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Starbucks and Corporate Social Responsibility sample essay

Starbucks, an international coffee store, began in Seattle in 1971 as a collaborative of three business partners. In the 1980’s Starbucks began to expand beyond Seattle and the chain began to go internationally. It is reported that as of August, 2012, Starbucks is now located in 58 countries making it an extremely viable force in the coffee industry. Starbucks mission, according to its website, is “to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”(Starbucks Website). As mentioned in lectures (Wyatt, 2012) and readings (Waddock, 2008), Corporate Social Responsibility needs to be comprehensive and considerate of a wide range of stakeholders and three specific spheres. These spheres include economic, political and civil society.

Starbucks has grown a lot in the past several decades and has worked to respond to issues that have arisen in several of these spheres. Starbucks has, as part of its CSR report, information about Environmental stewardship: Community involvement and Ethical Sourcing. In terms of community giving, Starbucks thrives both locally and abroad, including provisionfinancial support after the Tsunami in 2010. Starbucks also has developed ethical standards for supporting farmers and employment opportunities. Politically, Starbucks also strives to participate in global human rights issues and to be transparent in its political contributions. (Starbucks Website). Environmentally, Starbucks established its first environmental mission in 1992. And then, after pressure to consider labor practices, wrote a Framework for Code of Conduct in 1995. (Waddock, 2008).

Criticism continued about practices with labor and environmental issues, so Starbucks upgraded various programs in 2001. Global Exchange, for example, continues to urge Starbucks to do a better job with Fair Trade, the environment and wage issues. (Global Exchange). In 2011, Starbucks had 75% of all new buildings meet LEED standards. In terms of stakeholders, Waddock describes several layers of stakeholders and how these stakeholders may develop positive relationships with the company. These relationships can be 1) mutual, 2) interactive, 3) consistent over time, and 4) interdependent. (Waddock, p. 12). At Starbucks, leadership believes that interdependence is the heart of its mission and that its serves to create connection in the stores, communities and through the internet of those its serves.

Similar to the article by Robert Allio and Nike, Starbucks is working to help co-create with the consumer to create a partnership value. For Starbucks, the focus on relationship extends to customers and to suppliers. Customers have control over “creating” the product they consume for example thus creating that unique experience. Starbucks has also shown willingness to listen to concerns like those of Global Exchange, and work toward creating better conditions. The article by Duesterberg failed to inspire any concerns of stakeholders or global thinking, but rather one that was only focused on profit of companies and working to reduce corporate responsibility to employees in the form of health benefits.

Being as large a company as it is, Starbucks will always have outside individuals and organizations working to keep the company above board in all three spheres. CSR reports, such as the ones Starbucks provide, are great, and there is always room for improvement. Hopefully Starbucks will continue to listen to all stakeholders when making critical decisions.


Allio, R. (2008). C.K. Prahalad heralds a new era of innovation. Strategy & Leadership, 36:6 pp. 11 – 14. Retrieved from

Duesterberg, T. J. (2008). Looking Ahead to Manufacturing’s Future. Industry Week/IW, 257(9), 12. Retrieved from

Starbucks Campaign. Global Exchange [website]. Retrieved from

Waddock, S. (2008). Leading Corporate Citizens: Visions, Value, Value Added (3rd ed.). New York, NY:McGraw-Hill. Retrieved from CKFXXPD&credential=ZQZV7HY8

Wyatt, J. (2012). Module One: Foundations of Corporate Responsibility [lecture]. Retrieved from [pic][pic][pic]

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