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Starbucks is speeding the development of its ‘greener stores’

The coffee giant is opening a location in Shanghai that will eliminate paper receipts and use reusable cups.
Starbucks greener stores
Starbucks plans to build more greener stores, including a location in Shanghai that will ditch paper receipts and single-use cups./Photo courtesy of Starbucks

Starbucks wants to get even greener than its logo.

The Seattle-based coffee giant plans to speed the development of its "Greener Store" restaurants around the globe—a move it said has already helped its U.S. restaurants cut back on energy and water use.

The company has 2,300 such stores in the U.S., based on a “Greener Store Framework” that it developed in 2018 along with the World Wildlife Fund. It wants 10,000 of these stores globally by 2025. That will include new greener stores in Japan, the U.K. and Chile over the next year.

Starbucks is also planning to open a store in Shanghai where it plans to focus on “circularity,” featuring the use of reusable cups and the elimination of paper receipts and menus. More than half of the menu is plant-based and oat milk is the default for “most beverages.” The location will also use more recycled, upcycled or biodegradable materials.

Similar locations are planned for Southern California and Seattle.

The company argues that building such locations makes business sense. The U.S. greener locations have cut energy use by 30% compared with prior designs, equaling the electricity generated by 30,000 homes a year. The locations also save 30% from water use, or 1.3 billion gallons a year.

“We’ve proven designing and building greener stores is not only responsible but also good for business,” Andy Adams, Starbucks senior vice president of store development, said in a statement.

More chains have been pushing sustainability in recent years, believing that such moves could save money while establishing their credibility among customers and workers  demanding such practices.

Just this week, McDonald’s announced plans to cut the plastic from its Happy Meal toys and Burger King owner Restaurant Brands International vowed to cut its emissions by 50% by 2030.

Starbucks has made numerous such efforts, such as testing reusable cups and lids that eliminate straws and committing to “carbon neutral green coffee” along with water conservation. Earlier this summer it completed the installation of a solar array at one of its roasting plants. And 90% of its company stores have adopted waste diversion and circular practices.

The company is also opening a research facility in December along with Arizona State University, the ASU-Starbucks Center for the Future of People and the Planet that will research new methods of designing and building stores.

“Starbucks expansion of the Greener Stores program demonstrates a continued commitment to environmental stewardship and innovation,” Sheila Bonini, senior vice president of private sector engagement with the World Wildlife Fund, said in a statement.

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