The purpose of this assignment is to analyze the sustainability strategy and Triple Bottom line of Starbucks and Walmart. As a consumer it was very interesting to learn more about two major corporations which I have invested in over the years. By analyzing their mission, values and core competencies I was able to assess which corporation has a more holistic approach toward implementing the Triple Bottom line. At the end it came down to ethics and based on this premise I am proud to say I am a loyal Starbucks consumer.
The following analysis will compare Wal-Mart’s and Starbucks business ethics in regards to people, profit and planet. It will support my argument of Starbucks becoming a lovemark not by slashing prices but by focusing on the consumer experience. As Kevin Roberts states in his book The future beyond brands - lovemarks “If you were to say, name a brand that has managed to get big fast, make quality products, treat its people very well and respectfully, and understand the differences in economies and tastes in other parts of the world while continuing to grow, it will be Starbucks” (2004, p.120).
After researching Wal-Mart and Starbucks mission, values and CSR strategy, I can identify some disparities. Let’s start off our discussion on the Triple bottom line by focusing on profit. Although both companies are focused on profitability, Starbucks strives to maintain a balance on profit and social conscience. On the other hand Wal-Mart’s mission is to provide “everyday low prices” but at what cost? In order to provide the lowest prices to its customers it resources to outsource production primarily from China making it one of U.S’s biggest importers. As you may know this makes them a target and “…prone to be criticized by organized labor, which is indeed one of their most vocal critics” (Heal, 2008, p.115). The biggest issue being that Wal-Mart does a poor job making sure that the country it is outsourcing from does not abuse labor during the production of its goods.
Roberts, Kevin. (2004). The future beyond brands-lovemarks. New York, NY: Powerhous Cultural Entertainment , Inc. Hymowitz, Carol. (December, 2005). Big companies become big targets unless they guard images carefully. The Wall Street journal Heal, Geoffrey. (April, 2008). When principles pay: Corporate social responsibility and the bottom line. Columbia Business school publishing