Starbucks urged to drop the surcharge and make plant-based milks free

Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod

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Published: 30 January 2020

This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod

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ProVeg International, a global food awareness organisation, has urged Starbucks to drop its surcharge on plant-based milks if it is serious about achieving its new climate targets.

The charity’s call came after Starbucks announced new goals for reducing its environmental impact. By 2030, the coffee chain is targeting 50% reductions in carbon emissions, water withdrawal and waste sent to landfill.

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Dairy products are the biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions across Starbucks’ operations and supply chain, according to its new sustainability assessment.

A soy milk alternative is offered free, but Starbucks customers who choose oat, almond or coconut instead of cow’s milk are charged extra. This has prompted ProVeg to call for Starbucks’ pricing to reflect its climate ambitions.

A big task for Starbucks

The task ahead of Starbucks cannot be underestimated. In 2018, Starbucks was responsible for emitting 16 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, using 1 billion cubic metres of water and dumping 868 metric kilotons — more than twice the weight of the Empire State Building — of coffee cups and other waste.

Starbucks’ climate targets have been set at a time when demand for plant-based products continues to skyrocket – particularly in the UK.

‘Now we know that dairy products are Starbucks’ primary climate culprit, we encourage the chain to follow in the footsteps of its competitors Costa and Pret a Manger and drop the surcharge on plant-based milks. The same goes for other major coffee chains still charging extra for sustainable alternatives to cow’s milk.

‘We were delighted to hear Starbucks’ ambitious environmental targets, which we’re sure can be achieved if plant-based milk is placed at the heart of the solution. Instead of charging customers for being climate-conscious, let’s incentivise them, starting by making the more sustainable alternative – plant milks – free of charge.’

PHILIP MANSBRIDGE
Executive director of ProVeg UK

Research released last year by Mintel shows that nearly 25% of Brits are now drinking plant-based milks, up from 18% in 2018, while close to 400,000 people signed up for this year’s Veganuary.

ProVeg International has written to the president of Starbucks Europe, Middle East and Africa to call for plant milks to be made free across the region.

The food awareness organisation works closely with retailers, caterers and the food service industry to help them to become more plant-based.

Click here to find out more about the Huskup – our Hero coffee cup made from rice husks.

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