Starting in 2011, Starbucks adopted a new policy goal requiring all new building construction conform to certain LEED standards. According to their 2015 Global Responsibility Report:
“In 2008, we had one LEED certified store, and today, we have more than 800, including the LEED Platinum Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room in Seattle.”
Thirty major cities in the United States have implemented similar policies mandating certain new building construction meet LEED standards with additional cities adopting similar policies each year.
According to a 2015 survey of 48 Fortune 200 companies by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC): “80 percent agree that LEED is a key way their company communicates sustainability efforts to stakeholders.” Overseen by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED certification can be applied to new construction of a building as well as buildings that undergo renovations. LEED certified buildings are designed to “save money and resources and have a positive impact on the health of occupants, while promoting renewable, clean energy” according to the USGBC. LEED projects have been undertaken in 150 countries on an estimated 69,000 commercial buildings and 181,000 residential units.
There are four levels of certification: LEED certified, silver, gold and platinum. Each level is based on the number of points accrued during construction of a building. Points are awarded for a variety of initiatives ranging from energy efficiency efforts to building material conservation.
The USGBC offers accreditation for green building professionals looking to demonstrate their area of expertise. Applicants can pass a test, administered by the USGBC, to become a “LEED Green Associate” or earn a more advanced certification with the “LEED AP” credential. If interested in pursuing either of these two credentials check out the USGBC website. Participation in LEED building design is not limited to architects. Sustainability professionals of all backgrounds should have at least a basic understanding of LEED regardless of their sector or experience given that it can be applied to any type of building operations management.
By pursuing LEED credits in new building construction, Starbucks is able to advance specific Global Responsibility targets such as reducing energy and water consumption. In 2008 they set a goal of reducing water consumption 25% in company-operated stores by the year 2015. Thanks in part to LEED design, this goal was reached.
The entire chart of 2015 goals is listed below, check out Starbucks 2015 Global Responsibility Report for more details on their approach to sustainability reporting.