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Starbucks announced Thursday that it is deepening its commitment to sustainability with a plan to build 10,000 "greener stores" around the globe by 2025, a move that will encompass new stores and renovations.
The plan follows the coffee giant's pledge to eliminate single-use plastic straws from its stores around the globe by 2020.
Starbucks plans to audit its company-owned stores in the U.S. and Canada. Since 2001, it has been working with the U.S. Green Building Council to help develop the LEED for Retail program, opening up its first LEED, or green-certified store, more than a decade ago. Today there are more than 1,500 LEED-certified Starbucks stores globally.
"Woven into the fabric of Starbucks is the view that the pursuit of profits is not in conflict with the pursuit of doing good," CEO Kevin Johnson said in a call with CNBC. "We have been on a sustainability journey for many years, it starts with the way we grow our coffee to the work we do with LEED-certified stores, to the work we do around greener cups and plastic straws. Today's announcement extends that to go beyond a LEED-certified store and will focus on operating those stores in a more sustainable way."
The move will save Starbucks some $50 million in utility costs over the next decade, building on its current 10-year legacy of utility cost savings generated from its green practices already in place. Those steps save it some $30 million annually in operating costs, the company said.
Starbucks' plans are being developed in concert with experts from the World Wildlife Fund, and will be audited and verified by SCS Global Services, which oversees Starbucks' Coffee and Farmer Equity Practices. The materials will also be shared so other retailers can follow suit, Starbucks said.
"This framework represents the next step in how Starbucks is approaching environmental stewardship, looking holistically at stores and their role in helping to ensure the future health of our natural resources," said Erin Simon, director of R&D at World Wildlife Fund, U.S., in a release. "When companies step up and demonstrate leadership, other businesses often follow with commitments of their own, driving further positive impacts."
Starbucks has long been committed to sustainability with initiatives including 99 percent ethically sourced coffee, its pledge to develop and help bring to market a fully recyclable and compostable hot cup, and offering discounts to customers who bring in reusable cups or tumblers at its company-owned stores globally, among others.