December 7, 2021

Starbucks to work directly with farmers to help reduce emissions

With dairy emissions accounting for 22% of Starbucks’ global carbon emissions, the coffee chain has partnered with farmer owned dairy cooperative, Arla Foods, to work on a three-year pilot to create an industry leading sustainable sourcing blueprint. This blueprint will go on to support its dairy suppliers across Starbucks Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and follows the COP26 pledge to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030.

Arla’s farmer owners are some of the most carbon efficient dairy farmers in the world, already producing milk with around half the emissions of the global average, making them the obvious choice to help Starbucks meet its aspiration to become resource positive.

The pilot will see Starbucks work directly with 14 Arla farmers in the UK to identify innovative new farming practices and industry-leading methods to significantly reduce the emissions associated with dairy production. Starbucks and the selected Arla farmers will focus on three key areas: environmental stewardship, animal health and welfare, and ensuring profitability for the farmers through the industry leading Arla UK 360 farm standards programme.

The sourcing blueprint will be underscored by Arla’s sustainability research and development work, and independently validated by a third party, who will help support and advise on developing industry best practices.

Alex Rayner, General Manager at Starbucks UK, said: “This partnership with Arla and the dairy farming community underpins our commitment to produce high quality and responsibly sourced products.

“Starbucks and Arla share a commitment to upholding the highest standards in agriculture. As a farmer-owned business, Arla’s approach – including their cooperative principles – make them the right partner for us.

“Purchasing sustainable dairy is integral to our work expanding our environmentally friendly menu options, while enhancing the Starbucks Experience. Customising beverages has and always will be at the heart of Starbucks, and this programme will help ensure that best practice carbon reduction strategies are being implemented across our entire milk and dairy alternative selection.”

The 9,400 dairy farmers that own Arla Foods have been working to produce more sustainable dairy for over two decades. At the heart of its production methods are emissions reductions, actions that boost natural cycles and a commitment to some of the highest standards of animal welfare. These on farm methods go on to produce some of Britain’s best loved dairy products such as Lurpak and Arla Cravendale.

Speaking on the announcement, Graham Wilkinson, Group Senior Agriculture Director at Arla Foods, comments: “It is a huge testament to the sustainable farming practice of our owners that Starbucks has chosen Arla to support its sustainable sourcing development work. Our carbon net zero ambition recognises the importance of both lowering emissions and providing a helping hand to nature, but it is hugely important that Starbucks has also acknowledged the importance of taking a farmer first approach to deliver this.

“I hope it also provides reassurance to Starbucks customers to know that behind every cup is a combined effort to support farmers to run profitable and sustainable dairy farms.”

Mark Glanvill is one of the Dairy farmers who has been selected to be part of the programme. He farms in the Southwest of England with 280 cows on a farm that has been passed down through generations of his family since 1816. Mark works to keep his carbon footprint as low as possible, with a particular focus on limiting the feed brought on farm, using natural fertilisers and reducing chemical usage wherever possible. Like most Arla farmers, he calculates his carbon footprint annually to identify ongoing areas where he can continue reducing his emissions.

Mr Glanvill adds: “I am very excited to go on this journey with Starbucks. Whilst Arla’s dairy farmers are at the forefront of reducing emissions of dairy, it has to be recognised that this comes at a cost to production, our action can only be as fast as our finances allow. In joining the Arla UK 360 programme, Starbucks has shown recognition of this whilst its blueprint ambitions also demonstrate an understanding that sustainable sourcing must meet the criteria of good nutrition made with lower emissions and a helping hand for nature.”

Starbucks will also be working with scientists from The Nature Conservancy, a global, and environmental stewardship non-profit who will support the partnership.

Forming work to meet Starbucks ongoing commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 globally and become a resource positive company, this collaboration with Arla  also serves to help meet Arla’s science based targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% per kilo of milk over the next decade and to reach carbon net zero by 2050.

Starbucks’ global environmental ambitions  

In 2020, Starbucks set a bold aspiration to be a resource positive company, storing more carbon than it emits, eliminating waste, and providing more clean water than it uses. Its 2030 goals include:

  • 50% reduction in carbon emissions;
  • 50% reduction of water withdrawal through conservation or replenishment of water used for direct operations, stores, packaging and agricultural supply;
  • 50% reduction in waste sent to landfills.

Further information on Arla’s sustainable farming practice and approach to carbon emissions reduction on farm can be found here.