Starbucks business ethics Essay

BUSINESS ETHICS COURSEWORK

While discussing about the business ethics and corporate social responsibility (CSR) of any business organization, it is necessary to mention that although both the concepts might overlap each other as far as their operations are concerned, yet their goals remain the same for the organization. While ethics involve the individual actions within an organization, the CSR constitutes the organization’s performances and activities as a whole that have direct influence on its stakeholders, customers as well as on the environment.

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In the present times, organizations are found to have become more concerned about CSR and thus several measures can be found to be considered in this regard (Mullerat, 2010, p.48). The present study focuses on learning about the CSR activities of Starbucks Company and the different issues that the organization addresses. Starbucks and their CSR Efforts:

The Starbucks Company was initiated in the year 1971 in Seattle when three friends Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl, and Gordon Bowker had opened up a small coffee shop.

However there have been several changes over these years where the company experienced selling out and expansion processes before the position where it has reached now (Garza). Starbucks had always considered the fact that communities should be served at their best and hence such corporate social responsibilities were performed by the company ever since their coffee shop initiated (Being a Responsible Company, 2011). The company is committed to provide “good governance, ethical conduct and social responsibility” along with maintaining relationships with the stakeholders of the company (My Starbucks, n.d., p.10). The recent reports of CSR efforts of Starbucks Company reflect their progress in several areas of work. The company’s recent commitments also include assisting the coffee farmers, and supporting communities and environments. Other commitments also include ethical sourcing of coffee, responsibility for the environments, involvement in community development, and practices in the workplaces. As studies reveal, the company is a leader in the industry as far as ethical sourcing of coffee is concerned, where the company has accomplished sustainable coffee, higher price payments, fair trade certified coffee, and Conservation International Collaboration addressing changed in climate. The company has also proved to be a leader in environmental responsibilities trying to focus on renewable energy, and green building. Relationships with customers and neighbors are also included as major responsibilities of the company (Starbucks Makes Corporate Social Responsibility Report Public, 2008). Thus the company’s efforts on CSR can be found to be effective on maintaining the environments and communities as well as improving the image and reputation of the company. Stakeholders of Starbucks Company and Effects of the Company’s CSR on Them: The different stakeholder groups of the company that Starbucks need to consider while planning for their CSR activities include the employees of the company, the shareholders, the partner organizations, government and non government organizations, university student organizations and academic institutions, regional community groups, and the media (Reid, 2006). Strong relationships need to be built and maintained with these stakeholders thus implying the fact that the CSR activities of the company would have significant effects on these stakeholders. The Starbucks Company considers the needs and expectations of different stakeholders and accordingly communicates the CSR activities to them. For stakeholders like the NGOs, the company tries to integrate the strategies, practices and operations focusing on a holistic approach towards solving different problems. The motives are ethical, economic, and legal. For investors or shareholders, the company has always tried to connect the values of the company with its performances, the motives being economic and ethical, also attempting to create values with the communities with which the company works. For the activists, the company reflects concern on the changes in climate and the impacts of the use of coffee which is highly ethical. The company is also focused towards social commitments for the regulators considering the legal and ethical issues (Bruhn-Hansen, 2012, pp.23-25). Thus it can be obtained that the CSR activities of Starbucks are focused on the concerns for its stakeholders, trying to determine positive influences on them. Stakeholder Analysis:

Stakeholders are the members that matter significantly to any organization.
These groups of people determine how the activities of an organization might have impacts on its customers and other people in a community where the organization performs. The analysis of stakeholders enables an organization to understand the different needs and expectations of the different groups and accordingly encounter the challenges. Hence the decision making process of an organization becomes more effective with an analysis of the stakeholders. The analysis of stakeholders proves to be essential since different stakeholders have different interests in the company. Hence with resources being limited their needs are required to be fulfilled in a balanced manner (Stakeholder Power Analysis, 2005, p.2). The importance of stakeholder analysis can be understood in the determination CSR activities of an organization since the effects on the society as well as the employees may be obtained through such analyses. When an organization considers any activities, its effects are felt by the customers, the shareholders, the partner organizations, the employees, and the society and the environment as a whole. Hence in order to avoid any negative impacts on the society or the environment, as well as on the workers, the organizations need to plan their activities based on the needs and expectations of the stakeholders. This may be achieved through the stakeholder analysis technique. As in the case of Starbucks Company, the use of coffee, and the coffee shops of the company present across different regions might have different influences on different stakeholders associated with the company. Thus stakeholder analysis might prove to be an essential function for Starbucks as well when the company is involved in its CSR activities. From the above study, it can be concluded that Starbucks, like most organizations in the present times, has sincerely considered the CSR activities for its business. The company has also proved to be effective and successful in this regard with trying to focus on the individual needs and expectations of the different groups of stakeholders. The CSR activities have been initiated by the company ever since its existence and with the developing industry and global competition, the company is more concerned with doing the right things with respect to business ethics. Hence corporate social responsibility is a significant part of the marketing and business strategy of Starbucks and it can be expected that the company would continue to be a leader in its activities with the process being followed as it is in the present times.

References
Being a Responsible Company (2011), starbucks, available at: http://www.starbucks.com/responsibility (accessed on October 29, 2012) Bruhn-Hansen, S. (2012), Corporate Social Responsibility – A case study of Starbucks’ CSR communication through its corporate website, au, available at: http://pure.au.dk/portal-asb-student/files/45282206/BA_Thesis.pdf (accessed on October 31, 2012) Garza, George, The history of Starbucks, Catalogs, 2012, available at: http://www.catalogs.com/info/food/the-history-of-starbucks.html (accessed on October 29, 2012) Mullerat, R. (2010), International Corporate Social Responsibility: The Role of Corporations in the Economic Order of the 21st Century, The Netherlands: Kluwer Law International My Starbucks (n.d.), starbucks, available at: http://assets.starbucks.com/assets/4dd6216d0fd0400f8689eceba0497e04.pdf (accessed on October 30, 2012) Reid, D.L. (2006), Starbucks, socialedge, available at: http://www.socialedge.org/blogs/reid-on-marketing/topics/Starbucks (accessed on October 31, 2012)

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