Reducing a Company's Carbon Footprint
My guide to Sustainable Business Resources lists many key resources and search strategies for this topic, and much of that information may be relevant to your case.
Since that guide is so pertinent and detailed, I'll focus the following suggestions on sources that fill in any gaps, especially ones that are more directly relevant to Starbucks.
A. You will likely need to know what Starbucks is doing currently to reduce its carbon footprint.
- Start with the Environmental Stewardship and Energy Conservation pages of Starbucks Canada, but also check out the Environment page of the global parent company.
- And, more broadly, explore their Social Impact page as it contains information on their "ethical sourcing" and other policies and practices.
B. Our Sustainable Organization Library contains quite a few online chapters and articles that mention Starbucks, but you may want to expand your focus and look for sustainability information on coffee in general, as well as on restaurants and on the concept of a carbon footprint.
Carbon footprints, and sustainable practices in general, are the sorts of topics that get reported in the news often, especially if the articles are about company practices (both good and bad). And many news articles will mention other reports, experts, and issues that you can look for. Follow those leads!
- USA Today: Starbucks brews a greener plan for 10,000 environmentally friendly stores
- Treehugger (a "media outlet dedicated to driving sustainability mainstream"): Starbucks' greener stores won't make much of a difference; the problem is cultural
And with climate strikes happening this month, you can expect to see many news stories about other major companies having their carbon footprints highlighted and trying to counter the bad PR by announcing major initiatives. Do those announcements give you any ideas of things that Starbucks could be doing? Do they also help you understand the role that public opinion plays in such issues? A few examples:
- Amazon vows greener practices after revealing huge carbon footprint
- How McDonald’s Plans to Cut Its Greenhouse Gas Emissions By More Than a Third + Critique
- Your Lyft Ride Is Now Carbon-Neutral. Your Uber Isn't + Critique + More Critique
- Apple now globally powered by 100 percent renewable energy + Critique
A. Consider checking the sites of environmental advocacy organizations and news sources for a critical perspective on company actions as well as recommendations and studies. For example...
- Sierra Club: Starbucks Falls Short on Environmental Commitments (more)
- World Wildlife Fund: WWF to help Starbucks build better stores for the planet
- World Resources Institute: Washington State Pioneers New Model for Utility-Scale Renewable Energy
- This "MBA Student Perspective" assignment from Harvard Business School raises some interesting issues and strategies. Be sure to scan the comments for other ideas that you could explore.
D. I just came across a 2016 article at QSRweb that mentioned some interesting studies and reports that you may want to look into: "What is your restaurant's carbon footprint?." For instance, they mention an organization called Origin Climate. A quick bit of Googling helped me discover that Origin Climate had united with a firm called 3Degrees, which then led me to this site full of case studies, videos, and articles.
E. There are a few organizations that are coordinating and supporting corporate actions to reduce their carbon footprints. Such organizations may help you learn about the efforts of other companies. For example:
- RE100: "a global corporate leadership initiative bringing together influential businesses committed to 100% renewable electricity"
- Science Based Targets: Companies Taking Action: "champions science-based target setting as a powerful way of boosting companies’ competitive advantage in the transition to the low-carbon economy"
- We Are Still In: Success Stories: A network of US mayors, governors, and business leaders who have pledged to continue supporting the global pact to reduce greenhouse gases
- America's Pledge: Reports: "committed to collecting, aggregating, and reporting on the progress that U.S. non-federal actors are making in reducing emissions to meet our Paris Agreement goals"
<No further suggestions yet - but keep checking. Also, don't forget that this is your wiki: you are welcome to add any tips here whenever you'd like. --- MB>