Only a few months ago I was standing with our design team inside a cavernous concrete shell below the beautiful city of Amsterdam. We were inside “The Bank,” a landmark building in Rembrandt Square, and were about to transform the empty 1,400 square foot bank vault into the biggest single space for one of our stores in all of Europe. It had to honor the existing architecture and culture of the city, but is also had to feel just like your neighborhood Starbucks.
We started with a deep study of Dutch design. The Dutch have a strong sensibility of using open spaces with clean lines – a simple aesthetic combined with functional ingenuity. But this is also a culture rich with trade history that influences an inviting, intimate and relaxed old world aesthetic, and no one knows this more than our Dutch-born Concept Design Director Liz Muller and her team in Amsterdam.
We’re proud to announce that Starbucks has come in at #7 on the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Top 50, a list ranking the top renewable energy purchasing organizations in the United States. Last year, we purchased Green-e® certified renewable energy credits equal to more than 421 million kilowatt-hours of green energy – enough electricity to power more than 50% of our company-owned stores in the U.S., or over 33,000 US homes for a year. 100% of that energy came from wind power. We’re honored by this recognition, but while our commitment to supporting green energy is unwavering, our primary goal is to reduce the energy and water used to operate our stores. Learn more here.
We do it every year. We come up with a lengthy list of New Years resolutions that will transform our lives! We swear to finally use that gym membership, lose 10 pounds, pay off our credit cards and bulk up our savings account, all while keeping the house spotless and learning to speak Chinese. Sound familiar?
In the middle of all that, it can be easy to miss those smaller goals that, easy as they are to carry out, come with exponential benefits. This year, feel free to take it easy and still make a difference. Here are five ways:
Starbucks held its third Cup Summit in Boston last week, gathering over 100 packaging industry leaders to discuss solutions for the recyclability of cups and other packaging. In addition to the meeting itself, there was a great 2011 Cup Summit webcast with expert representatives from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Tim Horton’s, Georgia-Pacific and Action Carting Environmental Services.
The Summit was a great success, with everyone feeling like we made a lot of progress solving this difficult issue. We met in the incredible MIT Media Lab, hosted by Peter Senge, senior lecturer at MIT and founding chair of the Society for Organizational Learning. Peter and his team helped the group focus on system solutions that consider the entire life of cups and packaging: sourcing of raw materials, use by our customers and final disposal.
I’m in Boston for Starbucks third Cup Summit, an effort that began in 2009 and has brought together 100 leaders throughout the paper and plastic cup value chain for a common purpose – to find a way to make food packaging and serveware recyclable. We are working with more representatives from suppliers, cup manufacturers, retail and beverage businesses, recyclers, NGOs, and academic experts– even competitors. We know that together we can find innovative solutions for our cups and packaging and make a meaningful impact.
On Friday, Sept. 9, I’ll be hosting a panel discussion at the Cup Summit with experts from MIT, Tim Horton’s, Georgia-Pacific and New York waste management company Action Carting Environmental Services. We’ll talk about the common challenges we face, the progress we have made, and ideas for the future.
I hope you’ll join the conversation at our live webcast on Friday, Sept. 9 at 12 p.m. Eastern/9 a.m. Pacific at www.starbucks.com/cupsummit or on Starbucks Facebook page. Submit your questions and ideas on Twitter by using the hashtag #cupsummit or Facebook.
Jim Hanna is director of environmental impact for Starbucks.
The first time I ever visited Portland, Ore., was on a rainy Saturday afternoon in January about eight years ago. My stay was brief, permeated with chill and twilight, and I ended the trip with feelings of ambivalence.
However, over my subsequent years in the Pacific Northwest I’ve returned there several times, and
I’ve discovered a delightful fact: Portland is insidious. Like a casual acquaintance who slowly grows into a cherished friend, the city reveals more of its great qualities every time I visit and leaves me looking forward to my next visit.
I had the privilege of one such return last week when I traveled with our Store Concepts team to attend the opening of a very special new Starbucks Store location: the Brewery Blocks store at NW 11th Avenue and Couch Street.
On March 10, 2011, we opened Vancouver’s first LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) registered store. Located at the corner of West Hastings and Howe streets, this beautiful store exemplifies our approach to store design and commitment for all new stores globally to be LEED® certified.
Our Canadian store development and design teams have been busy renovating stores to link them more closely to the communities they serve. As stores are built and renovated, the teams look to source materials and employ craftspeople on a local basis, incorporating reused and recycled elements where possible.
If you’ve visited one of our company-owned stores in British Columbia lately, hopefully you’ve seen our new front of store recycling containers!
We were able to place containers in almost all stores, although unfortunately there were a few in towns that still don’t have recycling service for businesses. Also, some of our landlords do not provide recycling service to their buildings, so stores in those locations can’t recycle. Starbucks is the first restaurant to accept disposable coffee cups for recycling in B.C., and it’s a big step towards meeting our goal to have recycling bins in all our stores by 2015.
I want to let you know about an important milestone in our recycling journey. Earlier this month, we completed a six-week pilot project that – for the first time – proved our used paper cups can be recycled into new paper cups.
To make this happen, we collaborated with International Paper, our largest cup supplier, and Mississippi River Pulp LLC, the company that produces post-consumer recycled fiber (PCF) for our paper cups. While the PCF for our current paper cups is made from office paper, the PCF used for the pilot project contains used cup material.
This advancement brings us one step closer to our goal of ensuring that 100% of our cups are reusable or recyclable by 2015. By “recyclable,” we’re not just talking about the cup design, but the ability for local communities to collect, haul and process our cups for recycling. We want customers to be able to recycle single-use cups in our stores, in their homes and workplaces, and in public spaces. While some communities already recycle our cups, most don’t have the right infrastructure in place – and that’s what we’re aiming to influence.
Starting Thursday, April 22 we’re convening our second cup summit. In order to reach our goal of ensuringthat 100% of our cups are reusable or recyclable by 2015, we’ve invited people from all over the industry to discuss potential solutions.
We’re including city recyclers, government leaders, raw material suppliers, NGOs, academic experts, cup manufacturers, and other retail and beverage businesses.
We want to have an open and honest discussion about the entire paper and plastic cup ecosystem. We believe waste from the paper cup can be considerably reduced if we all work together on this issue.
To encourage an open discussion among attendees, we’re keeping the meeting closed. However, we want to incorporate your questions and ideas in the dialogue. To do so, we’re hosting a live chat with Jim Hanna, our recycling expert at Starbucks, and Peter Senge, senior lecturer at MIT and founding chair of the Society for Organizational Learning.
To view a recording of Jim Hanna's live chat please click here.
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