Jan 21, 2020

Starbucks joins the carbon pledge trend

Starbucks storefront. Photo: Avishek Das/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Starbucks hopes to cut carbon emissions from its operations and huge supply chain by 50% by 2030 as part of new environmental pledges unveiled Tuesday.

Why it matters: Starbucks is the latest multinational giant to set new targets as global emissions rise and multilateral efforts fail to even lay the groundwork for steep cuts.

The intrigue: The commitments, while lacking detail for now, hint that Starbucks hopes to fund so-called negative emissions methods and tech. That's a key part of commitments Microsoft unveiled last week.

What they're saying: “We will both store carbon and reduce carbon emissions. Offsets do not count towards a science-based target, and we do not plan to utilize offsets to meet our preliminary target of 50% reduction in our carbon footprint,” Rebecca Zimmer, the company's global environment director, tells Axios.

The big picture: CEO Kevin Johnson, in an open letter, says Starbucks' wider aspiration is eventually becoming "resource positive," defined as "storing more carbon than we emit, eliminating waste, and providing more clean freshwater than we use."

Starbucks laid out two other interim 2030 targets in addition to the CO2 pledge:

  1. 50% of the water used for its operations and coffee production will be "conserved or replenished."
  2. They pledge a 50% cut in waste that's sent to landfills from stores and manufacturing.

What's next: The plan envisions more plant-based food offerings; a shift from single-use to reusable packages; investing in "innovative and regenerative" farm and forest practices; and more. Starbucks plans to conduct market research and trials over the next year to add details.

Go deeper: Massive companies' green commitments can't save the planet

Go deeper

Delta aims to become first "carbon neutral" airline

Photo: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Delta Airlines is spending $1 billion over the next decade to essentially cancel out all of its future greenhouse gas emissions beginning March 1, the company announced Friday.

The big picture: Delta is the world’s biggest airline by revenue, and this news is the latest in a rapidly growing trend of corporations announcing climate-change goals in response to public and investor pressure.

BP vows to "fundamentally" change with net-zero emissions target

Photo: Lance King/Getty Images

BP said Wednesday that it is reorienting its business with new climate targets — including first-time emissions commitments for its products' use in the economy — and a new team to help countries, cities and other companies cut carbon.

Why it matters: It's the latest sign of how multinational oil-and-gas giants — especially European-headquartered players — are expanding climate pledges under intense pressure from activists and investors.

BP's climate move could mean new pressure on Exxon and Chevron

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios 

BP's new emissions pledge could create more pressure on U.S.-based giants Exxon and Chevron.

Why it matters: European oil behemoths have been more active on climate than their U.S. counterparts.