Corporate Social Responsibility is a management concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and interactions with their stakeholders. CSR is generally understood as being the way through which a company achieves a balance of economic, environmental and social imperatives, while at the same time addressing the expectations of shareholders and stakeholders. In this sense it is important to draw a distinction between CSR, which can be a strategic business management concept, and charity, sponsorships or philanthropy. Even though the latter can also make a valuable contribution to poverty reduction, will directly enhance the reputation of a company and strengthen its brand, the concept of CSR clearly goes beyond that.
The article is about the sustainability work of Starbucks. The company wants to replace plastic straws by recyclable straw less lids. As a result of that, more than one billion plastic straws would disappear per year. Americans use an estimated 500 million single-use straws daily which is why other companies (e. g. McDonald’s) are trying to operate more responsibly and sustainably as well by using some alternatives for plastic. Furthermore, Starbucks announced to offer straws made out of paper or compostable plastic, they strive to offer their eco-friendly products first in America and Canada. Later on, they are going to adapt the changes in Europe.
Fueling the movement is increased consumer environmentalism and concern about the many straws that end up polluting oceans and waterways. It becomes clear that in the face of this acute problem of pollution of the oceans by plastic, the Starbucks-initiative is a sustainable and ethical act. Therefore, Starbucks has a vision, they want to use less plastic and more sustainable products which can be recycled as well. They want to eliminate plastic straws globally by 2020. This isn’t the first time Starbucks has considered the environmental effect its customers’ waste has. In March, for example, the company announced a $10 million challenge to design a disposable coffee cup that is compostable. Moreover, it should be mentioned that Starbucks mission is to “find ways to minimize their environmental footprint, tackle climate change and inspire others to do the same”.
Starbucks need to identify ethical and environmental resources and capabilities, to classify their strengths and weaknesses in these areas. It is important that Starbucks follows the social trends, developments in technology, behavior of competition, demographic changes and to assess the stakeholder’s expectation to keep up their sustainable strategy.
Furthermore, Starbucks follows Corporate Social Responsibility and tries to balance among their economic, social and environmental targets. But still, addressing social problems can become a financial opportunity, for example the pollution abatement. Though, in the end we should question if they are acting in that way because of their mission, vision and values or whether is just means for the purpose to become an even better reputation and rise their profitability through marketing their responsible behavior.
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