Water is a key ingredient in our beverages and a necessity for operating our stores. We’re working to better understand how we use water, and how we can use it more efficiently. Much of the water in our stores is used to make coffee and tea beverages, and to run equipment such as dishwashers and ice machines.
In 2008 we set a goal to reduce water consumption by 25 percent in company-owned stores by 2015. For the first three years, we saw a reduction of more than 20 percent in our water use as a result of several proactive measures, including a successful rollout of a hand-metered water system to replace our "dipper wells" and the installation of a low-use water faucet. In 2011 we saw water consumption increase 5 percent over the prior year, moving our total decrease to almost 17.5 percent. While some of the increase in water consumption was due to higher beverage sales, we believe that consumption was primarily driven by a change in our blender pitcher rinsing processes, and are taking proactive steps to address these issues moving forward.
We are also implementing water savings techniques on the exterior of our new stores, such as landscaping with drought-resistant native species where we can to reduce the need for irrigation. Moving forward, we’ll continue to look for innovative ways to minimize water use in our stores around the world in order to reach our 2015 goal.
Our work on water also extends into water consumption, protection and access to clean drinking water in coffee-growing communities. Through C.A.F.E. Practices we work to encourage farmers to conserve water used for coffee processing, protect rivers and streams, and ensure workers have access to clean drinking water. Conservation International conducted country specific field surveys along with a global review of the formal C.A.F.E. Practices assessments to monitor impacts and identify areas for continuous improvement.
Original Article: http://www.starbucks.com/responsibility/global-report/environmental-stewardship/water-conservation