Starbucks makes big green store push

Starbucks is extending its commitment to sustainability with an ambitious initiative expected to reduce utilities expenses by $50 million during the next 10 years.

The coffee giant’s new “Greener Stores” framework is designed to set a new standard for designing, building and operating Starbucks stores. Over the next year, Starbucks will develop an accredited program to audit all existing company-operated stores in the U.S. and Canada against the framework criteria, which will result in the chain operating 10,000 “greener stores” globally by 2025, (encompassing existing locations, new builds and renovations.)

The program includes a focus on using responsibly-sourced materials, energy efficiency, as well as lighting, air and noise improvements. It will employ energy-efficient technologies that will reduce energy consumption by 25% compared to prior store designs.

Starbucks expects the new standards will save an incremental $50 million in utility costs over the next 10 years, building on its 10-year legacy of utility savings generated from its existing eco-friendly practices. To date, those savings have equated to $30 million in annual operating costs.

“We know that designing and building green stores is not only responsible, it is cost effective as well,” said Kevin Johnson, president and CEO, Starbucks. “The energy and passion of our green apron partners has inspired us to find ways to operate a greener store that will generate even greater cost savings while reducing impact.”

With performance-based standards that incorporate design and extend throughout the life of a store, “Starbucks Greener Stores” will focus on the following:

Energy efficiency & water stewardship: Deploying technologies and practices that ultimately deliver 30% water savings and 25% avoided energy over historic store design practices;

Renewable energy: Powering stores by 100% renewable energy through investments in country-specific solar and wind projects;

Responsible materials: Ensuring materials and products for stores are responsibly and sustainably sourced;

Waste diversion: Designing and operating stores to reduce waste;

Healthy environment: Designing and operating stores to create a comfortable experience that promotes wellness for partners and customers, including lighting, noise, air quality and temperature; and

• Inspiring a culture of sustainability and empowering partners to take action, be informed, and engage in sustainability issues and practices.

The new framework will be co-developed by leading experts including World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and will be audited and verified by SCS Global Services, a third-party verification organization that also oversees Starbucks Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices. It will be open-sourced to allow other retailers to benefit.

Starbucks has been a trailblazer in the development and implementation of scalable green building and operations. In 2001, the retailer joined with the U.S. Green Building Council to develop the LEED for Retail program, and in 2005, Starbucks opened its first LEED-certified store. Currently, the company operates more than 1,500 LEED-certified stores globally across 20 countries – including all 50 states and Puerto Rico – more than any other retailer in the world.