Helloooo! Last month I took a look at the social and environmental impact of Starbucks and included a poll for you to chime in.
Thank you for taking the time to vote; here are the results so far:
Average rating for Starbucks social and environmental impact: 2.3 Green Stars.
(Even if you were to ignore the 1-star votes, the average rating would still be a pretty poor 3 out of 5).
Next step: ethical consumerism activism.
So, what I generally do after I’ve looked into the impact of a product or service is to write a review.
According to Yelp, over 160,000 people see my reviews each year. So reviews are actually a pretty good medium for delivering a message. The reviews will influence other readers and some of them may relay the message in their own review. And so it goes…
As well as delivering a very visible message to other consumers you will often get the company’s direct attention by affecting their all-important online ratings.
Imagine, dear readers, how many people would be reached if even just a few of you wrote a green-star review of your local Starbucks. Imagine!
So what would the review look like? First a few tips:
Pointers for writing an ethical review.
- Be respectful. Particularly when reviewing a small business.
- Be balanced. Readers (and business-owners) will be much less receptive if you exaggerate or are too one-sided.
- Stick to facts. Quote numbers and sources whenever possible.
- Be as concise as possible. Also, bullet-points are useful to increase readability.
Green Stars review of Starbucks.
I’m going to write an example review. You’re welcome to use it (if you agree with it) or modify it according to what’s most important to you. Refer to last month’s post on Starbucks if you need some food for thought.
The general format that I’m using is:
- Headline that includes your green-star rating.
- First paragraph that covers quality, value, and experience (this is the basis for your traditional rating).
- Second paragraph (or list of points) that covers the reasoning behind your green star rating.
For this review, I think I’ll go with a list of pros and cons, since Starbucks (to me) has both positives and negatives.
Friendly staff and great outdoor seating area (2/5 green stars)
I like this branch of Starbucks mainly because of the outdoor seating area that overlooks the canal. Staff members are always friendly and there’s usually plenty of free seating. <In the case of Starbucks I don’t think you need to write a lot in the first paragraph.>
I’m also giving Starbucks 2/5 “green stars” for social and environmental impact, based on the following pros and cons:
- Decent benefits for staff. In the US, Starbucks will pay for a bachelor’s degree for eligible employees.
- Starbucks is committed to hiring 100,000 Opportunity Youth by 2020.
- Starbucks announced a plan to hire 10,000 refugees in response to Trump’s proposed Muslim travel ban.
- Diversity and inclusion. For example, Starbucks covers health insurance for partners in same-sex relationships.
- Starbucks haven’t published prices paid for green coffee since 2011, and back then they weren’t significantly higher than the market average. Indications are that their CAFE purchasing standards are inferior to fair-trade or good direct-trade practices.
- Animal welfare: The Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare gave Starbucks their second-lowest ranking.
- Food waste: All of the food in their pastry case is for display only – it will be thrown away after a few days.
- Plastic waste 1: Most of their food items are individually-wrapped in plastic (they are unwrapped and then served in a paper bag).
- Plastic waste 2: Starbucks have made very little headway in increasing personal or ceramic cup use. Disposable cups and lids are not compostable and are rarely recycled or recyclable.
- Plant-based diets: There are almost no vegan options on the food menu (one bagel and their avocado spread).
Please write a review of your local Starbucks if you get a chance. Again, modify this template as needed and give whatever green-star rating you think is appropriate.
Also, note that a few of the points are region-specific (e.g., whether the food in pastry cases is for consumption or display – it appears to be the former in Ireland and the latter in the US).
Ciao for now 🙂