Starbucks Discussion

Our class discussion question was as follows:

What is your evaluation of Starbucks social responsibility strategy? Is it sincere or just something the company does and talks about to create a good public image?

I believe Starbucks has a great social responsibility strategy that they continue to improve on. I do believe their strategy is sincere and not meant to solely create a good public image. For example, 2010 marked the tenth time that Starbucks had been named to Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s “The 100 Best Corporate Citizens” list. Starbucks had been named to this list several times before their commitment to continually strive to open all new company-owned stores under Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. They continue to strive and promote greater social responsibility in many aspects of business. This aspect of their social responsibility strategy is achievable by using environmentally friendly building materials, reducing energy consumption, purchasing renewable energy and using renewable energy sources, building stores using energy efficient designs, and reducing waste among other things. Achieving LEED certification in newly opened stores operations, Starbucks is successfully reducing their environmental footprint.

In addition to the company’s strategy to open environmentally friendly stores, Starbucks pays their coffee suppliers greater rates than other companies to support their farming needs, as well as the farmer’s family. The goal of the company is to obtain 100% of their coffee products through sources meeting their Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) practices or that are Fair Trade Certified. By supporting their suppliers in this way, Starbucks is promoting their social responsibility strategy of ethically sourcing of their products. Therefore Starbucks in trying to improve the quality of life for their suppliers in foreign countries.

Another aspect of Starbucks’ social responsibility strategy that supports the sincerity of helping the communities in which the company is operates is evidences by various programs that give back to local communities. Starbucks has donated money and community service hours to multiple causes in the United States, as well as in foreign countries. Causes supported in the united states include helping victims of Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Katrina by donating millions of dollars.

All of these elements are part of the broad social responsibility strategy Starbucks continually strives to improve. I believe Starbucks’ strategy is not only sincere, but unique to their industry. The focus of their strategy supports ethical and environmentally friendly practices throughout their supply chain; from their suppliers to their customers and communities they serve.

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