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Starbucks: A Sustainability Benchmark in the Coffee Industry

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You may have never had a coffee at Starbucks, but we are convinced that you are at least familiar with the brand. Beyond its products and commercial success, one of the most outstanding aspects of this company is its commitment to sustainability.

Every day more and more companies are aware of the need for sustainable practices, not only to maintain a long-term business, but also for the well-being of the planet and the creatures that inhabit it.

Before talking about the practices that have made Starbucks a reference as a committed company, let’s make a brief summary of its history.

The company started its activity in 1971 in the city of Seattle (Washington State), being in its beginnings a small coffee shop that today has become one of the most recognized brands worldwide, with activities in more than 80 countries.

For all those companies or organizations committed to the environment and social justice, Starbucks can be a source of inspiration (in addition to other companies such as Patagonia or Ikea, of which you can find their respective articles in this blog). What practices have made this brand a benchmark of corporate responsibility? Let’s describe them below:

C.A.F.E Practices

As is the case with other types of crops, coffee farmers have to face both environmental and social challenges. Starbucks’ C.A.F.E Practices, which stand for “Coffee and Farmer Equity“, are, in the company’s own words, the cornerstone of its ethical sourcing approach.

This program details a series of rigorous standards that must be followed in the production of coffee, addressing aspects such as the environment, the working conditions of the people dedicated to the cultivation of coffee or transparency in the supply chain, among other things.

Through C.A.F.E., Starbucks maintains direct contact with farmers, promoting sustainable agricultural practices, improving working conditions and helping local communities whose economy is closely linked to coffee to prosper.

Commitment to Renewable Energy and Carbon Footprint Reduction

Starbucks has committed to using renewable energy in both its stores and production processes by 2030. Although we do not know if this date is very optimistic, the truth is that it has already implemented energy saving measures in its stores and has invested in the use of renewable energy, with solar panels that provide energy to many of its facilities, which not only means great energy savings, but also a reduction in the environmental impact derived from the use of fossil fuels to obtain energy.

Responsible Water Management

Water is an essential agricultural resource that needs to be protected and managed effectively. Starbucks is constantly seeking to improve all processes involving water use to try to reduce its use as much as possible.

In addition to trying to minimize the waste of this important resource, it is also necessary to protect it from the contamination that can result from the cultivation and harvesting processes, hence Starbucks also carries out awareness projects for farmers to implement the necessary measures to avoid misuse of water.

Improving Farmers’ Livelihoods

Starbucks C.A.F.E Practices para la mejora social y sostenible.

Labor exploitation in the agricultural world doesn’t catch anyone by surprise, does it? As we have already mentioned in the Starbucks C.A.F.E Practices, the company is committed to improving the living conditions of the people who work in the cultivation, harvesting and production of coffee, as well as the local communities of which they are a part. This involves demanding that employers or farmers who work directly with Starbucks provide decent working conditions for their workers.

On the other hand, Starbucks also invests in social initiatives and projects aimed at improving the well-being of coffee-growing communities.

Reducing the Environmental Impact of Packaging and Packing

The social commitment goes beyond the coffee industry; it involves the reduction of the environmental impact in all possible aspects and this, of course, brings us to the subject of the containers and packaging used in the business activity.

Starbucks has set itself a series of quite ambitious goals in this regard, including the elimination of single-use plastics from all its products by 2025 and, on the other hand, using packaging that is not only recyclable, but also compostable.

Compostability is a quality possessed by organic materials and refers to the ability to transform such material into compost, a product obtained as a result of the composting process and used mainly as a fertilizer

It is a concept that is directly linked to biodegradability, that is, that such material can be naturally decomposed by different biological agents such as plants, animals, fungi or microorganisms and can be used as a substrate to obtain essential nutrients.

As you can see, Starbucks is a great reference for those companies or organizations that are committed to social and environmental welfare. The mermaid brand demonstrates that business growth has to go hand in hand with conscience. Having said all this, we would like to know your opinion Do you know companies that carry out similar practices? What is your opinion regarding the topic discussed in the article? Leave us your comment below.

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