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Corporate Social Responsibility: Starbucks

Updated on October 24, 2019
Natalia Welton-Torres profile image

I am a recent graduate from Kent State University with a B.S. degree in Aeronautics and concentration in Aviation Management.

Corporate Social Responsibility (also known as CSR) is an important part of any company. CSR is defined as being “the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large” (CSR). In order to keep a company’s personnel and community happy, keeping a good Corporate Social Responsibility is vital and important to its success.

In pages 29 through 31 of the Fundamentals of Human Resource Management textbook, it gives a few examples of different companies that have addressed the changing labor forces by introducing effective Corporate Social Responsibility techniques. For example, the company Borders Group has addressed the growing number of older workers by adapting practices that helps retain older employees. Programs such as “the passport program” allows its older employees to move to warmer climates during the colder months. This is a common practice with older people and is a great way to attract and retain the growing number of older workers. They have also added medical and dental benefits to their part-time workers which also includes older workers. Another example is the company Safeway. They have used CSR techniques to their advantage by taking initiatives to assist women in their stores step into more managing roles. By supporting the diversity in their stores, Safeway is able to attract, develop, and maintain its best employees.

While doing some research regarding Corporate Social Responsibility, I found an interesting article about a company that many Americans will admit to living off of on a daily basis; Starbucks. In this article, Corporate Social Responsibility: How Starbucks is Making an Impact, the author Kate Vandeveld highlights some of the things the company is doing in order to attract, retain and develop their employees and community.

In the article, Vandeveld discusses how Starbucks launched a “Transformational Agenda” during a bleak time in their past. When the economy was slow, and the company was doing poorly, Starbucks decided to focus on committing to initiatives aimed on people, the environment and the community, which eventually helped them escape the slump. The company’s social responsibility is based on three pillars: community, ethical sourcing and the environment. In order to have a positive outcome in the communities Starbucks works in, they have developed community stores that partner with nonprofits, veterans, diversity and inclusion programs, training opportunities for youth, and even created the Starbucks Foundation that is committed to “strengthening communities” by funding literacy programs and offering social development grants.

The second pillar focuses on ethical sourcing. This is Starbucks way of assuring their coffee, tea, cocoa and other manufactured goods are responsibly and ethically produced and purchased. Ethical sourcing is a topic that consumers have been very vocal about in recent years, so by focusing on it, Starbucks is accommodating its personnel and community; its personnel can have a good conscious of the product they are selling and promoting, and the community can also feel good about the product they are buying. When both groups are satisfied, the company has a better opportunity of achieving success.

The third pillar of Starbucks’ “Transformational Agenda” involves the wellbeing of the environment. With today’s heightened focus on our impact on the environment, Starbucks has made it their mission to reducing their environmental impact by recycling, conserving water and energy, and perusing strategies that address climate change. Once again, by focusing on CSR techniques that are oriented towards improving the world, Starbucks is able to gain support from consumers, employees and the community.

These changes that Starbucks has implemented by investing in its people and communities has positively impacted their business. By basing the company’s values on CSR strategies, they have gained support from both consumers and employees and have ultimately been able to turn their company around from a low time. The article also mentions that the company releases a Global Responsibility Report every year. By doing this, Starbucks is able to show the public that they are committed to social responsibility by evaluating these programs and making changes as needed.

In my opinion, Starbucks seems like a company that is leading the way for Corporate Social Responsibility. The issues they are working on are those that are significant in today’s world. I personally remember Starbucks coming back from this dry spell. Once they start focusing on their CSR methods, things started to change, such as their public image. Consumers feel good about a company that help with their communities, and by letting the public know about their community improvement efforts, Starbucks is able to increase their chances of becoming favorable in the public eye.

I also believe that improving a company’s CSR strategy can boost employee engagement. Employees would be more willing to work hard and work productively when they can stand behind a company’s beliefs and values. This is also a way a company is able to attract and keep hardworking and motivated workers.

By committing to behave ethically and continue economic development while also improving the quality of life of the workforce and their community, a company is able to increase its chances of success. When a company focuses on Corporate Social Responsibility values, it is able to shed a positive light on the way people view the values of big corporations. This will in turn help the company achieve their goals by maintaining their community-oriented values and also helping their workforce while succeeding.


References

CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). (n.d.). Retrieved October 2, 2018, from

http://www.whatishumanresource.com/corporate-social-responsibility

Noe, R. A., Hollenbeck, J. R., Gerhart, B. A., & Wright, P. M. (2016). Fundamentals of Human

Resource Management. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

Vandeveld, K. (2015, September 24). Corporate Social Responsibility: How Starbucks is Making

an Impact. Retrieved October 2, 2018, from http://www.whywhisper.co/the-

blog/2015/9/24/corporate-social-responsibility-how-starbucks-is-making-an-impact

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