Weekly column by Barbara Hirsch
Coffee culture – sure is different than it was 50 years ago, that coffee that was poured in homes and coffee shops. Now, 83% of Americans drink coffee, 63% daily, and a third of all Americans drink a “gourmet coffee beverage” every day!
The soaring demands for it mean that much more of it is grown, and as usual, that means a greater impact. On us, perhaps, but certainly on thousands more acres of ecosystems. The best quality coffees are still shade grown in plantations with canopies that support wildlife, prevent soil degradation and can mitigate effects of climate change. Now more coffee is grown in direct sun, as a monoculture, and with the effects that come with this kind of agriculture – forest clearing, pesticide use, soil depletion, etc..
Please allow me a small leap here, to suggest that Starbucks is a center of coffee culture, in its 20,000 stores around the world. Here is a glimpse of where they stand on their environmental goals for 2015 and accomplishments, as of last year. Their environmental failures are still better than most of their counterparts’ accomplishments.
By 2015, Starbucks wants to reduce energy use by 25% , by 2013 the reduction was 7.1%. They are on track to make 100% of their coffee ethically sourced. The goal is 5% of beverages to be served in personal tumblers and last year, they were at 1.8%.
Front of store recycling is in 39% of their stores.
But there is not much to recycle, as the cups are not recyclable.
“Recycling seems like a simple, straightforward initiative,” the company said in a statement last week. “But it’s actually quite challenging.” If consumers can be made to understand how the company came to that humbling insight, they might stop buying and throwing away so many paper cups in the first place.” That, direct from Starbucks.