With a lot of coffee-chains to compete with, Starbucks has taken the green route, and some may say the high ground, to gain unique brand identity. In recent manufacturing and marketing moves, Starbucks has associated itself with core green values: the importance of recycling, of creating less waste, and of using less energy in production.
Since the 1990s, Starbucks has been involved in researching and introducing more eco-friendly paper cups to their numerous outlets, working in partnership with the Environmental Defence Fund to leave a greener footprint. This is in response to the shocking reality that 58 billion paper coffee cups are thrown away (to landfill sites) every year, and that 20 million trees are cut down in order to manufacture these disposed-of cups.
This year, Starbucks have backed the Betacup Challenge, a contest for product-designers and consumers alike to create and critique more sustainable alternatives to the paper coffee cup. The entries so far range from the amazing to the absurd, from the fruity to the fruitless; two of my favourite designs take their inspiration from the coconut:
The contest has been running since April 1st 2010 and will close on June 15th so there is still time for you to submit your stunning entry. To be part of the solution, or to give feedback on others’ ideas, visit: www.jovoto.com. The winner will receive $10,000!
In addition to the Betacup Challenge, last month, Starbucks also staged a PR stunt (reminiscent of Art Attack) in New York. On the street, happy consumers were encouraged to exchange their non-recyclable paper cups for reusable thermo flasks, and then use their wasted cup to create a giant tree collage. The results, which have achieved over 40,000 views on YouTube, can be seen here:
According to Starbucks, these actions are just the beginning. We can only hope that their continued efforts, along with mounting public pressure and education, will drive the rest of the coffee giants to leave greener footprints too. Indeed, judging by a recent article on businessandleadership.com entitled ‘Sustainability is biggest business opportunity of 21st century’, I expect that they soon will – watch this space.
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