All Posts Tagged With: "fair trade coffee"

10 Ways to Love a Starbucks Cup

photo by: JulieI’m not a regular at Starbucks, but will confess a certain weakness for the occasional Grande Decaf Soy Latte. (Although I always feel a bit silly ordering.) As I sipped one last week, the writing on the side of the cup intrigued me. I love this for so many reasons. Let me elaborate here:

1. The bold message, “YOU,” immediately creates a bond between me, the customer, and what could easily be perceived as a giant, faceless corporation.

2. It has some very specific information for me: that Starbucks bought 228 million pounds of responsible grown, ethically traded coffee last year. That sounds like a LOT of coffee, doesn’t it?

3. They didn’t stop with the big, impressive number. They put it in context: that’s 65% of all the coffee they bought. Measuring like this probably means they have a real handle on their other environmental impacts as well.

4. And, they tell me they are working with farmers to make it 100%. NOW, I’m really impressed. Both with their audacious goal and with the fact that they see it as a cooperative venture. Without the farmers they’d have a hard time making coffee.

5. They also say they are “using our size for good.” Feel the power in that statement? Business as a tool for positive change – has a wonderful ring to it, doesn’t it? Before you start thinking, “Yes, but it’s Starbucks, for goodness sakes!” remember that ANY business – yours included – is potentially a powerful transformational tool.

6. The message, “you make it all possible,” reinforces what must be an authentic core value of their business. Without the customer, it’s all pretty irrelevant, isn’t it? Take a moment and think of all the clients and customers you’ve interacted with over the past five years. Didn’t they literally make it possible for you to live your purpose through your business?

7. They include a logo that says, “partnering with Conservation International,” which should not be overlooked here. It’s still fairly unusual for a large, for-profit business to partner with an NGO, but that’s where this is all headed. Cooperation is key. Remember, “When spiders unite, they can tie up a lion.”

8. The idea of using a utilitarian part of one’s business – the humble coffee cup – to convey such important information is also brilliant and not to be overlooked. What are you overlooking in your business that could instead be bringing an inspiring core message to your customers?

9. They close with a way to go even deeper. “Find out what else you can do at,” which allows the curious customer to learn more about their environmental initiatives. On that site (yes, I went there!), you can download their “Global Responsibility Report,” see their 2015 goals and learn about everything from store designs to community involvement.

10. Does Starbucks know their market? They seem to be doing an admirable job keeping up with their customers’ values, and reminding us of it whenever we buy from them. Truth be told, as much as I love this cup, I’m still far more likely to go to my locally-owned coffee shop (that also serves fair-trade coffee). For those times when I fall off the wagon and succumb to Starbucks, at least I know I’m “making it all possible” for them to use their business as a tool for good in the world.


photo by: Alyssa

Spoons is a unique coffee/sandwich shop located in the heart of Fells Point, serving deliciously roasted organic coffee. Now although you might think that while being featured on the GoforChange site this pleasurable little place would be serving a full course organic menu, they don’t. What they do, do is something all the more amazing. While saving your wallet a few dollars Spoons composts 95% of their waste, is 100% wind power operated, uses biodegradable packaging, no Styrofoam ever! They also use only locally grown and sourced items, have replaced their lights to compact fluorescent and their roof is coated with recycled aluminum that will reflect 80% of the sun’s rays. They even print their menus on recycled paper. Oh and the food’s pretty good too!