The following email message was received from SumofUs.
Your Starbucks coffee break is likely to be contributing to deforestation, extinction of endangered tigers and orangutans, and abuses of workers and communities.
While other industry giants such as McDonald’s, KFC, Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme have committed to cutting conflict palm oil from their supply chains, Starbucks is taking an ostrich-like approach — sticking its head in the ground and ignoring this growing emergency, and the concerns of its consumers.
In 2013, facing public pressure, Starbucks announced that it would be sourcing 100% sustainable palm oil by 2015. That deadline has come and gone, and Starbucks needs to hear from us that we won’t wait any longer for responsible palm oil.
Starbucks is a recent member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), but the coffee giant has already failed to report mandatory data on its palm oil sourcing to the overseeing body.
And unfortunately, even if Starbucks met RSPO criteria, it wouldn’t mean it had achieved gold standards. The RSPO can’t guarantee that the palm oil it certifies is deforestation-free. Deforestation is happening in palm oil plantations owned by RSPO members, and NGOs and consumer companies also criticize RSPO’s inability to regulate peatland destruction and greenhouse gas emissions.
What’s most remarkable about Starbucks’ lack of progress on palm oil is that it’s in stark contrast to the company’s work on coffee.
Earlier this year, Starbucks announced that 99 percent of its coffee is now ethically sourced, which it accomplished by developing and implementing the Coffee and Farmer Equity Practices (CAFE), a third-party verified program for farmers to ensure certain human rights and environmental standards are met.
Through its CAFE initiative, Starbucks actually reduced deforestation in its coffee supply chain. Why is it so hard to do the same for palm oil?
The past few months have been a pivotal moment for industry leaders such as McDonald’s and KFC who have adopted sustainable palm oil policies following campaigns by SumOfUs.
Hundreds of thousands of SumOfUs members from all around the world stood up to fast food giants — signing petitions, making phone calls, and showing up at events to make conflict palm oil a thing of the past.
If it truly wants to make a difference in the palm oil sector, Starbucks needs to go beyond RSPO — something that dozens of companies have already done. Just like we’re doing with other industry leaders, we’re showing Starbucks that we’re on the lookout, and won’t let it get away with making excuses or ignoring the problem. Whether it’s standing up for workers making LG-brand TVs, or asking British Columbia’s government to charge a fair price for its ground water to Nestlé, we are working together to hold corporations accountable for their behavior.
It’s time to amplify the movement to transform the palm oil industry and make sure that Starbucks is the next domino to fall.
Palm Oil Scorecard 2015: Fries, Face Wash, Forests, Union of Concerned Scientists USA, 2015
Starbucks says it now serves “99 percent ethically sourced coffee.” So what does that mean?, Tree Hugger, April 9, 2015
Certifying Destruction – Why consumer companies need to go beyond the RSPO to stop forest destruction, Greenpeace, September 3, 2013