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75 Green Businesses » Green Cafes and Restaurants

Archive for the ‘Green Cafes and Restaurants’ Category

Green Cafes Update - Starbucks Green Efforts Revisited

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

One of the topics in 75 Green Businesses is the opportunity for green cafes, competing with Starbucks by moving farther toward green. 

The Starbucks Sustainability Report for 2007 came out in May, and Starbucks reports and deserves credit for many of their efforts to support social and environmental development (www.starbucks.com).  Their cups contain 10% recycled content, and the use of the paper sleeve instead of a second cup avoid a great deal of waste.  They are buying 20% of their energy from renewable energy resources, exploring green building methods at several sites, increasing their recycling, and continuing to increase support for sustainable coffee production. 

Nonetheless, there is still room for improvement.  Writing at the Motley Fool (www.fool.com, May 29, 2008), Rick Aristotle picked Starbucks as a stock that “will never be great again”, saying “The game didn’t pass Starbuck’s by.  Everybody else just caught up.”  They have recently tried reinventing themselves by going back to their roots under the leadership of Howard Schultz once again.  Where once Starbucks was unique today they have a lot of company. 

Green Cafes remain a ripe opportunity, taking on Starbucks by focusing on the greenest possible coffee, facilities, and practices.  For all that Starbucks has done, acclaimed by some environmental groups, there is still room for improvement.  The Seattle Times reported on May 14, 2008 (seattletimes.nwsource.com), that Starbucks recycled in just 32% of their stores in the US and Canada.  They have stated their commitment to increasing energy efficiency of new stores by 25% in 2010, and certifying these stores as green using the US Green Building Council LEED rating system.  These are admirable moves, but still leave room for others to do better. 

Going carbon neutral is a harder goal, but a concrete one that entrepreneurs opening a green cafe might work to achieve.  Recycling in all stores, and moving to zero waste, is another.  Even as Starbucks goes slowly greener, entrepreneurs are bound to move more quickly to outflank them on the green side.