A new trend of being ethically sourced, sustainable, or “green” is appearing in every sector. Is it real? Or are companies cashing in? I can’t say for sure.
Starbucks appears to be a surprisingly ethical and socially conscious brand. Although Starbucks’ pricing is not known as cheap, at least part of their reasoning is due to its ethical standards. Starbucks demands that their supply chain is paid fairly and refuses to do business with companies that do not abide by this rule. Starbucks aims to make a profit, but social responsibility and lasting enrichment of humans are also vital to their values. In fact, the Starbucks motto is “Inspiring and nurturing the human spirit — one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time,” (Starbucks., 2020). . They also use their Instagram to speak about current events like the COVID-19 pandemic. If you look through their social media their posts are all poignant to the rough times we’re all living in, “We’re in this together. Caring for our community is our top priority…” and “Things are changing but we’re still here for you,” (Starbucks Instagram, 2020). Starbucks also supports its employees with high pay, good benefits, and opportunities for growth with schooling reimbursement (Starbucks, 2020.
After some research, I did find some startling information that although Starbucks supply chain rules are stricter than many other companies, there is still room for improvement. “The coffee chain’s social responsibility document contained adequate clauses on discrimination, freedom of association, and forced labour. However, the policy only stated that the legal minimum wage must be paid rather than a living wage,” (Ethical Consumer Research Association Ltd, 2020). From the same website, there have also been some disturbing claims about tax evasion, which seems to be rather “trendy” right now. (Google Bob Brockman and our 45th President for funsies!)
I am more dubious of Starbucks. I’m not sure that they are only “green for profit,” but some of their actions are very suspect. This research does make me more inclined to research companies more in-depth than I thought I needed to do previously. Honestly, it’s disappointing. I’m a huge coffee fan, and after some other marketing classes, I thought that Starbucks was better than this. I guess not. If they are truly ‘for the people” as they claim, than some things will need to change.
Ethical Consumer Research Association Ltd. (2020, May 08). How ethical is Starbucks Corporation? Retrieved October 17, 2020, from https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/company-profile/starbucks-corporation
Starbucks Instagram. (2020). Retrieved October 16, 2020, from http://www.instagram.com/Starbucks
Starbucks. (2020). Company Information. Retrieved October 16, 2020, from https://www.starbucks.com/about-us/company-information