Starbucks announced plans to develop a new sustainability learning and innovation lab at Hacienda Alsacia – the company’s global agronomy headquarters for research and development, located in Costa Rica. The lab will serve as a hub for hands-on and virtual learning opportunities for Starbucks partners (employees), students, researchers and industry leaders to innovate and scale sustainable solutions for some of the world’s most challenging environmental and social issues, including climate adaption and agricultural economics.
Starting this fall, the lab will offer the first wave of educational programming to select Arizona State University (ASU) students and Starbucks partners. The first wave will leverage ASU’s leading educational technology and world-class faculty to enrich the student experience, including study abroad opportunities tied to existing ASU degree programs, such as Sustainability, Sustainable Food Systems, Global Agribusiness, Environmental and Resource Management, among others. Starbucks lab is expected to physically open within the next three years.
For more than a decade Hacienda Alsacia, the company’s first and only company-owned and operated coffee farm, has focused on the sustainability of coffee. The farm is dedicated exclusively to research and development, where the Starbucks team is creating new coffee varieties, testing disease-resistant coffee trees and developing and sharing agricultural practices to produce a higher yield and ensure the future of coffee. While the research and development at Hacienda Alsacia will continue, the lab will expand the capabilities and collaboration needed to cultivate positive social and environmental change beyond coffee.
“This is an opportunity for us to advance Starbucks environmental promise to give more than we take and our farmer promise to ensure the future of coffee for all,” says Laxman Narasimhan, Starbucks chief executive officer. “We know we cannot do this important work alone, and the possibilities in front of us to scale solutions, partner with thought leaders and serve as a global hub for innovation are limitless.”
Starbucks mission extends well beyond its customers, partners and cafes. As a company that buys 3% of the world’s highest quality and ethically sourced arabica coffee from more than 400,000 farmers in more than 30 countries, Starbucks understands its future is inextricably tied to social and environmental challenges. The company has a long-standing commitment to work alongside communities to become a resource positive company, including cutting its carbon, water and waste footprints in half by 2030. In partnership with others, Starbucks is committed to identifying new ways to give more than it takes with the belief that the company can build a great business that scales for good and has a positive impact on the future.
Starbucks and ASU have a long-standing partnership of working together to build educational and innovative programming. Most recently, Starbucks and ASU reached a milestone of graduating more 10,000 partners through the Starbucks College Achievement Program.
“This is an exciting new chapter in our nearly decade-long partnership with Starbucks,’’ says Arizona State University President Michael Crow. “The new sustainability learning and innovation lab will expand on our collaboration together, working closely to tackle critical challenges with a collective commitment to seek new and sustainable approaches that impact global communities.”