Starbucks And Corporate Responsibility
Essay Preview: Starbucks And Corporate Responsibility
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Starbucks is at this point a household name in many countries. This small Pike Place; Seattle, WA partnership founded in 1971 has gone from a retail coffee bean and equipment store to a huge publicly traded company that has set sites that rival that of McDonalds. However, the Starbucks Grande mocha latte was a long transition in the making. The original partnership of three; English teacher Jerry Baldwin, history teacher Zev Siegel, and writer Gordon Bowker, were in the business of roasting coffee beans and selling the equipment to turn those beans into high-end coffee, not that of biscotti and mocha.
Starbucks as we know it was originally the passion of one Howard Schultz, which came on board as the head of marketing in September of 1982. The process of making the company into his true vision would required great persistence on Schultzs part, however he would eventually prevail.
After researching Starbucks I have come to have an appreciation for the company that I did not before, I could also write a small book on the details regarding the rise of that company from the 70s until present, yet what we are really here to discuss is how this company operates ethically and how that in itself can be attributed to the companys success. Howard Schultz has been awarded for his zealous pursuit of fairness in regards to the companys employees, customers, suppliers and the like. Ill start with companys mission statement and finish with a couple of the acts of good corporate citizenship that Starbucks has involved itself in.
Starbucks Mission Statement: In early 1990, the senior executive team at Starbucks went to an off-site retreat to debate the companys values and beliefs and draft a mission statement. Schultz wanted the mission statement to convey a strong sense of organizational purpose and to articulate the companys fundamental beliefs and guiding principles. The draft was submitted to all employees for review. Changes were made based on employees comments. The resulting mission statement is listed at the end of this text and also includes the environmental mission statement as well.
To make sure the company lived up to the elements of the mission statement, a “Mission Review” system was formed. Employees were urged to report their concerns to the companys Mission Review team if they thought particular management decisions were not supportive of the companys mission statement. Comment cards were given to each newly hired employee and were kept available in common areas with other employee forms. Employees had the option of signing the comment cards or not. Hundreds of cards were submitted to the Mission Review team each year. The company promised that a relevant manager would respond to all signed cards within two weeks. Howard Schultz reviewed all the comments, signed and unsigned, every month.
As the company continued to grow, resulting in a large and geographically scattered workforce, Starbucks assembled a team of people from different regions to go over employee concerns, seek solutions, and provide a report at the companys Open Forums. At these Open Forums, held quarterly in every geographic region where the company did business, senior managers met with all interested employees to present updates on Starbucks performance, answer questions, and give employees an opportunity to air grievances.
Howard Schultzs effort to “build a company with soul” included a broad-based program of corporate responsibility, orchestrated mainly through the Starbucks Foundation, set up in 1997. Starbucks was the largest corporate contributor in North America to CARE, a worldwide relief and development organization that sponsored health, education, and humanitarian aid programs in most of the Third World countries where Starbucks purchased its coffee supplies; Starbucks began making annual corporate contributions to CARE when it became profitable in 1991. In addition, CARE samplers of coffee and CARE-related mugs, backpacks, and T-shirts were offered in the companys mail-order catalog; a portion of the price on all sales was donated to CARE. In 1995 Starbucks began a program to improve the conditions of workers in coffee-growing countries, establishing a code of conduct for its growers and providing financial assistance for agricultural improvement projects. In 1997, Starbucks formed an alliance with Appropriate Technology International to help poor, small-scale coffee growers in Guatemala increase their income by improving the quality of their crops and their market access; the companys first-year grant of $75,000 went to fund a new processing facility and set up a loan program for a producer cooperative. Starbucks stores also featured CARE in promotions and had organized concerts with Kenny G and Mary Chapin Carpenter to benefit CARE.
Starbucks had an Environmental Committee that looked for ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle waste, as well as contribute to local community environmental efforts. There was also a Green Team, consisting of store managers from all regions. The company had donated almost $200,000 to literacy improvement efforts, using the profits from store sales of Oprahs Book Club selections. Starbucks stores participated regularly in local charitable projects of one kind or another, donating drinks, books, and proceeds from store-opening benefits. The companys annual report listed nearly 100 community organizations which Starbucks and its employees had supported in 1997 alone. Employees