Starbucks to use blockchain to make coffee transparent from 'bean to cup'
In an effort to increase transparency from “bean to cup”, Starbucks has become the latest food and beverage company to use blockchain technology.
The Seattle-based coffee giant said it is going to launch a pilot program to trace coffee beans from Costa Rica, Columbia and Rwanda using “traceability technology.”
The new pilot program is part of the firm’s wider commitment to commit to sustainable and ethically sourced coffee beans.
The technology will log and share real-time information about the journey of the coffee beans and aims to positively impact smallholder farmers within its supply chain.
“Over the next two years, we will look to demonstrate how technology and innovative data platforms can give coffee farmers even more financial empowerment,” said the company’s CEO Kevin Johnson.
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“Traceability technology could have profound implications for connecting coffee drinkers to the farmers who grow it,” added Arthur Karuletwa, director of traceability at the company.
“This could be a seismic change in an industry that hasn’t had much innovation in the way coffee moves across borders and oceans,” he said.
“At the same time, I’ve met farmers who have very little by way of possessions, but they have a mobile phone. Digital has become the economic engine of this century, and traceability preserves the most valuable assets we have as human beings – our identity.”
Transparency has become a fast-emerging trend in the food and beverage sector, with a recent survey by the Hartman Group revealing that 69% of consumers say they want retailers to be more transparent about their sustainability efforts.
As a result, many industry leaders have increasingly tapped into blockchain technologies to enhance their sustainability efforts and make their supply chains more visible.
For instance, US retailer Walmart recently partnered with tech giant IM and Tsinghua University in Beijing to investigate the use of distributed ledge technology to enhance the efficiency and transparency of its supply chain.
Meanwhile, last year, agricultural conglomerate Cargill Inc.leveraged blockchain technology to allow consumers to trace their Thanksgiving turkey from the store where they bought it to the farm that raised it.
Starbucks to open 10,000 sustainable stores in bid to save US$50mn
The plans come under an initiative called the “Starbucks G...
Starbucks has announced plans to open 10,000 “greener stores” around the world by 2025
The plans come under an initiative called the “Starbucks Greener Stores Framework”, which the coffee company will develop with experts in the field such as SCS Global Services, and the World Wildlife Fund.
Kevin Johnson, Starbucks’ CEO, said in a company statement that Starbucks has a responsibility to promote environmental sustainability.
“We are a company in [sic] that believes, in the fabric of mission and values, that the pursuit of profit is not in conflict with the pursuit of doing good”.
The announcement aligns with Starbucks’ efforts over the past decade to create sustainable buildings, working in partnership with the US Green Building Council.
The company has said it will go beyond the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) sustainable building criteria, which it developed alongside the US Green Building Council, to focus on powering its stores in the US and Canada with 100% renewable energy.
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Starbucks plans to introduce technology to both new buildings and in renovations of existing stores that will save 25-30% on energy and water use.
Marketing Magazine said this could save Starbucks around US$50mn incrementally over the next decade.
This year, Starbucks committed to eliminate its reliance on single-use straws in 28,000 stores by 2020, and also said that it is developing compostable paper cups.