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Starbucks is one of the most well-known companies on earth. Seared into society as a coffee and pop culture company, Starbucks has found global success with loyal customers worldwide! They have a green brand image, one that promotes health and eco-friendliness. Do they practice what they preach though? We’ve compiled this quick case study to see if Starbucks is a company that not only promotes but practices sustainability. In recent times there’s been an increased demand business transparency, especially in regards to supply chains, traceability and corporate responsibility. This shift has resulted in new corporate strategies, codes of conduct, and certification programs in order to appease the public, as well as do good in general.
Supply chains are critical to the day-to-day, as well as overall, operations of all global companies. Unfortunately, a lot of new standards regarding sustainability are difficult to implement in supply chains, especially when operations are in developing countries. These issues make the various partnerships between multinational and smaller companies in developing countries critical. Starbucks has a plethora of these types of agreements and business deals in various places around the world.
A business model that only buys raw coffee beans, in order to have complete control over roasting and distribution later on, has allowed Starbucks to buy coffee beans from both large and small suppliers. In essence, Starbucks controls most of the upstream activity of its coffee bean supply chain. Starbucks has an “ethical source code” that has regulated activity in their coffee bean supply chain since 1995.
The development of the first coffee sector project by the nonprofit Conservation International aimed to promote a set of improved management practices for conserving biodiversity in nature reserves where coffee was harvested. These changes also helped the farmers cultivating these fields by trying to redirect social and economic benefits to them. This project initiated the partnership between the nonprofit Conservation International and Starbucks. This connection has become a key part in the network that provides a stable and steady supply of high-quality coffee, all while promoting the conservation of ecological biodiversity and local communities.
Starbucks has since become the first company to adhere to the Conservation Principles as a result of Conservation International’s efforts to engage local businesses and organizations in formulating specific environmental standards and guidelines to guide coffee activity in the region. Starbucks has adopted similar principles as inspiration for its code of conduct in regards to purchasing coffee.
After a deep dive into the ins and outs of Starbucks, we’re happy to see that Starbucks really does make an effort when it comes to sustainability. Great Coffee, preserved wildlife, and happy farmers all go a long way towards making your morning coffee that much sweeter 🙂
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