Starbucks Japan announces three circular sustainable programs, plans to open 2000 stores by 2024

Starbucks Japan

As part of Starbucks’ global commitment to reduce environmental impact by 50 per cent by 2030, Starbucks Coffee Japan will launch three circular strategies to reduce its waste footprint and positively impact local communities.

These initiatives include launching a new menu that uses locally sourced ingredients, introducing a coffee grounds and tumbler recycling program, and implementing a cup sharing program.

John Culver, Starbucks President, International, Channel Development and Global Coffee, Tea & Cocoa says, “We set ambitious goals to become a resource-positive company, and we continue to explore innovative ways to bring our partners and communities together around the shared desire to protect the planet.”

The new menu items include a Matcha Cream Bar, Root Vegetable Chicken Salad Wrap, and Whole Carrot Cake that will be produced through Starbucks Coffee Grounds Recycling Loop program.

Starbucks Japan has been recycling its coffee grounds from its Kanto and Kansai stores through Japanese farmers since 2014. These farmers use the grounds for agricultural compost and animals feed, resultantly producing vegetables, green tea, and milk which is used in Starbucks products.

The locally grown carrots and match green tea will now be used in these new menu products that will be available across Japan.

“Launching a new closed-loop menu is another way to give our customers in Japan more options to enjoy lower-impact and locally-sourced ingredients as part of their Starbucks Experience,” says Culver.

Starbucks Japan says it will continue to invest and progress the coffee grounds program as part of its ongoing goal to engage its customers and communities in resource-positive way. This includes working with the brand’s farmers to create sustainable farming processes and offering customers locally sourced, low impact meals.

According to Starbucks, coffee grounds are the top source of in-store waste for its Japanese stores. The Coffee Grounds Recycling Loop program provides coffee grounds to 28 participating farmers and is used to develop store furnishings such as art installations and trays. Through this program, the company estimates it will be able to reduce its coffee ground waste by 50 per cent.

Takafumi Minaguchi, CEO of Starbucks Coffee Japan says, “Since first opening our doors to customers 25 years ago, we have grown our business in Japan responsibly, now operating more than 1600 stores with 40,000 partners proudly wearing the green apron every day.”

“As we work to create a more planet- and people-positive future, we’re proud to have created a range of initiatives that will help create a culture of reuse, while providing new opportunities to give back to our farmers and the neighbourhoods we serve.”

In the wider Asia Pacific Region, Starbucks also runs another coffee grounds recycling program with South Korean farmers. Since 2015, these farmers have been producing a range of packaging food items that is sold in Starbucks across South Korea.

The company also manages a Grounds for Your Garden program that provides customers across the globe with used coffee grounds from Starbucks stores that can be used as garden fertiliser.

Starbucks Japan will also launch a new tumbler collection and recycling program. This will see old tumblers collected from customers which will then be recycled to create new merchandise items, available to purchase from 2022.

A reusable cup-share program will be introduced for select stores in the Marunouchi district of Tokyo. Customers will be served their beverage in a reusable cup and can return it at participating stores. These cups will be collected, washed, and sanitised by a third-party company. Through this program, Starbucks Japan aims create a re-use culture on the go, providing a customer with a convenient option that reduces disposable cup usage.

A new Starbucks store is also set to open in Kokyo (Imperial Palace) Gaien Wadakura Fountain Park Store in Tokyo later this year. As part of Starbucks exploration of sustainable store design, it will be constructed using lower-impact materials and used as a test for Starbucks Japan’s other initiatives.

In the future, Starbucks Japan aims to transition all 350 free-standing company operated stores to 100 per cent renewable energy with a larger goal to open 2000 stores nation-wide by the end of 2024. With Starbucks Japan opening 100 new stores ever year, the company says it seeks to increase opportunities for its employees, contributing to economic development in local communities through tailored career paths.

“We will continue to deliver an unparalleled Starbucks Experience, while taking on challenges that benefit our people and communities across Japan,” Minaguchi says.

Starbucks was first opened in Japan in 1996 and now has more than 1600 stores nation-wide. As the third largest market globally, 2021 sees Starbucks Japan celebrating its 25th anniversary.

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