Starbucks Coffee Company

?To inspire and nurture the human spirit ? one person, one cup and one neighborhood at the time?

Sunday 23 May 2010, by Angelina Bjorklund, Dennis Neeteson, Guillaume Smitsmans, Manuel Cisneros

2 inspired

a) The main facts about the activities of the company ?

Starbucks is a coffeehouse that offers a variety of products, mainly coffee (30 different blends), but also handcrafted beverages, fresh food (pastries, sandwiches, salads etc.) and merchandise (like coffee mugs, books and music). They started with only one store in a market in Seattle in 1971 where they were a roaster and retailer of whole bean and ground coffee, tea and spices. Except what they are offering in their coffeehouses they also have company-operated retail-stores were they sell beverage-related accessories and equipment and they also licenses its trademark through other channels to sell ready to drink beverages. They also have an online store where you can buy coffee or equipment. Furthermore they want to create a welcoming environment in their shops and work for it to be the meeting point in a neighborhood, for example, they offer free internet connection in their coffeehouses. The company works with the goal of serving the best coffee possible, grown under the highest standards of quality and with the use of ethical trading and growing practices. They are committed to being ethically responsible and work to be so in several different ways.

b) The ethical challenges this company is addressing ?

Starbucks believed that businesses can - and should - have a positive impact on the communities they serve. So the main ethical challenges they address are:

? Sell coffee verified through C.A.F.E. Practices Starbucks Coffee Company initiated C.A.F.E. (Coffee and Farmer Equity) Practices to evaluate, recognize, and reward producers of high-quality sustainably grown coffee. C.A.F.E. Practices is a green coffee sourcing guideline developed in collaboration with Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), a third-party evaluation and certification firm. C.A.F.E. Practices seeks to ensure that Starbucks sources sustainably grown and processed coffee by evaluating the economic, social and environmental aspects of coffee production against a defined set of criteria, as detailed in the C.A.F.E. Practices Guidelines. Starbucks defines sustainability as an economically viable model that addresses the social and environmental needs of all the participants in the supply chain from farmer to consumer.
? Essential criteria of the standard:
1. Financial transparency
Including traceability of the coffee back to the farmer
2. Social Responsibility
Payment of minimum wage, compliance with national laws on overtime payment
Freedom of association and collective bargaining
Vacation and sick leave program
No child labour, discrimination, forced labour
Decent housing conditions for workers living onsite
Access to education, medical care
Safe pesticide handling
3. Environmental Leadership (Farm)
Watercourse and water quality protection
Controlling soil erosion
Improving soil fertility
Shade cover
Wildlife conservation, natural conservation areas
Ecological pest and disease management
Management and monitoring practices
4. Environmental Leadership (Processing)
Minimize water consumption (wet mill)
Minimize water pollution
Waste recycling
Minimize energy use
? Community
Starbucks has created a variety of programs to facilitate community service and giving. The Starbucks Foundation was created to support commitment to community. Programs:

 Supporting Coffee, Tea and Cocoa Communities Starbucks supports social development projects that help the communities that produce coffee, tea and cocoa. Projects include improving access to education and agricultural training, microfinance and microcredit services, improving biodiversity conservation, and increasing levels of health, nutrition and water sanitation.
 Access to Get Clean Water, with the goal of providing people in developing countries with access to clean water.
 Fostering Education in China commitment to support educational programs in China at Give2Asia.
 Rebuilding the Gulf Coast, to assist in the recovery and revitalization of Gulf Coast communities devastated by hurricanes Rita and Katrina.
 (STARBUCKS)RED product makes a contribution to the Global Fund to help people living with HIV in Africa. With your help, already generated contributions equaling more than 14,000,000 days of medicine.
 Starbucks work on-the-ground with farmers to help improve coffee quality and invest in loan programs for coffee-growing communities.
 Wellness, means supporting policies and efforts to improve the health of communities in addition to offering balanced food and beverage options to customers.
 Starbucks committed to upholding a culture where diversity is valued and respected.

c) What makes you believe this company is really ethical and why you trust it ?

Starbucks get involved with local efforts to bring people together and create positive change, they believe that being involved in the communities is not only the right thing to do, it?s also good business.
? Environmental impact
 In 1999, Starbucks started "Grounds for your Garden" to make their business more environmentally-friendly. This gives leftover coffee grounds to anyone requesting it for composting. Customers can request and lobby their local store to begin the practice.
 In 2004, Starbucks began reducing the size of their paper napkins and store garbage bags, and lightening their solid waste production by 816.5 metric tons (1.8 million pounds). In 2008, Starbucks was ranked #15 on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s list of Top 25 Green Power Partners for purchases of renewable energy.
 Starbucks construct green buildings.

 Starbucks cups are recyclable in form and in practice. Served 4.4 million more beverages in reusable cups in 2009 than in 2008

 In June 2009, in response to concerns over its excessive water consumption, Starbucks re-evaluated its use of the dipper well system. In September 2009, company-operated Starbucks stores in Canada & the United States successfully implemented a new water saving solution that meets government health standards. Different types of milk are given a dedicated spoon that remains in the pitcher and the dipper wells were replaced with push button metered faucets for rinsing. This will reportedly save up to 150 gallons of water per day in every store. Water use decreased by 4.1% in company-owned stores in.
 Starbucks Support programs that facilitate farmers? access to carbon markets, allowing them to generate additional income while helping to prevent deforestation.
 In 2010 company purchase renewable energy equivalent to 50% of the electricity used in company-owned stores, and reduced by 25% the total energy consumption.

? Community
 Through grants awarded in 2009, the company engaged 20,868 young people in community activities.
 Starbucks has established Farmer Support Centers in Costa Rica and Rwanda to provide local farmers with resources and expertise to help lower the cost of production, reduce fungus infections, improve coffee quality and increase the production of premium coffee.
 Starbucks provides funding to organizations that make loans to coffee growers, which will help them sell their crops at the best time to get the right price. The loans also help farmers to invest in their farms and make capital improvements. Over the years, we?ve committed over $15 million to a variety of farmer loan funds
 In total, Starbucks partners and customers around the world contributed more than 186,000 hours of community service in 2009.
 Starbucks encourage diversity with suppliers by actively seeking out women- and minority-owned businesses to do business with.
Social responsibility means that organizations are part of a larger society and are accountable to that society for their actions. So Starbucks make a lot of actions that make us trust is a ethic company, and is in constant hardworking to improve everyday.

d) The possible challenges facing the company in the future and how you think this company may improve ?

By 2015, Starbucks plan to meet the following goals:

? Environmental stewardship:
 100% of cups will be reusable or recyclable
 Significantly reduce environmental footprint through recycling, energy and water conservation and green construction.
- Have a recyclable cup developed and launched by 2012
- Have 25% of the cups used in stores be reusable
- Have recycling available in stores
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by making company-owned stores 25 percent more energy efficient.
- Have a significant reduction in water usage
- All new company-owned stores will be certified green
- Champion tropical rainforest protection as a solution to climate change

? Ethical sourcing:
 Buy and serve 100% responsibly grown and ethically traded coffee
- Purchase 100 percent of coffee through ethical sourcing practices
- Invest in a better future for farmers and their communities by nearly doubling funding to organizations that provide farmer loans from $12.5 to $20 million
- Proactively impact climate change by offering farmers incentives to prevent deforestation beginning with pilot programs in Sumatra, Indonesia and Chiapas, Mexico.

? Community involvement:

- Contribute more than 1 million community service hours per year in communities where we do business.
- Engage 50,000 social entrepreneurs to innovate and take action, who will in turn inspire 100,000 individuals to take action in their communities.

These commitments will help ensure future of the company. Need a healthy environment and farmers that are paid well so that Starbucks continue to bring you the high-quality coffee that you expect from us.

Starbucks can actually show, for the puplic, that they have made a difference. Because we don’t think it is totally clear for the general public that they are doing ethical work. We think that many people think that they are just another big corporation that only care about profit.


Start a new discussion

5 Discussions / 5 Messages

  • Starbucks Coffee Company 4 October 2012 at 18:31 , by Janet(Chen Qian)

    I agree with the author that Starbucks is an ethical company, from the raw materials purchasing to the production producing, from the profit earning to the social responsibility taking.

    As we all know, Starbucks focus on the ethical souring including purchases more Fair Trade coffee than any other company and consistently pays above market value for their beans. They Offer superior health care and stock options for employees, no matter full time or part time. They engage in responsible business practices almost from day when they founded.

    However, recently, one of the Starbucks store is exposed to use the expired syrup, the public relationship department staff admitted the fact and claimed that some staff did not check the expiration by mistake is the main cause of this accident. Although, it seems like an independent event, the scandal uncovers some interior management flaws. Finding out who is responsible for this accident is not the mere purpose, improving the inner management is crucial. Fortunately it seems that this scandal doesn’t have too much negative effect on its reputation.

    To sum up, Starbucks really inspired me about their excellent performance in social responsibility and their every ethical efforts. Meanwhile, they should not neglect to strength the inner control system. After all, ethics is not only some performance that show to the public, but also details in daily work to fulfill one’s duty.

    Janet(Chen Qian)from SJTU 1121209243

  • Starbucks Coffee Company 4 October 2012 at 18:31 , by Dong Xujie

    Starbucks is a famous and successful coffee chain enterprise. It offers different kinds of coffee, beverage and refreshment. Meanwhile it provides a wonderful environment to consumers.
    In addition, Starbucks do something good for people so it attracts me. However, it still has kinds of problem with unfair trade that it should face and deal with.
     environment-friendly
    Starbucks put out an idea of “Grounds for you Garden” with the conception of environment-friendly. Anyone who requests Starbucks’ staff for the coffee grounds can bring them home for composing or absorbing formaldehyde. This idea is amazing and environment-friendly. I was attracted by this action when I drunk the coffee and learnt about it.
    Besides, they use recyclable materials and reduce the waste production to protect the environment.
     Fair or unfair trade
    In 2010, the United States imported fair-trade-certified coffee — purchased directly from small producers with no child labor and shorter working time. Under the pressure of government, Starbucks began to sell ethical beans. However, the steaming hot coffee they sold in the coffeehouse is not using the ethical beans. Besides, the ethical beans only account for two percent of their purchasing.
    “The certified beans bring in more money, but once you take into account increased production costs, such as bringing the maintenance of farms up to code and shorter labor hours, the final profit is no higher, and in many cases is actually lower.” So, to some extent, the ethical beans are unethical.

  • Starbucks Coffee Company 5 October 2012 at 10:23 , by Sirikul

    Most of people around the world perceive Starbucks to be a fast-growing business and an ethical company in the world, especially in 2012 Starbuck has been honored the six years of the World’s Most Ethical (WME) Companies from The Ethisphere Institute, a leading international think-tank dedicated to the creation, advancement and sharing of best practices in business ethics, corporate social responsibility, anti-corruption and sustainability.

    Personally, from its mission statement doing business with caring to environment that is “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time” , I totally perceive and believe in its global responsibility. Firstly, when people go inside a Starbucks outlet to buy their favorite coffee, the first thing most will look to get is a handful of tissues, maybe something to stir their coffee with or an extra sugar or cream. It can be imply that Starbucks takes an active role in addressing environmental concerns that little things in their coffee shops, like tissues, are made recyclable. In fact, Starbucks takes their environmental responsibilities so seriously that it’s stated on their Starbucks mission statement above. And the key reasons why I am inspired this company are as followings:

    I. It concern to all the participants in the supply chain from farmer to consumer such as traceability of the coffee back to the farmer,
    no child labor and forced labor,

    II. It has continuously launched a variety of programs to facilitate community service and giving. Fostering Education in China
    commitment to support educational programs in China at Give2Asia is one example of these.

    III. It has been guaranteed by having ethical, social responsibility awards continuously from various parties in the world.

    IV. It is challenge to the company for maintaining this high position of ethical standard for each year. Starbuck is a company
    that is achieving its goals and it is being successful. The main challenge of it is not currently facing is the competition but
    must maintain its social responsibility to all stakeholders.

    In conclusion, I perceive and believe in the Starbuck’s global responsibility and it is interesting to learn of their success both business value and ethical value in the company at the same time and learn how difficult it still maintain this high position in the world.

  • Starbucks Coffee Company 28 February 2013 at 13:07 , by Esther Boix

    Starbucks Coffee:
    The Starbucks model really surprised me. Although is one of the Coffee shops with the more expensive coffee in the world they have a lot of costumers. They don’t offer only a simple coffee, they are located strategically to let his customers spend the whole afternoon in his stores. Moreover the interior decoration with different types of couches and small tables let people to spent there his free time with his friends, or working with his computers enjoying a good coffee.
    Starbucks is not only good making coffees; they are also good with different types of smoothies, handcrafted beverage and fresh food. Starbucks believe that businesses can and should have a positive impact on the communities they serve. Starbucks defines sustainability as an economically viable model that addresses the social and environmental needs of all the participants in the supply chain from farmer to consumer.
    We had talked a lot in class about the mission and vision of the companies. What surprised me in the Starbucks case, was his mission: to inspire and nature the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time. That means that every store in Starbucks is a part of a community and they take his responsibility to be good neighbours seriously.
    They are committed to offer financial transparency, social responsibility for instance vacation and sick leave program, no child labour, discriminations or forced labour, decent housing conditions for workers, access to education and medical care. They are also implementing process to be more environmentally friendly with minimize water consumption, minimize water pollution, waste recycling and minimize energy use. They also had created the Starbuck foundation to support commitment to community.
    What inspire me of this company was when doing some search I found that they are really committed with the society. With the Starbucks Foundation they help to nurturing young leaders (for every bottle of Ethos® water sold in the United States, 5 cents is directed to the Ethos© Water Fund to help finance sustainable water programs around the world), Fostering education in China and Community Service. Starcucks is also worried for the financial crisis and Starbucks has teamed up with the Opportunity Finance Network® (OFN) to create and sustain jobs. They have a specific web page to help people to find a job in USA.
    Starbuck has also collaboration with RED and very time you pay with your (STARBUCKS)RED Card*, they make a contribution to the Global Fund to help people living with HIV/AIDS in Africa. With our help, they have already generated contributions equalling more than 18 million daily doses of medicine.
    Moreover every Starbucks is a part of a community, and they are dedicated to help the neighbourhoods thrive wherever we do business. It’s a commitment rooted deep in his tradition and the belief that we they use our scale to be a compound for positive change.
    Starbucks is not just a coffee shop, is more than that and it was really interesting saw in his webpages how they cooperate with the society, this is a good promotion of the company that is growing more and more every year.

  • Starbucks Coffee Company 28 February 2013 at 14:18 , by Silvia Garcia

    Starbucks is the largest coffeehouse company in the world and never stop growing. Their business model really inspires me, as it’s curious and important to take into account that although it has high prices it’s always full of customers around the world. People are arranged to pay more money for its products due to the good atmosphere of their establishments and the products’ quality. In fact, Starbucks it’s like a point of meeting for both friends to spend hours together or even people who study there with a cup of coffee.

    The company is not only good for their quality or atmosphere but also because of the fact that they are compromised with the environment: they sell organic coffee and produce it with methods that have a lower impact on it. This kind of organic farm practices reduce the use of toxic and pesticides. Moreover, they help those communities to produce coffee and create farmer support centers to provide them with resources or help to reduce their production costs.

    So, on the whole, the company’s efforts are focused on improving the health of both people and environment. On the one hand, helping people by having several measures to ensure good working conditions. For instance protecting the rights of workers, compliancing with the minimum wage, prohibiting child labour, providing people in developing countries with acces to clean water or collaborating with some fundations as RED, to help African people who suffers from HIV. On the other hand, they respect the environment as the company manages to reduce water consumption, protect quality on all their products, conserve energy or preserve biodiversity.

    Silvia Garcia

Location: Seattle (United States of America)

Sector: food & beverage industry

Official website:

Key figures:

Starbucks had, on the 27th of December 2009, 16706 stores in over 50 different countries. In 2009 they had a revenue of 9,8 billion dollars.

Nbr. visits: 1033

Nbr. inspires: 2