Home Publisher's Point of View Starbucks Edges Out Hotel Companies in Newsweek Ranking

Starbucks Edges Out Hotel Companies in Newsweek Ranking

Glenn Hasek

What does Starbucks Corp. have that Marriott, Hilton, Wyndham and every other company in our industry does not have? The top spot in the Hotels, Restaurant & Leisure category of Newsweek’s recently released Green Ranking 2017. Newsweek sorts its list into several sub-lists: U.S. Top 10, Global Top 10, U.S. 500, Global 500, Best in Industry U.S., and Best in Industry Global. The methodology for the report can be found here. It was in the Best in Industry U.S. category that Starbucks took the top spot.

I will be posting an article about the Green Ranking 2017—a number of U.S. hotel companies fared well—but I was curious to know what it is exactly that Starbucks is doing right. First of all, it is a given that your typical Starbucks store is not a 24/7 operation and has nowhere near the footprint of even the smallest hotel so comparing Starbucks to a Marriott is not the same but the company does have more than 24,000 stores in 70 countries—quite an environmental impact.

If you take a look at Starbuck’s website you can get a pretty good idea of all the good things the company is doing for people and planet. Perhaps there are some lessons to be learned from them?

Strong Commitment to Green Building Design

Starbucks now has more than 1000+ LEED-certified stores in 20 countries—more than any other retailer in the world. One store featured on its website is made from shipping containers. In 2008 the company set a goal to reduce water consumption by 25 percent in company-operated stores by 2015. It reduced water use by 26.5 percent through retrofits to plumbing, water systems and enhancements to new store design.

In the past year Starbucks completed the installation of energy management systems in approximately 6,000 stores. For 2016, the company remained one of the Environmental Protection Agency’s top 10 purchasers of renewable energy in the United States. Starbucks has purchased Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) equivalent to 100 percent of the energy used in its U.S. and Canada company-operated stores through 2016.

Starbucks is faced with many challenges when it comes to cup recycling. “For recycling to be successful, local municipalities, landlords, customers, baristas, and even adjacent businesses all must work together to keep recyclable materials out of the landfill and non-recyclable materials out of recycling bins,” the company says. Since 1985 Starbucks has rewarded its customers with a discount when they bring in personal tumblers. In 2013 the company launched a $2 reusable cup in the United States and Canada. A lot of what Starbucks recycles is used behind the counter and not touched by guests. Through a new partnership with Feeding America, Starbucks will rescue 100 percent of food available to donate from all its U.S. stores.

Starbucks has been implementing a climate change strategy since 2004. At the farm level, it has worked with Conservation International to include climate-smart agricultural practices as part of Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices, the organization’s ethical coffee buying guidelines. Starbucks is a founding member of Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), joining with other responsible companies to advocate for stronger climate change and clean energy policies.

Commitment to Buy 100 Percent Ethically Sourced Coffee

Starbucks is committed to buying 100 percent ethically sourced coffee in partnership with Conservation International. Thanks to the support of its customers, Starbucks is also donating millions of disease-resistant trees to help farmers fight threats like coffee leaf rust. In total, Starbucks has invested more than $100 million in supporting coffee communities. Starbucks recently committed to provide 100 million trees to farmers by 2025.

Starbucks actively seeks diverse-owned businesses to purchase from. Starbucks is leading a global effort over the next five years to welcome and employ 10,000 refugees. Through its veteran’s hiring commitment, Starbucks is ahead of schedule to hire 10,000 veterans and military spouses by 2018 and has already hired 36,000 people ages 16 to 24 through its Opportunity Youth hiring commitment.

Just about every best practice Starbucks implements can be found somewhere in the lodging industry and often on a large scale.

Kudos to Starbuck’s for taking the No. 1 spot. Perhaps next year’s No. 1 will be a hotel company?

To download Starbuck’s 2016 Global Social Impact Report and to read a summary of its social impact goals, click here.

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