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Starbucks Misses Energy Consumption Goal, Succeeds on Renewables

Starbucks has missed a target to cut energy consumption at company-owned stores 25 percent by 2010, and has pushed the target back to 2015, according to its Global Responsibility Report.

The company reduced energy consumption in company-owned stores 1.6 percent from 2008 to 2010 – compared to a 1.7 percent decrease from 2008 to 2009. But Starbucks says it is well positioned to meet the new goal.

It has asked General Electric to develop an energy-efficient LED bulb that complements stores’ design, and last year completed installation in more than 7,000 company-owned stores in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., China and Singapore. This has helped reduce electricity consumption (per square foot per month) by 3.3 percent since 2008, Starbucks said, and the company expects to see a more significant reduction in 2011.

Starbucks has also piloted an energy management system in ten stores, testing the potential to reduce energy consumption through remote monitoring and control of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment. The company plans to expand the pilot this year.

It will also look to replace equipment and appliances with high-efficiency alternatives as they reach the end of their useful life.

Starbucks did meet several other goals, however, including one to buy renewable energy equivalent to half the electricity needs of its North American company-owned stores. Last year the company more than doubled its purchases of renewable energy certificates (RECs), taking its electricity to 58 percent renewable energy.

It was the fourth-largest purchaser of renewable energy in the U.S., according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The company now aims to double its renewable purchases again, achieving 100 percent renewable electricity in global company-owned stores by 2015.

Starbucks has reduced water consumption in its company-owned stores by 22 percent from a 2008 baseline, nearing a 25 percent by 2015 goal.

The company says it is on track to meet a goal that beginning in December 2010, all new, company-owned stores will be built to achieve LEED certification. Last year it completed the pilot phase for LEED volume certification, with ten store design and construction projects audited and approved by the U.S. Green Building Council.

On recycling, the picture was mixed. Starbucks says it is on track to develop comprehensive recycling solutions for its paper and plastic cups by 2012. Last year, it tested the recyclability of its cups in a New York pilot.

But only five percent of U.S. and Canadian Starbucks locations offer front-of-store recycling, a far cry from the firm’s aim to implement such recycling in all company-owned stores by 2015. And the report said Starbucks will need considerable innovation and customer engagement to reach its goal of serving 25 percent of beverages in reusable cups by 2015, up from 1.5 percent in 2009 and 1.8 percent in 2010.

Starbucks is trying to raise consumer awareness by offering a free cup of brewed coffee or tea to U.S. and Canadian customers who bring in a reusable tumbler on Earth Day.

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