In addition to increased erosion and infestation by pests, coffee farmers are reporting shifts in rainfall and harvest patterns that are hurting their communities and shrinking the available usable land in coffee regions around the world.
Addressing climate change is a priority for Starbucks. We believe now is the time to increase our investments in solutions and strategies that address this crisis. The steps we're taking not only address our environmental footprint – they help ensure the supply of high-quality coffee that our customers expect from us into the future.
Our Climate Strategy
Starbucks has been implementing a climate change strategy since 2004, focusing on renewable energy, energy conservation, and climate adaptation and mitigation efforts. We’re also committed to championing progressive climate change policy in partnership with other businesses and organizations.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
To continue to track and quantify our own environmental footprint, we conducted an inventory of our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2012. Using the World Resources Institute/WBCSD Greenhouse Gas Protocol, we evaluated the major emissions from our global retail stores and roasting operations. Because more than 80 percent of our GHG emissions are attributable to energy for use in our stores, offices, and roasting plants, we are focusing our efforts on energy conservation and the purchase of renewable energy.
Starbucks used the WRI/WBCSD GHG Protocol Corporate Standard to assess our fiscal 2012 greenhouse gas emissions. The 2012 inventory found our Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions were 1,032,616 metric tons of carbon dioxide. According to the Protocol, Scope 1 includes direct GHG emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the company. For Starbucks these include coffee roasting plants, store operations, and company-owned vehicles and aircraft. Scope 2 includes indirect GHG emissions from the generation of purchased electricity consumed by the company. While our emissions increased slightly in absolute terms, by 5.4% in part due to overall growth of the company, we succeeded in decreasing emissions per dollar of revenue by 7.3%, per partner by 1.9%, and per store by 0.8%.
Starbucks has been formally implementing a climate change mitigation strategy since 2004, focusing on renewable energy, energy conservation and climate adaptation and mitigation efforts. We’re also committed to championing progressive climate change policy in partnership with other businesses and organizations.
Goals and Progress
Goal: Improve farmers’ access to carbon markets, helping them generate additional income while protecting the environment.
Progress through 2012: We focused on providing agricultural best practices which will help farmers better respond and/or adapt to regional climate changes, and have expanded our program to Brazil.
To learn more about our work in improving farmers' access to carbon markets read our Global Responsibility Goals & Progress Report.
We are concerned about the impacts of climate change, especially in the sensitive bioregions where coffee is grown. To better understand the risk to farming communities and our supply chain, we work with Conservation International (CI) and farmers in three unique coffee-producing communities. Together we are working to identify and test effective strategies for improving the sustainability of coffee production processes, the conservation and restoration of natural habitat, and opportunities to facilitate farmer access to forest carbon markets or other forms of assistance.
In Chiapas, Mexico, we engaged more than 200 farmers in 23 communities and helped them protect 10 species of plants in nearly 500,000 hectares in three protected area reserves. Capturing the carbon value of this investment in tree plantings has helped farmers receive additional income in the form of payments for carbon credits – creating the equivalent of 22 new jobs and representing an average of nearly 27% of a participating farmer’s income.
In Sumatra, Indonesia, we are continually exploring the feasibility of a forest carbon market program with local and regional government organizations to lay the groundwork for the future. We are investing in the development of the Aceh Tengah Coffee Climate Change Adaption plan, building the first of six nurseries in 2012, organizing climate mitigation and adaption trainings for farmers, and establishing plans to plant 300,000 trees by 2013.
We expanded the partnership to the Minas Gerais region in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest for the first time in 2012, and distributed 200,000 native tree seedlings to farmers. We are helping farmers gain access to existing government programs that provide cash incentives for forest preservation and restoration. We are also conducting research to better understand opportunities for improved productivity, increased income and resilience to climate change.
Testing these approaches in different regions helps us refine our strategies so they can be applied to other coffee-growing communities and replicated by other government and industry partners.
What We're Doing Now
Climate change is compounding other issues faced by coffee communities (deforestation, water shortages, decreasing yields) and the effects vary by region. Some regions may see increased rainfall, decreasing yields or washing away farmland, others experience accelerated harvests or increased pests or may even see short term benefits. Over the last five years, Starbucks and CI have worked together to begin identifying and addressing the impacts of climate change and associated environmental risks on coffee production, and to effectively communicate this work to key stakeholders. Together we have built a leadership model for sustainable, resilient coffee production in the face of climate change. We have done this by improving our understanding of climate change impacts on production, assessing the impact of procurement standards, incentivizing sustainable production and natural resource management, implementing demonstration activities in key sourcing regions, and influencing policies. A few examples of joint CI/Starbucks successes include:
- Industry-leading impact assessment of C.A.F.E. Practices, analyzing verification data across all countries where the program operates with the goal of helping Starbucks better target its investments for improvement.
- Field surveys in Colombia, Guatemala and Brazil to capture the impacts of the C.A.F.E. Practices program on the livelihoods of participants and on the natural capital on and around their farms.
- Enhanced integration of climate within Starbucks C.A.F.E. Practices program.
- Improved farmer livelihoods by connecting nearly 300 coffee farmers to emerging opportunities in the voluntary and regulatory carbon markets in Mexico and Brazil.
- Better understanding of the potential impacts of climate change on important coffee production regions and adaptation interventions necessary to maintain production of more than 1,000 farmers in Indonesia, Mexico and Brazil.
- Avoided emissions of more than 50,000 tons of carbon via reforestation and restoration using more than 700,000 seedlings.
- Increased awareness of the partnership among consumers, key influencers within the industry, and policy-makers via blog articles, joint presentations, and updated web, print and social media materials.
What We'll Do Next
While we have achieved many successes through this work, there is still much to be done to ensure the continued availability of high quality, sustainably-produced coffee in the face of climate change and growing global demand. For instance, we need to better understand the synergies and tradeoffs among environmental and social best practices, productivity, and resiliency by developing the next generation of impact assessment methodologies for C.A.F.E. Practices. We must build upon and improve the coffee and climate model to progress activities in our current geographies, ensure efficient replication in additional geographies, and we must effectively engage other actors within the coffee sector and throughout the value chain to achieve meaningful results at scale. Together this work will put us on the path to supporting the development of healthy coffee communities that: 1) enhance productivity; 2) improve farmer livelihoods; 3) promote food security; 4) maintain critical natural capital and ecosystem services; and 5) foster strong, resilient rural coffee economies.
Leadership in Climate Change
We are proud to be a founding member of Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), joining with other responsible companies to advocate for stronger climate change and clean energy policy. Learn more
How are Coffee Farms and Climate Change Linked?
The Starbucks and Conservation International relationship supports coffee farmers in mitigating the impacts of climate change. Watch a video
Where To Start?
Conservation International has a few ideas on how you can start making a difference for the planet and its people. Do your part