Starbucks Malaysia's Upcycling Campaign Wins Retail Asia Awards

The company won the Sustainability Initiative of the Year - Malaysia.     

Berjaya Starbucks Coffee Company Sdn. Bhd. (also known as Starbucks Malaysia) took home the Sustainability Initiative of the Year - Malaysia category win at the recently held Retail Asia Awards 2023 for the success of its Starbucks Upcycled Flavorlock™ Pouch Project.

Launched in 2019, the Starbucks Upcycled Flavorlock™ Pouch Project aims to close the loop of its business by upcycling its used Starbucks Flavorlock™ coffee bags into pouches. By upcycling its Flavorlock™ coffee bags, the company aims to both create a positive impact by reducing their contribution to landfill and help the B40 community to improve their livelihoods through sewing.

The Starbucks Upcycled Flavorlock™ Pouch is only made possible with the tens of thousands of customers who have donated their used Flavorlock™ coffee bags and partners (employees) collecting from their in-store consumption.

Each of the Upcycled Flavorlock™ Pouch is handmade with Starbucks Wordmark zippers and the Starbucks Malaysia label is sewn into the inner part of the pouch. The inner lining of the pouch is from remnant high-quality fabrics donated by sofa upholsterers and curtain vendors, amongst others.

These remnants come in a range of patterns and colours and are matched by volunteers based on their creativity. Once matched, the fabrics are cut to shape for sewing, which means that no bag is identical to the other.

This programme was done in partnership with Young Women’s Christian Association Kuala Lumpur (YWCA KL), a non-profit organisation that works for the development of women irrespective of race, religion, culture, and socio-economic circumstances.

Some of the projects run by YWCA KL today include an edible garden and an onsite vocational school for young women in KL called the Vocational Training Opportunity Centre (VTOC). The VTOC program includes Culinary and Bakery, Sewing and Tailoring, and more.

The process involves women from the B40 community to sew the pouches, volunteers to donate and match the fabrics of the inner lining of the pouch, students of YWCA KL's Vocational Training Opportunity Centre (VTOC) to process the materials, and members of the public to donate their used Flavorlock™ coffee bag to be upcycled.

Starbucks Malaysia then buys back from YWCA KL the completed product and to retail at all of its stores. For every Starbucks Upcycled Flavorlock™ Pouch purchased, RM1 will be channeled to YWCA KL to contribute to the VTOC where curriculums have been built around empowering young girls.

Every used Starbucks Flavorlock™ Coffee Bag that was donated, customers are entitled to a 10% discount when they purchase any Starbucks Whole Bean coffee.     

“At our core, Starbucks is committed to strengthening organisations within the local communities, such as YWCA KL. This partnership demonstrates how businesses like ours can close the loop on many of our disposable materials by upcycling our used Starbucks Flavorlock™ Whole Bean packaging into pouches that we now retail at our stores. In which the proceeds will be channeled back to YWCA KL and the B40 Community that are helping us produce these pouches. As a business, we are effectively reducing our carbon footprint and environmental impact associated with our business. Our aim is to both create a positive impact on our planet as well as help the B40 community to improve their livelihoods,” the company said.

Starbucks Malaysia added that the programme will not only help the students earn an income with the skills they are learning, but they will also learn about entrepreneurship so that they may one day start their own business.

Retail Asia Awards gathers the region's best retailers and recognises major breakthroughs, innovations, and key players in the Asia retail industry.

The Retail Asia Awards is presented by Retail Asia Magazine. To view the full list of winners, click here. If you want to join the 2024 awards programme and be acclaimed for your company's exceptional products or initiatives in the retail industry, please contact Jane Patiag at [email protected].

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