Jan 21, 2020

Starbucks joins the carbon pledge trend

Ben Geman, author of Generate

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

Updated 19 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Esper catches White House off guard with opposition to military use, photo op

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said at a press briefing Wednesday that he does not currently support invoking the Insurrection Act, an 1807 law that permits the president to use active-duty troops on U.S. soil, in order to quell protests against racial injustice.

Why it matters: President Trump threatened this week to deploy military forces if state and local governments aren't able to squash violent protests. Axios reported on Tuesday that Trump is backing off the idea for now, but that he hasn't ruled it out.

Updates: George Floyd protests continue for 9th day

Demonstrators march on Pennsylvania Avenue on June 3. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Largely peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Wednesday, marking nine straight days of demonstrations.

The latest: As several major cities moved to lift curfews, NYPD officers "aggressively" dispersed large crowds in Brooklyn and Manhattan beyond New York City's 8 p.m. curfew, per the New York Times. The National Guard was stationed outside many protests Wednesday night, including in Hollywood and Atlanta.

Trump hits back at Mattis: "I gave him a new life"

President Trump speaks at the White House. Photo: Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump unloaded on his former defense secretary via Twitter on Wednesday, hours after James Mattis condemned him for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in his response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

What he's saying: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was 'Chaos', which I didn’t like, & changed it to 'Mad Dog'"