Operations

Starbucks is creating a sustainability learning and innovation lab

The coffee giant is developing the lab in Costa Rica, near its research and development headquarters. The facility will be designed to help develop sustainable production practices.
rendering of Starbucks' sustainability and innovation lab.
The lab is expected to open within the next three years | Rendering courtesy of Starbucks.

Starbucks wants its coffee to be more sustainable. To that end, the Seattle-based chain is developing a new sustainability learning and innovation lab in Costa Rica. The sustainability lab will be located at Hacienda Alsacia, the coffee chain’s global headquarters for research and development.

The lab will provide hands-on and virtual learning opportunities for Starbucks employees, students, researchers and industry leaders. The company will also use the hub to develop farming strategies that will be more sustainable and yield more product. Some of the issues that will be worked on at the lab are climate adaptation and agricultural economics, according to a press release. It is expected to open within the next three years.

Beginning this fall, the lab will also offer educational programming to Arizona State University (ASU) students and Starbucks employees. The program will offer ASU students opportunities to study abroad. 

“This is an opportunity for us to advance Starbucks environmental promise to give more than we take and our farmer promise to ensure the future of coffee for all,” said Laxman Narasimhan, Starbucks CEO, in a statement. “We know we cannot do this important work alone, and the possibilities in front of us to scale solutions, partner with thought leaders and serve as a global hub for innovation are limitless."

Sustainability is not a new concept at Hacienda Alsacia, the company’s first and only company-owned and operated coffee farm has focused on sustainability for more than a decade. At the farm, the Starbucks team is creating new coffee varieties, testing disease-resistant coffee trees and developing agricultural practices to produce a higher yield.  The new lab will expand the capabilities of the coffee giant to invoke environmental change, according to a press release.

Starbucks has other sustainability initiatives in the works, including an effort to expand its Greener Store program.

In addition, Starbucks has set ambitious environmental commitments, including cutting its carbon, water and waste footprints in half by 2030.

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