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Starbucks research center to open on Tempe campus

The ASU-Starbucks Center for the Future of People is set to open December 2021

Starbucks Sustainability Commitment Greener Stores

A Starbucks store is shown at an unknown location on Thursday, June 22, 2017. Starbucks and ASU recently announced a new partnership to  open the ASU-Starbucks Center for the Future of People.

ASU has partnered with Starbucks to create a research center focused on sustainability and better serving its communities. 

The ASU-Starbucks Center for the Future of People is slated to open this December at the Tempe campus and currently comprises over a dozen faculty members from multiple schools at ASU with plans to expand and create opportunities for student involvement. The team members specialize in a variety of disciplines including engineering, design and sustainability.

"Over the last several years we have been reinventing Starbucks for our future and transforming the way we drive innovation at Starbucks," Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in a press release.

According to Peter Schlosser, vice president and vice provost at the Global Futures Initiative, this partnership was built off the University's existing relationship with Starbucks. The company has nine licensed stores across ASU's four metropolitan Phoenix campuses and the Starbucks College Achievement Plan, which offers eligible Starbucks employees full tuition for ASU's online degree program.

The center aims to develop new proposals for sustainable practices like greener store designs and sustainable, appealing food options. The projects would be developed by both ASU and Starbucks teams, then piloted in ASU's Starbucks locations.

Schlosser said the goals of the center are in line with the mission of the Global Futures Laboratory and the University's charter.

"The Global Futures Lab is actually designed to holistically, from all perspectives, look at how will our planet look in the future and how can we steer it into a state that has the least adverse effects for all life on the planet," Schlosser said.

Schlosser said the partnership is a good opportunity to engage with the community and apply sustainability research to the real world. 

"This is something, I think, that's a great milestone in our engagement with the outside world," Schlosser said. "Particularly going from a strong partnership on the educational side, to the research side, to jointly look at what is the future of the retail landscape with Starbucks being one part of the broader landscape."

Collaborating with private businesses, Schlosser said, is instrumental in finding successful ways to progress in the implementation of sustainable practices. 

"We have as part of our charter that we really want to help communities, we want to serve communities, and this is one way to do that and the private sector plays a very important role in figuring out how the world can look in the future, and it actually has a big role to play in determining what that is," Schlosser said. "So for me, that's really exciting to have that contact to the real world where things actually have designs that play out, then are felt by a lot of people."

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