Starbucks will Provide More than Coffee: 13 Goals to Do Business More Responsibly

Starbucks.gifLet’s just get this out of the way in the beginning: I am not a fan of Starbucks. Years ago my favorite coffee shop, locally owned, was put out of business when Starbucks moved in to its block. However, I believe in giving credit to companies that practice the triple bottom line.
On Monday Starbucks announced its thirteen new goals, as part of Starbucks Shared Planet. The company plans to meet all of the goals by 2015. The goals include ethical sourcing, environmental stewardship, and community involvement.

Ten years ago Starbucks began working with Conservation International in an initiative to encourage coffee farmers to use sustainable agricultural practices. Starbucks asked the farmers it worked with to help create the company’s environmental, social and economic responsibility guidelines. The guidelines eventually evolved into Shared Planet, which has 120 standards for environmental practices, social and economic standards, and quality.

Shared Planet Goals
Ethical sourcing
* Purchase 100 percent of coffee through ethical sourcing practices
* Invest in a better future for farmers and their communities by nearly doubling farmers loans from 12.5 to $20 million
* Pro-actively affect climate change by offering farmers incentives to prevent deforestation beginning with pilot programs in Sumatra, Indonesia & Chiapas, Mexico.
Environmental stewardship
* Recyclable cup developed and launched by 2012
* 25 percent of cups will be reusable
* Recycling available in stores
* 50 percent energy used in stores will come from renewable sources by 2010
* Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by making stores 25 percent more energy efficient by 2010 (per co. owned store)
* Significant reduction in water usage
* All new stores will be certified green by 2010
* Champion tropical rain forest protection as a solution to climate change
Community involvement
* Engage 50,000 social entrepreneurs to innovate and take action and in turn inspire 100,000 individuals to take action in their communities.
* Contribute over 1 million community service hours per year in communities.

“Starbucks Shared Planet is not just about how important it is to us that we’re a socially responsible company, it’s to reaffirm Starbucks leadership in the retail and coffee industries and the communities in which we are operating,” said Howard Schultz, chairman, president and CEO of Starbucks Coffee Company. “During this time of economic uncertainty we realize that we have the opportunity and the responsibility to keep our focus on our commitment to keep our communities strong, and I’m proud of what we’re doing to live up to the guiding principles of this company.”
Starbucks, Transfair USA and the Fairtrade Labeling Organizations
Starbucks announced this week that it is working with Transfair USA and the Fairtrade Labeling Organizations (FLO) as partners in Shared Planet. Transfair USA and FLO will work with Starbucks to integrate the verification process for certifying coffee is fair trade.
Starbucks is one of the biggest purchasers of Fair Trade Certified Coffee, and by 2009 it will double its purchases, which will make it the biggest purchaser. Starbucks has worked with Transfair USA and FLO for nine years.
“We strongly believe that, by working together, Starbucks and the Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International can accomplish so much more for coffee farmers and the coffee industry,” said Schultz. “By doubling our commitment to Fair Trade Certified and scaling up our global partnership, we have a unique opportunity to further reinforce our ongoing efforts to benefit farmers and communities.”
“This commitment from Starbucks could not have come at a better time for coffee farmers as they face the threat of climate change, higher prices and brace themselves for a global slowdown,” said Rob Cameron, CEO of FLO. “The partnership combines the expertise of Fairtrade in delivering grassroots-based farmer and consumer empowerment in global markets, with Starbucks incentive-based program for improvement of coffee quality and farmer incomes. Together, we believe we can forge a model of trade for sustainable development that the coffee industry has never before seen.”
“This dramatic volume increase will have a far-reaching positive impact in coffee growing communities throughout the developing world – it will send kids to school, bring clean water to farming communities and enable struggling farmers to put food on the table,” said Paul Rice, president and CEO of TransFair USA.

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by

5 responses

  1. I had a similar experience when my favorite local coffee shop went out of business since there were actually 2 Starbucks built within a mile radius of it. And another Starbucks replaced my fave shop that went out of business. Hah.
    But it is good to see them at least making an effort to be more responsible corporate citizens.

  2. I much prefer my local coffe shops, but if I’m stuck at an airport or something I will sometimes buy Starbucks.
    In all honesty, I think the “shutting down the little guy” story is a bit exaggerated. Starbucks helped *create* coffee shop culture in the US. Having watched this take off, my observation is that there are way, way more small coffee shops than there ever were before Starbucks came along.
    Most Americans had no idea what a latte was until the 90s when Starbucks came along and now there are many more coffeshops who’ve moved in as well (both chains and local).
    It’s ironic, but unless you’re living out in the strip-malls, there are a heck of a lot of little coffee shops around that were not present before Starbucks

  3. Yes, there are more local coffee shops thanks to Starbucks, but they have some out of business. However, I am not into lattes, expressos, etc. I just want a darn good cup of coffee. The coffee shop Starbucks put out of business in Fresno offered choices of blends, and the cup of coffee you received was not industrial strength. Now thanks to the influence of Starbucks you don’t have those kind of choices, and the coffee is so strong you can stand a spoon in it.

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