Sunday, February 27, 2011

Starbucks: More Than My Daily Fix

Two years ago, I took a class offered at TCU and taught by Dr. Keith Whitworth on sustainability and green living. Over the course of the semester, I learned more about myself, the environment, and the ways we have a huge (and mostly negative) impact on our planet through the way we conduct our everyday routine. Our spending and shopping habits as Americans create waste at an astonishing rate: 99% of the things we purchased 6 months before are no longer in our possession, mostly from a perceived obsolescence created for us by the media.
At the time I was working in retail, a business that literally drives its sales by encouraging people to buy more of things they really don’t want— things that advertisers, the fashion industries, and businesses make us think we want— and relentlessly encouraging people to open credit cards, the likes of which have caused our economy to end up in the shambles it is in presently. The fact that I was supposed to be a cheerleader for the people who change trends and force our gently used clothes into a landfill with the introduction of seasonal fashion lines began to bother me. So I decided to do something.
I spoke to a few people about the loathing I had for my job, and my desire to work for a company that practiced active corporate social responsibility. This is what led me to Starbucks.
The Starbucks Mission Statement reads:
Our mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.
Automatically, I felt this was something I could get behind. Still, living in an age where people are questioning the big business more and more about what really goes on, I was skeptical. Then I read into their corporate social responsibility efforts.
Although Starbucks is a part of the corporate sphere, they are trying as best as they know how to give back to the communities in which they do their business, both domestically and internationally. They make sure their beans are ethically sourced by participating in programs like the Starbucks™ Shared Planet™ partnership with Conservation International program. They ask partners (Starbucks employees) to contribute to their communities, and have set a goal to increase community involvement to over 1 million hours by 2015. They combine a passion for touching people on a personal and global level.
And so I came to work at Starbucks in October of 2009. After having almost been there a full year, I can say that it has truly been an enriching experience. My partners are uplifting, they are like family. The people that walk into our cafe and make it into their third place— the place they go when not at work or home— have become some of my greatest friends. My experience has brought me to this insight I hope to take with me after graduating from TCU: If you can find a company that believes in the things you believe in, then that’s just perfect.

Below is a video about just one of the many contributions Starbucks makes to the global community and is a big reason I decided to work for a company that shares my beliefs.

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