The infamous image of the girl in the green circle; of course I mean Starbucks.  Everywhere you go you see it.  Grabbing a wake me up coffee in the library, walking to class, even walking around the streets of a major city.  Starbucks is everywhere and has become a phenomenon.  If you have seen the movie Shrek, you will see the characters running out of a Starbucks frantically only to try and hide in another Starbucks…5ft away.  Starbucks is a company that is known across the world.  If you see that green and white logo of the girl, no one questions that it is Starbucks.

So what does such a well known and household name stand for?  They may be popular, but we know that popularity doesn’t necessarily mean ethical.  What drives Starbucks?  In class we have come across companies like Enron that have been solely driven by greed and wealth.  Because of this they were incredibly successful…for a very short amount of time.  Is Starbucks motivated by profits or does the company have more depth?

Starbucks prides itself on being socially responsible.  On their website they state:

“It’s our commitment to do things that are good to people each other and the planet. From the way we buy our coffee, to minimizing our environmental impact, to being involved in local communities. It’s doing things the way we always have. And it’s using our size for good. And because you support us, Starbucks™ Shared Planet™ is what you are a part of too.”

Over the years Starbucks has advertised and tried to make a point of demonstrating to the world that they are socially responsible.  They have listed numerous goals that they would live to achieve by 2015 such as: 100% reusable or recyclable cups, 100% recycling in our stores, and taking on climate change.  Starbucks avidly tries to portray the fact that achieve these goals means that customers, employees, and all people involved with Starbucks must help and be responsible.  Starbucks states that they use ethical trading and responsible growing practices.  Starbucks works with coffee-growing communities by paying the prices that high quality coffee demand, investing a better future for farmers through loan programs etc.

Having just given a presentation about Milton, I thought to myself that Milton would be extremely opposed to the efforts of Starbucks.  Milton focused primarily on profit while maintaining within the law.  Starbucks goes “above and beyond” to be socially responsible.  On one hand, Starbucks does this to try and please the customer.  This mentality would coincide with Milton.  On the other hand, Starbucks is doing more than just appeasing the customer.  Starbucks is genuinely trying to make a different to better the world.  Starbucks is giving up profits to try and be environmentally friendly.

After reading the Nike case and reading about the labor issues, I think it is admirable that Starbucks is so concerned with their farmers.  I think they are being extremely responsible and doing what we would deem as a class as “ethical.”


2 responses »

  1. Lindsay S. says:

    I think it’s very interesting to read how a company defines its goals. For Starbucks, I admire that they are striving to have 100% reusable or recyclable cups and 100% recycling in their stores by 2015 because those are very meaningful but also attainable goals. It sounds a bit over-the-top to state one of their goals as “taking on climate change.” It is wonderful if Starbucks wants to make efforts to reduce the affects of climate change, but if that’s the case, they should state “we are doing this this and that in an effort to slowdown climate change.” I feel when companies make broad statements like “we want to take on climate change,” not only does it sound a little ridiculous but it also makes the company less accountable because they are not clearly stating specific goals they are working towards. The goal of 100% reusable or recyclable cups by 2015, for example, is great because Starbucks is putting themselves out their by stating that goal and there is therefore great pressure on them to pull through and reach that standard.

  2. […] Tie to Class Discussion/Readings goes to Scout (Starbucks at its Finest) for her useful reference to […]

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