The Social Responsibility of Starbucks
The Social Responsibility of Starbucks
Social Responsibility is defined as the duty of a business to make choices and direct actions that will benefit society. Because this definition is so broad, the idea is often skewed and many managers are not entirely sure which steps will take them in the “right” direction; however, right is a relative term, what’s right to the management team may not be what’s right for the company. Starbucks is a one such company whose top-level managers are actively taking the right steps for the company and accomplishing their goals the right way.
As part of its social responsibility, Starbucks targets the environment and the community, accomplishing several goals at once. By buying their ingredients from countries overrun with poverty, Starbucks takes steps to support the social and economic growth of those countries by providing them with jobs and fair sources of income, most being paid more than minimum wage on average. This decision greatly affects the public’s view of the company in a positive light and was a fantastic move on management’s part. These practices provide Starbucks’ customers with a product that not only looks good and tastes good, but is also 100% organic down to the fertilizer used to grow it, all the while building a loyal customer base because of their actions.
This practice of striving to build a strong brand and extend its life shows that Starbucks follows the Stakeholder model of social responsibility, meaning that Starbucks make their choices by taking into account the thoughts of the people that see worth in this company and those that they can help to better their lives. Starbucks chooses these areas as focal points for their responsibility because they are important not only for the survival of the company, but also for the survival of the planet. To this end, Starbucks does things like partner with Conservation International to maintain the ecosystems of their farms, and ensure that the families of their farmers are properly treated medically and educationally.
As far as comparing to other companies, Starbucks is way ahead of the pack. While other coffee-based companies are “socially responsible,” none of them divulge and elaborate on how they are responsible, if at all. Starbucks does not hesitate to say what they do, how they do it, and they do it with a smile because they are not doing it just to do it, they actually care. Starbucks as a company takes on the characteristic of those that work there, even the humility to state that their success is due to all the farmers that grow their coffee. For example, Einstein Noah, the company that parents Einstein Brother bagels has no information on anything they do for society. The same applies for Dunkin Donuts, they state, very vaguely, about their “dedication to serving the basic needs of the community” and how they “are committed to adopting better, more sustainable approaches whenever possible.” These statements say nothing about the company and only show that Starbucks has researched and formulated a plan for success, with a list of necessities.
The simple things that consumers look for, like quick service, consistency from store to store, and a polite demeanor compounded with the active move toward building a brighter future are a main part of strengthening the customer base. Starbucks has found a way to take the things that matter, like pursuing the lifting of a poorer country and brought it back home and merged it with an everyday necessity, coffee. They also participate in programs that peak the interest of most of their customers and the things they care about, like the Ethos® Water Fund campaign. Starbucks carries a brand of bottled water that when purchased donates five cents to helping countries that are water-stressed receive clean water, sanitation, and hygiene education which has benefited over 400,000 people around the world. This entire program shows that management at Starbucks corporate has a plan for the countries that they influence and consistently choose effective goals for the company, something that is often hard to do.
Starbucks is filled with a hardworking staff, they take a stand and proudly display their social responsibility and everything they do to achieve it. This is what sets them apart from their competition and what will keep the Starbucks name alive. Every step Starbucks takes along its journey is one that not only improves the company, but also improves the world. This company’s ideals of social responsibility are so strongly felt by the management team and the front-line staff that they are akin to that of a wrecking ball, smashing through the walls of adversity and doing things for their customers that will leave a lasting impression on the world and make tomorrow a better place.