November 24, 2021

Starbucks has announced that it is teaming up with farmer-owned dairy cooperative Arla for a three-year pilot scheme in the UK, in a bid to reduce its carbon footprint and “create an industry-leading sustainable sourcing blueprint”, which will go on to support its dairy suppliers across Starbucks Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA).

With dairy emissions accounting for 22% of Starbucks global carbon emissions, Starbucks is choosing to team up with Arla as its 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 company said.

The pilot will see Starbucks working 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, a press release stated – environmental stewardship, animal health and welfare, and ensuring profitability for the farmers through the 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, the press release said.

Alex Rayner, general manager at Starbucks UK, commented: “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, according to Starbucks. 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 products including Lurpak and Arla Cravendale.

Graham Wilkinson, group senior agriculture director at Arla Foods said: “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

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. According to the press release, Glanvill 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.

He commented: “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 at 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 the future”.

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

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

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