Coffee in Sustainability and Greenwashing

Starbucks for the past few years has been seen making strides towards sustainability. Their goal includes expanding their menu to include more plant-based options, shifting towards reusable packaging, investing in conversation in their supply chain, and managing their waste. The organization has set a multi-decade commitment to reduce their carbon, water, and waste footprints in half by 2030. Starbucks shows their genuineness to the cause by being transparent on their website with their Environmental and Social Impact Reporting Hub. They give the public the opportunity to track their responsible ways of producing and purchasing their coffee, tea, cocoa, and manufactured goods. The public can also stay up to date with their progress on their website Starbucks Stories and news, where they publish articles on their impact on the environment around the world.

A less sincere company in the sustainability industry is Keurig. Keurig in the past few years has been exposed for misleading customers about the recyclability of its single-use plastic K-Cup pods. The company claimed these pods were recyclable if the metallic lid is peeled off and the contents are emptied out. However, many reports have been released explaining that the pods have cause contamination issues, and increased cost of waste management in Quebec, and multiple instances of false marketing.

As sustainability becomes more present in many industries, the debate between legitimate approaches and greenwashing involves more organizations. More companies will use the public’s growing concern in the environment to grow their profits and approval, therefore causing more industries to claim their commitment to sustainability, like how Starbucks and Keurig invested in the environment as the process and transportation of their ingredients became publicized. More industries with a history of damaging the environment could use sustainability as marketing, but not all of them will be honest and genuine about their progress.

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