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Ethics of Starbucks Corporation sample essay

Starbucks Corporation is the international coffee and the largest coffeehouse in the world based in seattle, Washington. The company has expanded rapidly with over 16,858 stores in 50 countries, including 11,000 in the united states, over 1000 in Canada and over 700 in uk. Starbucks don’t sell only coffee but there are variety in the consumer products that they offer such as hot and cold sandwiches and Panini, pastries ,snacks and other hot and cold drinks. The company’s products are seasonal or specific to the locality of the store. Starbucks also has an entertainment division and hear music brand, the company also markets books, music and films. Starbucks brand ice-creams and coffee are also offered at grocery stores.

The Mission statement of Starbucks is to ” inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time”. Starbucks believe that conducting business ethically and striving to do the right thing are vital to the success of the company. However, Starbucks corporation have been a target of protests and vandalism in the previous years on issues related to sustainability. But Starbucks have always been socially responsible and made it a priority to the development of new ways of addressing diverse impacts of business in society.

Like every corporation, Starbucks has its own Standard of Business Conduct which facilitates legal compliance and ethics training; investigates sensitive issues such as potential conflicts of interest; and provides additional channels for partners to voice concerns. Partners are encouraged to report all types of issues or concerns to the program through their choice of the offered communication channel.

The key goal and the important aspect of Business ethics is Sustainability. Sustainability is emerged from the environmental perspective because of the effective management of physical resources that are conserved for the future. But the concept of sustainability is not only broadened to include environment but also economic and social consideration.

Starbucks have made its priorities in addressing ethical issues related to the environment through formal and public relations. Starbucks is committed to a role of environmental leadership in all facets of our business. This is done by understanding the environmental issues, developing innovative and flexible solutions to bring about change, attempt to buy, sell and use environmental friendly products, instilling environmental responsibility as a corporate value, measuring and monitoring our progress for each project.

However, The Three components of Sustainability actually represent in terms of goals for business ethics.

a) the environmental perspectives for Starbucks Corporation

In 1999, Starbucks started” grounds for coffee” where they would give away the grounds to anyone for composting. They also reduced the size of their paper napkins and garbage bags to reduce wastage and lightening their solid waste to 816.5 metric tons. In response to the excessive water consumption ,Starbucks have replaced pitcher and dipper wells with push button faucets for rinsing utensils. Starbucks are trying ways to make recycling services available for its plastic cups as the services are very limited. By 2015 it is will make these services available in every store across the country.

Previously, there were issues that plastic cups were non-recyclable because of the plastic coating that prevents the cup from leaking also prevents it from being recycled so they changed the material from prolypropylene (PP) to polyethylene teraphthale (PETE) which can be recycled. Starbucks is now considering the use of biodegradable material instead of plastics to line the cups. Starbucks gives 10 cents discounts to its customers for using its own mug and it now uses corrugated cup sleeves made up of 60% post consumer recycled fiber.

As a Corporate Citizen, Starbucks have taken the ethical responsibility by conserving energy and increasing efficiency to reduce contribution to climate change. Purchasing of renewable resources to avoid impact on the climate yt and investing in new lighting and improving the efficiency of HVAC (heating, ventilation and cooling systems) and other equipments. Starbucks also has build greener stores which include a mix of design elements such as using recycled floor tiles, improve light efficiency, installing low flow valves throughout the stores, using paints with lower amount of volatile organic chemicals.

b) the economic perspective for starbucks corporation

A broader concept of economic sustainability would include the company’s attitude towards and impacts upon economic framework. Starbucks Corporation responsibly grows coffee and launching its Fair Trade Coffee has undeniably made a significant contribution to their family farmers through rapidly growing FTC coffee volume. Starbucks has established support centers for the farmers in Rwanda and Costa Rica to provide them with necessary resources and expertise to help lower the cost of production, reduce fungus infections, improve coffee quality and increase the production of premium coffee. During the growing and harvest cycles, many farmers find it difficult to cover the expenses prompting them to sell their crops for less to the local buyers.

To avoid such situation, starbucks provides funding to the organization that make loans to the coffee growers which will sell their crops at the best time to get the right price. It will also help the farmers to invest in the farms and make capital improvements. Starbucks coffee and cocoa buying is designed to long-term supply of high-quality, ethically sourced cocoa and coffee while contributing positively to the environment and to cocoa-farming communities. Starbucks argues that it pays above market prices for all of its coffee. According to the company, in 2004 it paid on average $1.42 per pound ($2.64 kg) for high-quality coffee beans. This is in comparison to commodity prices which were as low as $0.50–$0.60 in 2003–04.

c) the social perspective for Starbucks corporation

The key issue in social perspective on sustainability is that of social justice. Starbucks Corporation is involved in communities’ services bringing people together, inspiring change and making a difference in people’s lives. Engaging young people to identify and address the needs of their community. Young people also receive advocacy ,training, financial help and other resources for their efforts. This is done by providing monetary aid and establishing relationship with International Youth foundation and Youth Venture.

Starbucks is also involved in combating HIV/Aids to coffee growing community in Africa. Starbucks began selling RED goods in November 2008, enabling the supply of AIDS medicine for 3800 people for a year. The Starbucks Foundation has served the society for many years providing access to clean waters to the developing countries from its brand water bottled ETHOS, fostering education in china, rebuilding the Gulf coast. Although these goals and targets are identified by the UN are essentially the responsibility of the government to achieve, some of them have direct significance for business.

Finally we have identified sustainability as a crucial concept that helps to determine the goals and objectives of the business activities from ethical point of view.

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