Would you consider starbucks a green company?



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    Starbucks has made some strides towards sustainability, but they still have a long way to go before they can be considered green. The company purchased about 3/4 of its coffee under the Coffee and Farmer Equity Practices last year, and it aims to purchase 100% of its beans under those practices by 2015. That program provides guidelines for sustainable farming and fair treatment of laborers, and by following those guidelines Starbucks is setting a good example for the coffee industry. Starbucks has also committed to reduce its energy use in stores by 25% and to purchase renewable energy credits for 50% of its energy by 2010. They currently offer a 10 cent discount for using a reusable coffee mug and are planning new programs to increase commuter mug use by 10x by next year.

    But there are also many problems with the way Starbucks does business. They only offer disposable cups in the stores, and although those cups are partially made from post-consumer paper, they cannot be recycled due to their thin plastic lining. Starbucks has been accused of wasting water for their dishwashing equipment. And the coffee industry has an inherently large carbon footprint because many coffee shops are located in urban areas, very far from where coffee beans are grown.

    There is lots of evidence that Starbucks is one of the greener coffee giants, and if they deliver on some of their promises over the next few years, they will be much closer to being environmentally sustainable.

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