Aside from the wonderful array of tasty coffees, teas and pastries, Starbucks believes in empowering the middle class. Starbucks constantly defies the norms of Corporate America by proving that a company can do far more for the country than just sell coffee. Ultimately, selling coffee is what brings in the money and power over competitors, but it’s what Starbucks chooses to do with the money and power that makes a difference in the world.
Before I continue, let me just mention that although I might be biased because I am a proud Starbucks Barista, I agreed with the beliefs of the Starbucks before I started working for them and I will agree with them long after I leave the company (whenever that should be).
“To inspire and nurture the human spirit- one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.” That is the mission statement Starbucks partners are encouraged to work by. Beyond just what the baristas, supervisors and managers do, Starbucks is a company that ensures that everything it does stems from the mission statement as well. There is a large focus on the human spirit and the human connection. This goes much farther than just making sure every single customer is treated respectfully, but it pushes for the idea that every person, customer or not, is treated with respect.
Starbucks remains an innovator in the world of caffeine, but also in the world of business and handling of employees. There are very few companies today that would offer to pay for it’s employees to go to college. Starbucks’ partnership with Arizona State University ensures that every Starbucks partner (employee) has the opportunity to go (or go back) to college without having to worry about the rising cost of getting a degree.
Starbucks’ initiative to hire 20,000 veterans/veteran’s spouses in the next 5 years is truly admirable, and more companies should make such goals to ensure that the men and women serving our country need not worry about the struggle to find work in civilian life. And although the company’s Race Together campaign did not find the praise it was looking for, the idea that a corporation as large as Starbucks wants to do something to remedy racial inequality in America today it noteworthy. Starbucks’ partnership with Oprah Winfrey to create Oprah Chai Tea has so far raised $5 million for Winfrey affiliated charities like The Oprah Winfrey Academy for Girls and Girls Inc. among others.
Starbucks locations can be found all around the world, not just in the United States and the company makes sure that their humanitarian efforts are felt in every nation they work with. Small villages and towns in South America, Africa and Asia that supply the coffee beans benefit because Starbucks follows the guidelines of fair trading as opposed to exploiting small farming regions and their people.
I have gripes just like every other person with a job in the world, but at the end of the day I am proud to work for a company that makes such huge strides towards social change. I know this post must have sounded like a giant commercial for Starbucks but I genuinely believe if more companies were like Starbucks, we would have a stronger economy and greater tolerance for everybody. Next time you set foot in a Starbucks café or go to a Starbucks drive-thru I hope you think about all the people benefitting from your simple purchase. To support Starbucks is to support the troops, the underprivileged in our own country and in countries abroad, the educations of thousands of students, and coffee bean farmers around the world. Think about that the next time you stop in for a beverage, it is quite a powerful thing to think about.