Starbucks sees greener pastures for consumer app, lids and straws

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Starbucks sees greener pastures for consumer app, lids and straws

By Dan Berthiaume - 03/20/2019
Starbucks’ sustainability efforts will include mobile tracking of ingredients for packaged coffee.

As part of a broader push toward greater sustainability in its business practices, Starbucks plans to add a feature to its consumer-facing mobile app that will track coffee beans from initial harvesting to the point of sale. By scanning a package of coffee, customers will be able to see what countries the beans came from, verification of the beans as 100% ethically and sustainably sourced, information about Starbucks’ responsible sourcing standards and open-source Farmer Support Center in Colombia, the location where the beans were roasted, and brewing tips.

Starbucks is now one year into a two-year project to explore the benefits of digital traceability, and is currently previewing the sustainability feature of its app and will formally release it at an unspecified future date.

In addition, over the next year, Starbucks customers in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver and London will help test a few different cups that will be both recyclable and compostable in those municipalities’ facilities. In 2016, Starbucks set a goal to double the recycled content, recyclability and the reusability of its cups by 2022.

As part of its sustainability efforts, Starbucks will also roll out new lightweight, recyclable strawless lids to all stores in the U.S. and Canada in the next year. In July 2018, Starbucks announced it will phase out plastic straws from all stores worldwide by 2020, eliminating more than 1 billion straws a year.

Newly redesigned, lightweight, recyclable strawless lids will roll out this summer to Starbucks locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Indianapolis and Toronto, while the rest of the U.S. and Canada will receive them by early 2020.

Blended beverages will continue to have a different, domed lid made from recyclable plastic and will be accompanied by a straw, except where local law prohibits it. Starbucks is testing alternative material straws for blended beverages. Plastic straws will continue to be available upon request for Starbucks customers who need or request them.

“It was at our shareholders meeting one year ago that we launched multi-year initiatives around greener cups and digitally traceable coffee,” said Kevin Johnson, president and CEO of Starbucks. “Today thanks to many valuable collaborations, we’re seeing significant, tangible progress toward a greener future.”