CSR Report: Starbucks Releases Honest Evaluation of Environmental Goals

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starbucks cup

Starbucks has released an interactive Global Responsibility Report that shows an honest evaluation of where the business is at with achieving their environmental goals. Amongst other things, they show where they have succeeded (saving water), and where they have fallen short (energy conservation).

 

Greater CSR means Less Greenwashing

It’s not very often that you see a business admitting to falling short of its goals. in most cases, and especially relating to environmental goals, businesses will ‘greenwash’ whatever negative information they have to release in order to show the company in a better light.

However, Starbucks has taken a different approach and demonstrated exactly what its goals were, what it did to achieve them, and where they ended up. Here are some of the examples of Starbucks’ environmental wins and losses:

 

Front of Store Recycling

Score: Needs Improvement

The coffee maker admitted that only 5% of its stores utilize front of store recycling, and that only 1.8% of all beverages sold are in reusable containers (like tumblers).

 

Energy Conservation

Score: Did not achieve

Starbucks set out an ambitious goal of cutting back energy consumption in its stores by 25% by 2010. Unfortunately, they didn’t even make it to a 2% decrease. On the other hand, they did succeed in purchasing renewable energy equivalent to 50% of the power used in their stores.

 

Water Conservation

Score: On Track

The LEAST green thing about Starbucks is that, according to their policy, every store needs to keep a tap running all day, non-stop, whether it is being used or not.

The business looks to be changing this rule, as they appear to be on track to reduce their water consumption by 25% by 2015.

 

Starbucks’ honesty and what it means for CSR

A recent report showed that businesses who ‘greenwash’ their products or services, and make false environmental claims about their products, end up doing a disservice to their brand as consumers will stop buying their products when the truth is discovered. In light of this finding, it is interesting to see Starbucks owning up to the areas where it has failed miserably to achieve environmental goals.

While it’s staggering to think that a business like Starbucks couldn’t find a way to cut more than 1.6% of its energy consumption, what is even more interesting is that they released this information in such an honest and accessible way. Is this the beginning of a new age of Corporate Social Responsibility, and if so, does it mean businesses can fail at their goals as long as they admit to it?