By Heather Haddon
Starbucks Corp. wants to cut its water use and the amount of trash it sends to landfills over the next decade, the latest big company to set fresh targets for limiting its environmental impact.
The coffee giant said Tuesday that it aims to serve more coffee in reusable cups, curb food and packaging waste and set a more environmentally friendly menu including more plant-based options. Starbucks also plans to build stores that make more efficient use of energy and water, and improve environmental practices among its coffee growers and other suppliers.
Starbucks is one of many companies facing more pressure from consumers and investors to address sustainability and their environmental impact.
BlackRock Inc., the world's largest asset manager and one of Starbucks's largest shareholders, said earlier this month that it would ask companies to assess and better address their environmental risk. Investment funds with sustainability goals are growing, as is scrutiny of their efforts to meet those benchmarks.
"The journey we undertake is not only the right one for Starbucks's responsibility as a corporate citizen of the world but is also fundamental to our brand relevance," Chief Executive Kevin Johnson said in a letter to employees and customers. The company said it plans to include the letter in Starbucks's annual proxy to investors on Friday.
Starbucks was one of the biggest companies to say it would eliminate single-use plastic straws in 2018 amid an outcry against their use. Starbucks said it would get rid of them by 2020.
Starbucks is on track to eliminate plastic straws through paper ones or recyclable and strawless lids in more than 30,000 stores where it operates by the end of the year, said John Kelly, the company's executive vice president for public affairs and social impact.
Mr. Kelly said the positive response to Starbucks's pledge on straws encouraged the company to set more sustainability goals.
"The world is clearly looking for companies like Starbucks to do more," Mr. Kelly said in an interview.
Starbucks has long offered a 10-cents credit for customers who bring in their own cups. Now the company is testing other incentives to encourage more customers, which could include a larger reimbursement, Mr. Kelly said.
Starbucks earlier this month added new coffees with almond, coconut and oat dairy-alternatives as part of its plant-based menu targets. The company is considering adding plant-based meats to its menu, particularly in breakfast items, Mr. Kelly said.
"Everything is on the table," he said.
Write to Heather Haddon at email@example.com