As part of a company policy aimed at preventing germ buildup in its taps, Starbucks stores are directed to keep water running constantly into a sink, called a dipper well, to clean utensils and wash away food residue.
As a result of running water all day, every day at each of the company’s 10,000 worldwide coffee emporiums, Starbucks wastes water in an amount The Sun estimated, to be enough daily water for the entire 2 million strong population of drought-hit Namibia in Africa or fill an Olympic pool every 83 minutes. A single Starbucks tap left running for just over three minutes wastes the amount of water one African needs to survive for a day in drought conditions.
I hate waste, but I hate greenwashing and hypocrisy even more. I recently wrote a piece on Ethos Water, a company currently owned by Starbucks which uses PepsiCo to distribute its water to wholesalers and retailers across the country. Five cents from each bottle purchased is donated to a foundation the gives grant commitments to humanitarian water programs that alleviate the world water crisis.
Add that Starbucks’ mission statement posted on the company’s Web site, claims that it has a commitment to
understand environmental issues, to strive to buy, sell and use environmentally-friendly products, and to instill environmental responsibility as a corporate value.
I don’t know about you, but I’m confident that if you look up “hypocritcal” or “greenwashing” in the next revision of The New Oxford American Dictionary you’ll find a picture of Starbucks.