I can’t believe this is real, but it is:
From the trade magazine, Dairy Heard Management:
I’m exhausted. Not only am I tired of large chains and celebrities pointing fingers at agriculture to reduce Green House Gasses (GHGs). I’m tired because there’s a spunky, independent and wildly determined two-year-old at my house. What’s worse, I can’t run to town to get a Starbucks. That’s because the coffee giant recently announced they’ll be encouraging customers to turn away from dairy and toward plant-based beverages in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint.
Is this a joke? Starbucks is going to shame me into ordering my very rare Starbucks coffee with soy milk instead of actual milk from a mammal?
That isn’t going to go well for them at all.
According to Bloomberg, the milk used by Starbucks accounts for just 0.3% of U.S. milk production. However, the decision to formally denounce dairy and declare an emphasis on non-dairy options may encourage other food-service outlets to follow suit.
Starbucks is going to annoy it’s customers and offer a less tasty coffee to reduce the carbon footprint of just 0.3% of US milk production.
What is Starbucks missing here? Well, a new report from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimates global GHG emissions from the dairy industry totaled 1,712 million metric tons of CO₂ equivalent, or about 3% of total world emissions, in 2015.
So all dairy emissions are about 3% of world greenhouse gases.
Let us crunch some numbers. The US is responsible for less than 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Only 9% of US greenhouse gasses come from agriculture, and only 42% of all agriculture emissions come from animal agriculture.
Put that all together and 42% of 9% of 15% is 0.57%. Less than six-tenths of one percent of global greenhouse gases come from all US animal agriculture. Being generous, let’s say that beef is half of US animal agriculture, which is three-tenths of one percent of global greenhouse gases.
If we make the assumption that the agricultural output of greenhouse gasses is proportional around the world than 15% of the 3% of dairy emissions are ours, so 0.45% of dairy greenhouse gases belong to the US.
If Starbucks uses only American milk in US stores (and there is no reason to assume it doesn’t), then Starbucks milk is responsible for 0.135% of greenhouse gas production.
Starbucks could offset that in so many other ways than ruining their overpriced coffee.
Dear Starbucks, I think you’re confused. I’m not sure how a company that sources its coffee from Asia and always has a drive through line 10 cars deep is going to reduce its carbon footprint by cutting milk, which on average travels less than 100 miles from cow to refrigerator.
That’s the truth.
I would put even money on the carbon footprint of the ice in an iced coffee being larger than the carbon footprint of the milk.
I could almost guarantee that the generation of high-pressure steam to foam the milk has a higher carbon footprint than the milk itself.
And what is the carbon footprint of making a single shot of espresso? Using all those ground only one time to get the extra strong coffee.
If Starbucks is really worried about its carbon footprint that much, it should shut itself down.
Who really needs to pay $6 for one cup of coffee in a plastic-lined cup with a plastic lid and plastic stirrer when the future of the planet is at stake?
Turning Starbucks into public restrooms didn’t destroy the business fast enough. I guess shaming customers in making their coffee worse will accelerate that.