Ethics, Social Responsibility, and Sustainability: The Case of Starbucks

Topic: Business Ethics
Words: 308 Pages: 1

Ethical behavior, social responsibility, and environmental sustainment are now some of the key principles necessary for any business to succeed. The awareness of customers around the world about ethical consumerism keeps rising. Companies are expected to behave not solely as profit-oriented businesses but as socially responsible civic actors. Caring about the environment and taking corporate social responsibility are costly but necessary measures for long-term economic well-being. Starbucks puts these values at the center of its strategic management, which allows them to have a competitive advantage.

Starbucks is a multi-chain coffee-shop company with many stores worldwide and consequently deals with many aspects of the communities that it operates with, including animal welfare, human health, conditions of labor, and fair trade (Kang, 2017). Within their environmental strategy, they plan to donate up to 100 million coffee trees to help farmers and their communities. Additionally, according to information provided on Starbuck’s official website, they aim to reduce their landfill waste by half by 2030. The company’s corporate social responsibility strategy aims at promoting human flourishing as, in addition to following the principle of diversity and inclusiveness, they are claiming to hire up to ten thousand refugees and veterans around the board within the next five years (Kang, 2017). In addition to all of the above, Starbucks’ competitive advantage is maintained by implementing innovations into their strategic management with the use of Tryer Center, a lab that opened in 2018. Since then, the lab has developed over 130 innovative projects to create and test new products, processes, and designs for Starbucks.

Overall, Starbucks is often referred to as one of the advocates of ethics, sustainability, and corporate social responsibility within the restaurant business world. This is one of the major factors for its global success among customers, as it strives to publicize its caring attitude toward its clients, workers, and the environment.


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.

Starbucks. (2021). Starbucks. Stories and News. Starbucks. Web.

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