2008

Announces 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.

2009

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.

2010

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

2011

Opens Farmer Support Center in Mbeya, Tanzania.

2012

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.

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.

2013

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.

2014

Offers environmentally friendly napkins in stores in Japan made from 70 percent post-consumer recycled milk-carton fiber and 30 percent FSC®-certified paper.

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

York Roasting Plant in York, Penn. achieves 100% zero waste certification.

2015

Joins Conservation International and other industry leaders as a founding partner 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 percent 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.

2016

Introduces almondmilk, a non-dairy milk alternative.

Issues its first Corporate 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 Farmers Support Center in Chiapas, Mexico.

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.  

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

2017

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.

2018

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

Achieves 98 percent recycling of coffee grounds in Korea.

Rolls out 5p paper cup charge in Starbucks stores across Britain, with proceeds dedicated to efforts to reduce plastic pollution across the U.K.

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 1,600 LEED-certified stores in 20 countries.

2019

Launches FoodShare program in Canada, committing to rescue 100 percent of food available for donation from its more than 1,100 company-owned stores.

The Starbucks Reserve Roastery Shanghai 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. 

Generates enough energy from a wind farm in Illinois to power more than 340 Starbucks stores in the state, including the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Chicago.

Introduces improved strawless lid made with 9 percent less plastic in several markets in the U.S. and Canada.

FoodShare reaches a milestone of rescuing enough eligible unsold food to provide more than 20 million meals to those in need in the United States.

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

2020

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

Commits to being a resource positive company, including goals of reducing carbon, water and waste 50 percent by 2030.

Rolls out 5-cent paper cup charge across Germany, with 100 percent of proceeds going to the World Wildlife Fund.

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

Hires first chief sustainability officer.

Expands plant-based menu innovation

Launches Starbucks Digital Traceability 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 plans to open its Coffee Innovation Park in China 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.

2021

Rolls out oatmilk nationwide in all U.S. stores.

Commits to coffee-specific environmental goals, committing to carbon neutral green coffee and to conserve water usage in green coffee processing by 50 percent, both by 2030.

Pilots borrow-and-return reusable cup programs in the United States, S. Korea and Japan. Commits to offering reusable cup program in all stores in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region by 2025.

Fully transitions four stores in S. Korea to a reusable cup format and commits to the full discontinuation of disposable cups nationwide by 2025.

Expands its Circular Cup program to 30 countries across Europe, Middle East and Africa, recycling 450,000 cups.

Expands its open-source Greener Stores Framework for sustainable building globally.

In partnership with Arizona State University, announces the ASU-Starbucks Center for the Future of People and the Planet.

Starbucks expands FoodShare program to 100 percent of U.S. company-operated stores, donating nearly 34 million ready-to-eat meals.

Eliminates all plastic straws in Canada and introduces a new paper straw.

Launches new program to reduce food waste at select Starbucks stores in Japan.

Opens its tenth Farmer Support Center, in Brazil.

Partners with U.K. dairy cooperative Arla to develop and pilot a new sustainable dairy sourcing blueprint for Starbucks stores in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region. Announces a collaboration with The Nature Conservancy to help refine and scale Starbucks collaborative approach to sustainable dairy and environmental stewardship.

2022

Tests new returnable cup program in the company’s Europe, Middle East, and Africa region – allowing customers to opt for a reusable in the same way they would a single-use cup.

Announces Donde Come Uno, Comen Dos in Mexico a new initiative to reduce food waste at select stores.

Pilots borrow-and-return reusable cup program in Singapore.

2023

Launched the Borrow A Cup program in 60 stores in Taiwan to encourage customers to shift away from single use cups.  

By the end of 2023 in the U.S., customers will be able to use their own personal reusable cup for every Starbucks visit.

Achieved our goal of Starbucks hot cups containing 20% recycled content. Also achieved 30% recycled content in our new, more sustainable holiday cups. This success has begun a transition for Starbucks North America to a more sustainable hot cup that is light-weight and uses less plastic in the liner and less fiber in the cup.  

In support of our expanded water commitment of 50% of water withdrawal conserved or replenished across our direct operations, stores, packaging and agricultural supply chain by 2030, Starbucks announced an initial anchor investment of up to$25 million into WaterEquity’s Global Access Fund.  

In another key step to reduce our environmental impact and bolster a more robust recycling industry, Starbucks announced a $10 million investment in Circular Services to reduce landfill waste and drive innovate efforts to shift towards a circular economy in the United States.  

The first electric vehicle charging stations in partnership with Volvo and powered by ChargePoint were installed at Starbucks stores along the Seattle to Denver route. This pilot plan, announced in March, is part of Starbucks expansion of renewable energy and decarbonization projects in the U.S. 

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