Starbucks Korea announces sustainability and community plans

Starbucks Coffee Korea has announced a plan to reduce carbon footprint and increase employment opportunities by 2025.

The latest initiative is in line with Starbucks' global multi-decade aspiration to become resource-positive. The company's Korean division aims to reduce carbon footprint by 30% and eliminate single-use cups from all stores by 2025. Also, it will gradually introduce cup circularity programmes across the market to encourage reusability.

Starbucks Coffee Korea will launch a reusable cup programme in selected stores in Jeju this summer, expanding it to additional locations over the next four years. The programme offers customers their beverage in a reusable cup for a small deposit and lets them scan their cup at a participating store’s contactless return kiosk.

At the same time, Starbucks will offer customers a variety of new ways to enjoy plant-based and local ingredients as part of their Starbucks Experience, as an environmentally friendly menu is critical to the company’s resource positive goal and customers' interest in plant-based foods continues to grow rapidly.

In addition to offering oat milk as part of its core menu, Starbucks Coffee Korea will develop beverages using local specialties from different regions of South Korea to bring premium local ingredients to customers.Through this initiative, the company will accelerate beverage innovation by introducing five new beverages using South Korean ingredients this year, plus an additional 10 locally sourced ingredients by 2025.

Meanwhile, Starbucks Coffee Korea will introduce more sustainable stores. These stores adhere to environmental certifications and use power efficient products and lower impact materials, as well as logistics, manufacturing, and operational processes to ensure the stores contribute to a sustainable future. The company will also introduce zero-emission electric vehicles across its supply chain nationwide by 2024, with initial operations to begin in Seoul this year.

“As we work to create a more sustainable future, we are honoured to continue our sustainability journey with our partners and customers and do better together to protect the planet we share,” said David Song, CEO of Starbucks Coffee Korea.

“Our goals are ambitious because we believe it is our responsibility to explore innovative ways to bring our communities and business partners together around this shared desire to make a positive impact for the planet," he added.

On the staffing front, by 2025, Starbucks Coffee Korea commits to creating more than 5,500 new employment opportunities in the country, equating to 30% of its current workforce and expanding employment opportunities for underserved groups with a focus on young graduates, returning mothers, elderly citizens, and people with disabilities. The company will continue to expand and broaden its Community Store Programme in South Korea, as well as neighbourhood cafés across the market, to reach 30 locations by 2025.

“Starbucks Coffee Korea is a leader in sustainability for the company globally, and we are excited to leverage the learning from this initiative to drive meaningful change in our stores and inform future innovation on a regional and global scale, commented Sara Trilling, president of Starbucks Asia Pacific.

Starbucks Coffee Korea has been operating in the country since 1991. It has grown rapidly to become Starbucks' fifth largest international market with more than 1,500 stores across 78 cities nationwide.

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