Increasingly, companies are realizing the value of giving to charitable organizations. Not only are they doing good in doing so, these efforts also reflect positively on the values of the company itself and may ultimately help determine their own profits. Some of our favorite retailers, including Target and Starbucks, rank in the top 10 in donations as a percentage of their profits, according to an October 2o12 report from Forbes. When it comes to giving cash to charities, retailers Wal-Mart and Target are among the top contributors.
According to a study in 2010, almost 90% of surveyed adults said that they want retailers to support charitable causes. More and more, in fact, consumers now tend to support companies that give back and donate to charity — hence the popularity of charity-linked product lines.
Starbucks has been giving back to the community since before the concept gained mainstream popularity. In fact, some might argue that they set the standard for what a large company can do to demonstrate community responsibility.
Since starting out as a single Seattle location in 1971, Starbucks has been offering fine coffee brews to its customers. However, their intention was not only to serve a good cup of joe but also to allow their patrons to connect with Joe — and Mary, Susan, and others in the community. Inspired by the Italian coffee bars overseas that offer both coffee and conversation, Starbucks was intended to be a neighborhood meeting place. With the spirit of community comes a notion of responsibility to those in the local area and beyond, extending all the way to the global community.
As Starbucks has grown by leaps and bounds — they now have more than 17,000 stores in 55 countries — they have used their influence and resources to give back. Their goal to be a responsible company has led them to undertake numerous initiatives that benefit local communities, including Create Jobs for USA, which helps develop and sustain small-business jobs and empowers individuals to obtain employment; Starbucks Foundation, which provides financial support to nurture young leaders, develop sustainable access to clean water, foster education here and abroad, and much more; and Community Stores, which donates a portion of each transaction in local Starbucks stores to organizations in their surrounding area that are dedicated to revitalizing the neighborhood and improving the standard of living.
In addition to focusing on local communities, Starbucks has embraced responsibility in its approach to the global community, primarily through ethical sourcing of their goods that encourages long-term sustainability and helps farmers maintain their way of life (often referred to as fair trade practices). Starbucks is also committed to preservation of the environment. They demonstrate this stance through recycling efforts, energy efficiency and conservation, water reduction, and by building green stores. A recent development in Starbucks’ effort to reduce waste is its introduction of $1 reusable plastic cups in 2013. Consumers who reuse these cups will receive a 10-cent discount on each cup of coffee.
Starbucks does not forget to support the interests of its most local of communities — its customer base — by offering menu selections meant to encourage health and wellness, including low-calorie, low-fat, low sodium, and more natural ingredients. Starbucks also fosters the concept of inclusive diversity in store environments, hiring practices, suppliers, and in discussion over the future of the company, as demonstrated by the My Starbucks Idea website.
Not only has Starbucks created a masterful coffee empire due to its satisfying drinks, pleasant environment, and widespread accessibility, but its charitable and community efforts resonate with much of its consumer base and provide yet another reason to support this coffee connoisseur. With Starbucks Online, you can get your coffee fix from the comfort of home and, in the process, support causes that you find important.
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