Starbucks Corporation (Starbucks), an American global coffee company, is engaging stakeholders to design and innovate sustainable solutions for the environment. A key component of Starbuck’s “responsibility” strategy is to work with regional stakeholders (non-governmental organizations, policy makers, competitors and industry associations) to improve recycling and conservation of resources.

Our approach to sustainability forms a cycle: we set aspirational goals; find collaborators, especially among our 200,000 partners, who can share their expertise and amplify our efforts; create innovative solutions; and use what we’ve learned to inform our next steps. With each revolution of the wheel, we expand our impact and engage our customers and partners in the journey.
(Source: 2013 Starbucks Sustainability Report)

One example of Starbucks’ multi-stakeholder collaboration efforts involves cup recycling.  In 2008 Starbucks set a goal to implement front-of-store recycling for customers in all company-operated locations. At the onset, Starbucks envisioned front-of-store recycling as a single, universal solution. The company came to realize that this single approach does not fully address the individual and faced varied challenges in local markets across the entire Starbucks portfolio (i.e., inconsistent public policy, limited market for recycled end-products, infrastructure gaps and operational challenges). While the company continues the work to increase availability of front-of-store recycling where it can, Starbucks recognized that it cannot do this work alone. The company now pursues multi-stakeholder collaborations to address systemic barriers and challenges to recycling.

In 2009, Starbucks hosted a Cup Summit in Seattle, bringing together all facets of the paper and plastic cup value chain to find agreement on criteria for a comprehensive recyclable cup solution. In 2010, a second Cup Summit was held and included a number of projects to drive cup recycling and leverage assistance from academic experts in systems thinking from MIT. In 2011, participants from the previous Cup Summits gathered at MIT to announce progress on action plans. They were joined by a growing number of representatives from all facets of the paper and plastic cup value chain including municipalities, raw material suppliers, cup manufacturers, retail and beverage businesses, recyclers, NGOs, and academic experts.

In addition to the above efforts, Starbucks is also collaborating with mayors and local authorities in major cities to help increase or improve commercial recycling opportunities across the country.

By working with non-governmental organizations, policy makers, competitors, our industry associations and others, we can tackle common challenges. We are helping advance a number of meaningful food packaging initiatives that will have a significant impact on on the entire industry, such as analysis of the way our packaging “flows” through recycling facilities and where it eventually ends up, along with an assessment of the causes of current gaps in recycling services for our products in neighbourhoods around the US and Canada.
(Source: 2013 Starbucks Sustainability Report)


Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration

Lead and participate in multi-stakeholder collaborations to address and overcome systemic barriers and challenges.