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Starbucks Corporation’s Organizational Social Responsibility

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Starbucks Corporation’s Organizational Social Responsibility

Business decisions and actions have significant impacts on society and can cause collateral damage if they remain unchecked. Many organizations focus on financial concerns, exercising an individualistic ethic of selfish gain (Kang & Namkung, 2018, p. 1140). A growing body of literature purports that business effectiveness calls for a more balanced view of economic and relational influence, which is achieved through establishing a code of ethics and social responsibility. As such, business leaders need to understand the impact of their decisions and behavior on moral and environmental aspects of life (Kang & Namkung, 2018, p. 1140). The proponents of the stakeholder theory suggest that the effectiveness of a business is measured by the degree to which it appreciates and effectively manages its contribution to society. Different organizations vary broadly in how their operations influence the social sphere of life. Irrespective of whether or not Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives capitalize on financial returns, the proponents of stakeholder theories claim that businesses are more likely to achieve long-term effectiveness if they thoughtfully address salient concerns in society.

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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Today’s ever-shifting business environments and consumer behavior have forced corporations to fulfill their social obligations in areas where they operate. Some strategies and policies aim at motivating companies to recognize the impacts of their activities on society (Li et al., 2019, p. 174). CSR is primarily concerned with promoting sustainable development by creating social, economic, and environmental plans that benefit the affected community. This business initiative assumes many forms, and its implementation varies from one organization to the other. For instance, some companies apply CSR based on human rights and environmental effects, while others focus on addressing corporate governance, safe working conditions, and health. Regardless of its purpose, the central role of CSR is to improve and promote corporate sustainability. Starbucks Corporation is one of the famous public companies whose emphasis on CSR benefits its stakeholders and adds value in the promotion of its products. The firm has developed robust CSR strategies, and its exploration can inspire other establishments to integrate suitable policies to manage the influence of their decisions and actions on stakeholders.

Starbucks Corporation: Company Background

Starbucks Corporation is an American multinational based in Seattle, Washington. It is renowned for its vast chain of coffeehouses and roastery reserves. The company started as a single store in 1971 to offer the world fresh and premium roasted whole coffee beans. Purchased by its former chairman and CEO, Howard Schultz, and local investors in 1981, the narrow storefront grew exponentially to cherish people with the romance of coffee tradition. Since its inauguration, the company set out a norm to deliver first-rate coffee that inspired a stronger connection with the consumers. Today, Starbucks purchases, prepares, and distributes premium whole coffee beans globally.

Aligning CSR Aspect with Starbucks Mission

Defining purpose and activating supporting values positions a company for long term success, especially in today’s dynamic business climate. Starbucks’ mission is “to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time” (Starbucks n.d., par. 7). The company’s CSR approach aims at promoting its connection with consumers. This initiative is guided by the perspective that customers have a high affinity for products that make them feel good (Campbell & Helleloid, 2016, p. 39). In Starbucks, it is believed that enthusiasts are captivated by the quality of the coffee they drink. The mission statement aligns with its CSR strategy since it provides an engaging work environment that inspires respect and dignity. Workers in Starbucks are regarded as partners rather than mere employees. The company promises fair treatment and a safe workplace, a deep-rooted guiding principle that inspires commitment and loyalty. This tendency brings about a sense of inspiration that nurtures a positive attitude towards tasks.

How Starbucks has demonstrated CSR as stated in its Strategy

The organization has demonstrated social responsibility in line with its strategy. The CSR initiative has been achieved through Starbucks’ certification system that portrays the approach as ethical. To promote this plan, the firm developed the Coffee and Farmer Equity Practices (CAFE) program to guide growing and harvesting of coffee in a socially and environmentally responsible way (Ecolabel Index, n.d., par. 1). Starbucks is continuously developing and implementing better initiatives aimed at maintaining a sustainable coffee business. Furthermore, the company conducts business in ways that attract and retain its partners. According to Campbell and Helleloid (2016), Starbucks employees are actively engaged in implementing its CSR initiatives, an activity that increases their job satisfaction. As such, most workers have achieved significant personal growth, boosting production and delivery of nourishing coffee products. The CAFE program has also promoted customer loyalty, which is believed to be the driving force behind Starbucks’ exponential development and prowess in the industry.

Improving on the Current Social Responsibility Related Actions of the Organization

Starbucks has invested heavily in CSR to maintain ethical sourcing practices. The firm has also gone to a further extent to establish its certification system. However, it is essential to mention that Starbucks’ CAFE program does not meet the required Fair-Trade Standards. For instance, in 2006, the company began purchasing Arabica coffee from Ethiopia by faking that it had been certified by the highest standards. However, this move resulted in the devastation of forests, endangering wildlife habitats. As a result, Starbucks needs to seek an external certification to avoid bias from its internal accreditation system (Kang & Namkung, 2018, p. 1140). This move will increase confidence among customers and their sources.


Campbell, K., & Helleloid, D. (2016). Starbucks: Social responsibility and tax avoidance. Journal of Accounting Education, 37, 38-60.

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Ecolabel Index. (n.d.). CAFE practices. Eco-Label Index. Web.

Kang, J. W., & Namkung, Y. (2018). The effect of corporate social responsibility on brand equity and the moderating role of ethical consumerism: The case of Starbucks. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, 42(7), 1130-1151.

Li, Y., Liu, B., & Huan, T. C. T. (2019). Renewal or not? Consumer response to a renewed corporate social responsibility strategy: Evidence from the coffee shop industry. Tourism Management, 72, 170-179.

Starbucks. (n.d.). Company information. Starbucks. Web.

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