On September 28, when you head into your favourite Starbucks store to get your daily coffee, remember to save the reusable cup that it comes in. And when you bring it or any other tumbler back on your next Starbucks visit, you’ll get 50 cents off any drink purchase.
To commemorate the first-ever Reusable Cup Day in Singapore and encourage customers to join the sustainability journey, Starbucks will gift a limited edition 50th anniversary reusable cup for every beverage purchased – whether at the stores, via the Starbucks Mobile Order & Pay app, or at any of the available delivery channels.
This is no mere marketing gimmick. Instead, it is one of the many strategies that the company has to ensure it gives more than it takes – to cut carbon emissions in half, conserving or replenishing half of the water taken for coffee production and operations, and reducing half of its waste by 2030.
While sustainability is a hot topic among many multinational companies, the pursuit of sustainability has long been built into Starbucks company ethos.
Patrick Kwok, general manager of Starbucks Singapore, said, “Sustainability as been at the core of our business since the beginning. In line with Starbucks global multi-decade aspiration to become resource positive, we are constantly investing in better ways to operate and grow our sustainability initiatives so that we can do much more in caring for the planet that we have.”
It may not feel like much, but your Starbucks reusable cup will go a long way towards contributing to these sustainability measures. Here are five other ways that Starbucks is advancing its commitment towards becoming a resource-positive company – and how you, too, as a consumer, can dine more sustainably.
1. Starbucks expands plant-based and meatless menu options for customers
A study found that demand for plant-based meat alternatives is expected to increase by 25 per cent across the entire Asia Pacific region over the next five years as consumer priorities continue to shift towards health and sustainability.
To ensure that it stays aligned with changing consumer preferences while reducing its carbon reduction goal, Starbucks has been offering a variety of meatless/meat alternatives menu options, as well as plant-based dairy options in beverages since July 2020. With options like the Curry Meatless Chicken Pie and Truffle Meatless Beef & Mushroom Puff, you'll be able to indulge in Starbucks' menu favourites that are kinder to the planet – without compromising on taste or flavour.
2. Starbucks champions the shift from single-use plastics to reusable and recyclable options
Sometimes it’s the seemingly innocuous changes that make the most impact. At Starbucks stores, straws, napkins, takeaway cutlery and to-go plastic cups are all made using biodegradable and recyclable materials, while carrier bags are made from 95 per cent post-consumer fibre. Since 2018, Starbucks has also done away with plastic lids with straws, instead utilising lightweight, recyclable strawless lids which reduces an estimated 2.72 tonnes in paper and plastic materials used every year.
3. Starbucks inspires communities to do more for the planet
As the adage “it takes a village” goes, Starbucks believes that much more can be achieved when it rallies its customers to join the company on its journey towards sustainable living. In Singapore, for example, the plastic Starbucks Gift Cards are progressively being phased out in favour of a version made with 100 per cent recyclable paper, and the purchase of electronic gift cards is encouraged. Stylish merchandise such as tumblers and mugs in limited edition designs and to-go lunch boxes also promote the use of recyclables, while a 50 cents discount is given to customers who bring their own tumblers when purchasing their drink, a tradition that has continued since 1996.
For customers who are interested in getting more hands-on involvement, the #UpcyclingWithStarbucks tutorial series on its social media channels and interactive Zoom workshops offer useful tips on how customers can give their Starbucks items a new lease of life, such as making a wallet or a stylish coiled coaster from used Starbucks paper bags. Got a green thumb? Simply ask your friendly Starbucks baristas who will be happy to offer you used coffee grounds for your gardening needs.
4. Starbucks is committing to 100 per cent ethically-sourced coffee in partnership with Conservation International
Recognising that its sustainability efforts have to be implemented along its entire supply chain, the company has been working with non-profit environmental Conversation International to commit towards having 100 per cent of its coffee ethically sourced, in accordance with the Coffee and Farmer Equity Practices, one of the coffee industry’s first set of sustainability standards, to achieve its milestone. In total, Starbucks has invested more than $150 million to increase the prosperity and resilience of farmers and their communities around the world through collaborative programs, new agricultural approaches, and sharing of technical coffee knowledge, in order to create a long-term supply of high-quality coffee and healthy coffee farming communities.
This means you can enjoy your cup of Joe with ease of mind, knowing that farmers are being paid fair wages, coffee beans are farmed according to environmentally-friendly practices, and education and access to medical care are provided to children living on the farms and their overall communities.
5. Starbucks empowers employees (aka partners) to be sustainability champions
People, in addition to coffee, is at the core of the Starbucks mission.
That is why Starbucks employees – also known as partners – are empowered to be sustainability champions, and have to be firm advocates of the company’s ethos. As such, the concept of sustainability is seeded in every aspect of its operations. Training materials, for example, educate employees on the history, geography and socio-political challenges of the coffee bean so as to reiterate the importance of sustainable practices.
In fact, so committed is Starbucks in its mission to connect its partners with the planet, that before the Covid-19 pandemic, it used to bring its partners on overseas trips to areas such as Sumatra, Rwanda, Costa Rica and Thailand to experience first-hand the ethical sourcing journey within coffee farms. With a greater appreciation of the bean-to-cup story, Starbucks partners recognise how they are part of a bigger purpose. They actively apply and champion the company’s sustainability initiatives at their daily work, and even encourage customers to do so as well.
Patrick Kwok, General Manager of Starbucks Singapore said, “During this Reusable Cup Day on 28 September, we invite our customers to join us as we take simple, actionable steps to reduce our impact on the planet by choosing reusables and reducing single-use cup waste. Our aspiration to become resource positive is grounded in our mission to inspire and nurture the human spirit, one person, cup and neighbourhood at a time.”
Join Starbucks on its sustainability journey on Reusable Cup Day on September 28, 2021. For more information on Reusable Cup Day, visit starbucks.com.sg. To find out more about other sustainability initiatives by Starbucks, visit starbucks.com.sg/about-us/social-impact/going-green-with-starbucks.