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Starbucks Sets New Goals for Renewables, Green Building

Starbucks wants to slash energy consumption in its stores by 25 percent and buy enough renewable energy certificates to satisfy half of its stores’ energy needs, all by 2010, the company said Wednesday.

Starbucks released its fiscal 2007 corporate responsibility report in which the company laid out new goals and detailed progress on previously announced initiatives.

By 2010, all new construction will incorporate green building principles. Starbucks said it would build four test stores in various regions of the world to examine cutting edge energy and water reduction technologies. On average, Starbucks’ 15,011 company-operated stores in 43 countries use roughly 25 gallons of water and 6.78 kilowatt-hours of electricity per square foot each.

The company is working with the U.S. Green Building Council on both its LEED Retail program and a LEED Portfolio Pilot Program that could certify a building prototype, which would allow companies such as Starbucks to integrate LEED standards across an entire portfolio.

The company also plans to build a LEED-Silver rated office building in Seattle, as well as another roasting plant in Columbia, South Carolina, which also will meet LEED-Silver standards.

Starbucks plans to reintroduce ceramic serveware in its stores by 2010, as well as increase customer use of reusable commuter mugs tenfold.

The company conducted extensive energy audits of 19 representative stores in the U.S. to identify ways of reducing energy, the results of which will be unveiled this spring.

In fiscal 2007, the company upped store thermostats to 75 degrees from 72 degrees on warm days, as well as installed emissions control equipment at a Washington state roasting plant to reduce natural gas consumption.

Sixty-five percent of the company’s coffee purchases in fiscal 2007 were made through its Coffee and Farmer Equity Practices program for sustainable coffee.

The report also included some initiatives that didn't go as well as the company had hoped. For instance, the company attempted to green its supply chain by encouraging its 387 largest suppliers to buy the renewable energy certificates at a preferred rate but only 11 signed up.

And the percentage of Starbucks company-operated stores that recycled garbage actually declined between fiscal 2006 and 2007. Starbucks also canceled or suspended in certain markets its Grounds for Your Garden program -- which offers free bags of used coffee grounds for use as a soil nutrient -- because of some regional environmental policies.

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