Starbucks is turning off continuously running taps at all stores in an attempt to rescue its green image, BusinessGreen reported last week. The stores are introducing an “interim operational procedure” with instructions to switch off the dipper well tap and wash spoons after use,” the company said.
That news followed a Sun report that the coffee chain was keeping a tap running non-stop at all its stores, resulting in 23.4 million liters of water being wasted per day.
But now, a PR agency has come forward saying that the coffee chain had been advised that their usage of water was not good for their environmental credentials and could be a potential problem for them, PRWeek reports.
The company chose to ignore the warning. Starbucks has said that the dipper well requires a constant stream of water running because it “keeps the utensils clean, prevents bacterial growth and stops allergen cross-contamination,” an Atlanta TV station reports.
That reasoning left Environmentalists nonplussed. According to Brand Republic, Peter Robinson, who works for environmental charity Waste Watch, said: “Leaving taps running all day is a shocking waste of precious water. And to claim you are doing it for health and safety reasons is bonkers.”
This could seriously hurt the environmental image Starbucks has worked hard to cultivate. According to its latest CSR report, Starbucks says that by 2010 it wants 50 percent of the energy used at its stores to come from renewable sources, wants to incorporate green building standards in all of its new building construction, and wants to “re-establish” ceramic coffee mugs as its “global standard” for people drinking coffee in stores.
Starbucks said it used 25 gallons of water per square foot per month to make beverages and clean up. In the report, the company didn’t set a target to cut water use. Expect that to change.