With successful branding, Starbucks Coffee Company has established an image that makes it seem to be a green giant in a food industry littered with wasteful and environmentally harming practices. But, can that presumption be substantiated with any evidence?
A recent study by the Dogwood Alliance, an organization that's focused on preserving and restoring native forest ecosystems, revealed that Starbucks ranked near the top in green food packaging compared to other franchises in the fast food industry.
"Real leadership emerged from companies like… Starbucks who have taken important steps to reduce packaging, increase the use of recycled content and eliminate controversial sources of paper originating from destructive logging practices," campaign director at Dogwood Alliance and one of the report's authors Scot Quaranda said in a press release. "Unfortunately, some companies have chosen to simply paint their paper packaging green…"
Starbucks ingenuity for going green is far more just a facade on its cups and bags. In late 2011, the famous coffee franchise opened a drive-through and walk-up branch in Tukwila, Washington, made entirely out of four large, used shipping containers. The nearly 500-square-foot store has enough room for three baristas to work behind the counter. The new store is applying for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, and according to a story on the company's website, this is just the beginning of a new wave of branches built to meet LEED standards.
The innovative building has a lot of interesting features. The roof of the drive-through is designed to capture rainwater and redistribute it to the landscape around the store. Additionally, the entire building can be moved to a new location quite simply. The Seattle Times reported that the design opens up a whole new set of doors for Starbucks, as the model can be replicated to make temporary store when one is closed for remodeling. Since the source indicated that they plan on remodeling 1,700 stores this year, there may be similar mini-operations popping up all over the country.