One Person. One Cup. One Neighborhood at a Time.

starbucksStarbucks' mission, to inspire and nurture the human spirit - one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time, has led to four decades of success.You might have heard of them. You might have even purchased a coffee or two. In fact, you might even be drinking one right now...Howard Schultz hit the nail on the head when he envisioned recreating the Italian coffeehouse tradition in the United States.  Schultz dreamed of fashioning a dwelling for community and conversation.  Of truly focusing on the customer experience.  Of creating a "third place between work and home".As an avid Starbucks consumer myself, I have rationalized the price with little justification. Competitors pale in comparison.But here's the kicker.  Starbucks didn't do it first - they did it better.PSLIn addition to keeping us awake at our desks, here's what SBUX has been up to behind the scenes. It's pretty great.A 2015 Goal: All Cups To Be Reusable or Recyclable.This is easier said than done. Candidly, there is nothing simple about recycling. Every city has different recycling standards. And in some cities, recycling doesn't even exist.  Federal guidelines only consider cups to be "recyclable" if they can be collected separately from solid waste for a future use.But when there's a will there's a way. Starbucks has been transforming used cups into napkins. Genius. So when you grab a napkin from a Starbucks venue anywhere in the United States, a piece of that napkin is actually a recycled Starbucks cup.SBUX Works To Reduce Its Environmental Footprint.With over 21,000 stores in 65 countries, SBUX has consistently committed to improving the energy efficiency of its locations. Specifically, the company set a goal in 2008 to reduce overall energy consumption by 25% and cover 100% of electricity consumption with renewable energy by 2015. SBUX has seen a 7.06% decrease from its 2008 baseline."We are trying to balance the quality of the customer experience with energy conservation".What does this mean? Well for one, SBUX has added hot food to its product offerings over the last few years. This requires an increase in refrigerators and ovens, offsetting some of the company's advances in energy efficiency.  The same goes for keeping the stores heated in the winter.Ethical Sourcing.A commitment to buying and serving high-quality coffee that is responsibly grown and ethically traded. This is accomplished through purchasing practices, farmer support centers, loan programs, and forest conservation efforts. Last year in 2013, 95.3% of SBUX coffee was ethically sourced. The company has set a goal of 100% ethical sourcing by 2015.SBUX Will Reduce Water Consumption 25% by 2015.This goal was also set in 2008. As you might imagine, SBUX uses a lot of water. Most of this water is used to make coffee and tea beverages, and the rest to run equipment such as dishwashers and ice machines. How can SBUX decrease water use?  The company is using efficient fixtures and equipment that actively monitor consumption - this aids in identifying spikes in water usage before too much is used. SBUX has also upgraded its water filtration systems. Water consumption decreased more than 4% over the last year, bringing the company to a total 21.1% decrease at the end of 2013.LEED Certified Stores.SBUX started its LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) efforts for all new, company-owned stores in the latter half of 2010. LEED is a third-party verification for buildings which saves money and resources, creates a positive impact for the occupants, and promotes renewable energy. Since 2008, SBUX LEED stores have a presence in 18 countries around the world.As you can see, Starbucks has been busy. Above are just a few examples of the company's efforts. This will be an interesting company to watch and I anticipate Starbucks will set forth a plethora of new environmental goals in 2015. Now I must go drink a Pumpkin Spice Lattee.Stay tuned.