Dunkin' Donuts launches green building program for new stores

Dunkin' Donuts launches green building program for new stores

Dunkin Donuts green building
Coffee and sweets emporium Dunkin' Donuts is wading into green building. No word yet on efforts to cut down on omnipresent styrofoam coffee cups.

This story originally was published by SustainableBusiness and is reprinted here with permission.

Dunkin' Donuts doesn't usually come to mind when it comes to green companies.

After getting two stores LEED-certified since 2008, however, the Massachusetts-based retailer has parlayed the experience to create its own certification program for franchisees.

The company will roll out the program for new construction projects, with a goal of building 100 certified restaurants by the end of 2016. If all goes well, they also want to extend the program to retrofits at some point.

DD Green, as the new program is called, allows for the integration of "efficiency, sustainability and health in the restaurant development," said John Herth, senior director for global design and construction services at Dunkin' Brands.  

Those five stages: site development; store efficiency; healthy indoors; sustainable operations; and innovation and community. The move also comes just a few months after parent company Dunkin' Brands Group — also the owner of ice cream company Baskin Robbins — announced a 2016 target to trace the source of its palm oil, driven in large part by concerns about deforestation.

For the new green building program, Dunkin' Donuts franchisees either can meet minimum requirements or do more to get a corporate "DD Green Elite" plaque on their store.

Dunkin Donuts green building
Dunkin Donuts
A new Dunkin' Donuts store certification program aims to incentivize green building techniques.

"My passion for creating the DD Green program came from my love for sustainability," Herth said. "I realize how important it is and believe that as business professionals, we owe it to our planet to do everything possible to improve it. My years in the food industry, background as a licensed architect and as a LEED accredited professional gave me the tools and know-how to put a unique program like this together."

As architects and construction managers work through implementation, they will focus on the practices now expected of any green building — from recycling construction waste to installing LED lighting and efficient HVAC and water-saving plumbing fixtures to low-VOC paints for indoor air quality. Employees also will be trained to operate the building efficiently.

Many of the same elements required by LEED have been incorporated into the new Dunkin' Donuts program, and "we continue to support any franchisee that wants to pursue LEED certification," said Herth. One point of differentiation is that DD Green is customized to emphasize design specifications and energy use at a new Dunkin' Donuts restaurant, he said.

UL Environment will audit the results of the program to benchmark against the initial goals. The first DD Green-certified restaurant recently opened in Long Beach, Calif.

As for those ubiquitous styrofoam coffee cups, Dunkin' Donuts has been "aggressively" exploring alternatives since 2011. At the time, only 15 percent of Dunkin' Brands' packaging was sourced from recycled materials.

The company does, however, buy some Fair Trade coffee and in 2012 committed to begin sourcing cage-free eggs and gestation-crate free pork.