Starbucks Coffee Company (Nasdaq: SBUX – News), the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world, today announced the opening of its state-of-the-art roasting plant located in Calhoun County in central South Carolina. The facility employs 100 full-time Starbucks partners (employees) and supplies coffee to the company’s southeastern U.S. stores. The facility is also is an example of the company’s global commitment to green design and has been awarded LEED Silver certification for New Construction by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

“During these challenging economic times, I’m proud we are creating jobs by building something special here in South Carolina,” says Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman, president and CEO. “In this business climate, it’s more important than ever that we make the right investments in our business, while making sure we do it in ways that support our business, the communities we work in, the environment and our people.”

Schultz was joined at today’s ribbon-cutting ceremony by state, local, and community leaders key to the effort including South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Joe Taylor, Calhoun County Council Chairman David Summers and Mike Briggs, president and CEO of the Central South Carolina Alliance.

“The state of South Carolina is thrilled to welcome Starbucks as the newest major employer in this community,” said Secretary Taylor. “This is the kind of corporate investment that will help strengthen our economy for the future by bringing the right kind of jobs and the right kind of companies to our great state.”

Using green design components certified by a third-party organization is part of the company’s strategy to help achieve the Starbucks Shared Planet goal to significantly reduce its environmental footprint by 2015. Starbucks invested in a variety of green design elements to help reduce the energy and waste generated by both the construction and operation of the facility. A significant amount–20 percent–of building materials were from recycled content, and more than 75 percent of construction waste was recycled. The facility features efficient, state of the art lighting and water fixtures, drought-tolerant landscape, and a portion of the power used for operations will be green-power supplied by wind energy.

“The strength of USGBC has always been the collective strength of our leaders in the building and related industries,” says Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO, and founding chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “Given the extraordinary importance of climate protection and the increasing role of the retail industry in that effort, Starbucks demonstrates their leadership not only through their LEED certification of this roasting plant, but their commitment to seek LEED certification for stores across the globe.”

Many of the green design elements utilized for the project are also being integrated into the company’s other roasting plants and retail stores. Starbucks has committed to LEED certification for all new company-operated stores by the end of 2010, doing so within standard store construction budgets.

News, Starbucks