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Starbucks Philippines steps up green initiatives, grants $70,000 to three NGOs

Starbucks Philippines is expanding its sustainability efforts by offering incentives for reusable cups and partnering with ride-sharing company Grab Philippines to deliver food donations.

“A lot of the technologies that drive sustainable practices in the Philippines are still very new and developing, so we try to rely on great examples from everywhere else and bring them here,” said Jamie Silva, senior manager for marketing, digital customer experience & loyalty at Starbucks, in a press briefing on Friday. 

The coffee company’s FoodShare program, which launched in 40 stores in March, now serves over 50,000 meals from over 200 stores in Metro Manila, she added.  

Through a partnership with Grab, stores connect with Grab drivers to pick up and deliver donations, with more than 2,000 food items donated daily. The Philippine Food Bank Foundation, the recipient non-profit, distributes these to select beneficiaries.   

“It’s something that we will continue to assess and see how we can expand it beyond Metro Manila,” Ms. Silva said. 

This year, the company is also granting $70,000 to three non-government organizations: Gawad Kalinga, House Foundation, and Teach for the Philippines, all committed to hunger relief and youth development. 

Noey T. Lopez, president and chief executive officer of Rustan Coffee Corporation which runs Starbucks in the country, added that contributing to these causes go hand in hand with reducing waste and making green products. 

“Since we opened in 1997, we’ve been donating a lot of the waste at the end of the day. Of course, we didn’t have a food-share program then but we were tying up with local religious charities who didn’t have the capability or resources to pay,” he said, adding that this is where the Grab partnership comes in. 

The Philippines is Starbucks’ first market in the Asia Pacific to partner with Grab, with Starbucks rewards members who order through the app benefiting from the integration of features, such as rewards, e-gifting, and giving drinks to delivery drivers. 

Ms. Silva also encouraged the use of reusable mugs and tumblers, often in grande, the most popular size (though promotional reusable cups are sometimes available in venti, the largest size). 

“There are small steps that we, for many years, have encouraged customers to take, like personal cup discount, strawless lids, and the shift to paper straws,” she said. — Brontë H. Lacsamana

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