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This is actually a microsite Starbucks created that promotes the company as an environmental steward, socially-responsible, and ethical sourcer. Starbucks partners with nonprofits to give them credibility and asks visitors to take action by volunteering, connecting with the nonprofits, or taking the mug challenge to save waste. It's obvious Starbucks is continuing to improve their corporate reputation as a responsible chain. The site, however, talks so much about the company's commitment that it comes across as a little inauthentic and preachy. The full site is here: http://www.starbucks.com/sharedplanet/index.aspx


While I do respect the pioneering way that Starbucks is using online and social media tools, they're actual CSR performance has left a lot to be desired. Their commitments are somewhat vague, and the opening video doesn't engage in an intelligent or active way. The announcement that they will double their purchasing of Fair Trade Certified coffee in 2009 is welcomed, especially since the company didn't take any action in 2008 (20 million pounds reported in 2007). What they don't discuss is how their Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) standards compare to those of Fair Trade. C.A.F.E. accounts for nearly 6 times as many pounds as Starbucks will purchase through Fair Trade.