Starbucks and Sustainability

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MBA 552
WINTER, 2011



In the July-August, 2010 issue of the Harvard Business Review, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz was asked how he ultimately defines shareholder value:
I do not believe that shareholder value is sustainable if you are not
creating value for the people who are doing the work and then for
customers. Quintessentially we are a people-based company. You
couldn’t find another customer brand that is as dependent on human
behavior as we are. We build Starbucks not through traditional marketing or
advertising but through the experience. And that experience can come to
life only if people are proud, if they respect and trust the green apron and
the people they are representing. (p. 113)
This paper will review the efforts at Starbucks to become a sustainable corporate partner with its shareholders, employees and customers. Most importantly, it will examine how Starbucks has become a leader in corporate social responsibility and sustainability worldwide. STARBUCKS

One of the first things that a visitor to the Starbucks web site will notice is that there is a link to a “Responsibility” segment of the site. This link opens the reader to the plethora of programs that Starbucks is involved in from Building Greener Stores, to Protecting Clean Water, to changing the way coffee is grown to protecting rain forests. Additionally, the site provides links to Starbucks’ corporate efforts in the areas of: Environment, Diversity, Ethical Sourcing, Wellness and, Community. In short, Starbucks’ web site includes many corporate initiatives to create and maintain a sustainable corporate environment as well as sustaining the larger ecology of its communities and the planet. The message to the casual reader is that it is a great place to work and something more than a coffee shop. To the employees, it...
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