Development Crossing

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability

As I went to Starbucks today to take advantage of their new promotional card that gives me free coffee every Wednesday for the next month, I noticed their pamphlet on social responsibility and took a look through and thought I would share it. I read an article that talked about making your coffee more "green" and it reminded me of some of the things it talked about.

Conducting Business Responsibly:

Managing CSR - Starbucks strengthened their processes for identifying, prioritizing, and managing their CSR initiatives, including forming a CSR Executive Committee that provides overall direction on important issues.

Sustainable Trade - Starbucks drafted sustainable purchasing guidelines for cocoa, an important ingredient in many of their products. Other measures were taken to advance their sustainable purchasing practices related to Tazo tea, bakery and dairy products, manufactured goods and Ethos bottled water.

Sustaining Coffee Quality:

C.A.F.E. (Coffee and Farmer Equity) Practices - More than half of their total coffee purchases (155 million pounds) in fiscal 2006 were bought from suppliers who have been approved under these guidelines. This is more than double the volume they purchased the previous year, reflecting the tremendous growth of C.A.F.E. Practices in such a short time.

Fair Trade Certified Coffee - Starbucks remains the largest purchaser, roaster and distributor of Fair Trade Certified coffee in North America.

Investing in Coffee Communities - Starbucks include a premium in some of their coffee contracts, above the negotiated purchase price. these premiums are often used to make infrastructure improvements, benefiting local farmers, their families and neighbors.

Being Responsible to Our Communities and Our Customers:

Charitable Contributions - Starbucks donated $36.1 million in cash and products.

Focusing on Education and Water - Starbucks began directing a significant portion of their community investments to education programs focused on youth and projects that bring clean water to children and communities where it is needed most.

Local Volunteerism - Starbucks partners and customers in the U.S. and Canada volunteered 383,000 hours in their communities through their volunteer program - Make Your Mark.

Reducing Our Environmental Footprint:

Climate Change Strategy - Starbucks continues to advance their three pronged emissions reduction strategy which includes purchasing renewable energy certificates, focusing on energy conservation measures and advocating the need for collaborative action.

Paper Cups - Newly designed paper cups made with 10% post-consumer recycled fiber became the new standard. These new cups will save an estimated 78,000 trees and reduce about 3 million pounds of solid waste in the first year of their use.

Views: 380

Comment by Ashley M on April 19, 2008 at 6:37pm
While these initiatives set forth by Starbucks seem to be a step in the right direction, I still question how sustainable Starbucks' practices really are. I have read various artciles alluding to the fact that the majority of the fair trade coffee Starbucks sells is sold in dry form to consumers. From what I have read, it seems that most of the coffee Starbucks sells to consumers in drinkable form is in fact not fair trade coffee. I found an interesting checklist/leaflet that one can use to see if their local Starbucks is really engaging in sustainable practices. The pamphlet and infomation can be found at If consumers take the initiative to show local their local Starbucks that sustainability matters to them, it could make a difference.
Comment by Erle Frayne Argonza on May 12, 2008 at 9:07am
The Starbucks indeed has to show greater sincerity and depth in its CSR. Their coffees are retailed using the same price ceilings world-wide, eg a $2.50 8-ounce sized coffee in California sells for the same price in Manila, but their pay for labor across the borders varies, leaving the service workers of their developing country branches with disadvantages.


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