Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ethical Obligations by David Davis

Ethical Obligation
While the entire global community speaks of being more ecologicallyresponsible and proactive, it is obvious not everyone is participating. Many countries, cities, and neighborhoods are fully engaged but many are not. This holds true with businesses as well. Some businesses are fully engaged in becoming greener. They pursue every avenue to help reduce their environmental footprint while others appear indifferent.
One company forging ahead to make a positive environmental impact is Starbucks, the company many environmentalists love to hate. Is it simply a marketing ploy? It may be but even if it is, the entire global community is benefiting. Proudly posted on their website is their environmental philosophy. It opens with, “It’s our commitment to do things that are good to each other and the planet.” (Starbucks, 2009) What are they doing to fulfill their corporate ethical obligation to protect the environment, our environment?Starbucks outlines their plan to be good stewards of the environment with a three-point approach as outlined on their website:1. Ethical Sourcing: We’re committed to buying and serving the highest quality, responsibly grown, ethically traded coffee to help create a better future for farmers and a more stable climate. • Goal: Purchase 100% of their coffee from farmers who can prove their coffee is responsibly grown and ethically traded 2. Environmental Stewardship: We’re committed to minimizing our environmental footprint, tackling climate change, and inspiring others to do the same. • Goal: 100% recyclable cups • Goal: Recycling stations in every Starbucks store 3. Community Involvement: We’re committed to being a good neighbor and to bringing together our partners, our customers, and their communities. • Goal: Inspire action within the communities around their stores • Goal: Education community members on effective recycling practices Starbucks freely admits that the goals they have for where and howthey buy their coffee and other supplies are lofty. They do however expect to reach all of their environmental goals 100 percent by 2015. The proactive stance Starbucks has taken has caused some environmental activists who once reviled the company to become strong supporters. Many who once complained of the vast over usage of natural resources now point to their “green stores” as examples of how all businesses should function.Starbucks is joined by many other large companies in their attempt to affect the environment less. McDonalds has greatly reduced the amount of solid waste it produces and now uses biodegradable wrappers. They are also working to develop a more environmentally friendly cup. Also joining the effort are Burger King, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Procter and Gamble and many others.The effort to clean up business practices is expensive and can be very tedious for a large corporation. The commitment to take on these challenges is a trend that we should all expect from the giant resource users. We expect that our neighbors to be environmentally responsible we should expect no less from the businesses within our communities. Is this movement to be more ethically responsible for the environment a clever marketing plan? Maybe but Mother Earth, this generation, and those to come are the benefactors of this effort.
Brennan, S. & Withgott, J. (2008). Environment: The Science Behind the Stories (3rd ed.). New York. Pearson Benjamin Cummings. ISBN: 13: 978- 0-8053-9573-0 Brennan, S. & Withgott, J. (2008).
Enviornment: The science Behind the Stories (3rd ed.).Retrieved April 18, 2009 from
McDonalds (2009) Environment Retrieved April 28, 2009 From
Starbucks (2009) Shared Planet: You and Starbucks. Its Bigger than Coffee. Retrieved April 28,

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