Ethics at Starbucks

Ethics at Starbucks















Ethics at Starbucks


Ethics forms an integral part of modern organizations given that it provides a means of enhancing the competitiveness of an entity in the market. Ethics has become a priority for modern organizations given that it largely influences the relationship of the organization with its stakeholders, employees, customers and other partners in its market of operation. The stakeholders of Starbucks are an integral part towards ethical standards of conduct an operation for the organization. The entity strives to maintain its reputation as a top premier retailer and roaster of specialty coffee around the world.


Customers form an integral part of the organization given that they are the primary reason for the existence and success of the organization. Starbucks is driven by the need to provide customers with a sense of belonging through its stores. Empowerment of all partners and stakeholders of the business is imperative to ensure that the entity maintains and enhances its reputation as an ethical organization. Exceptional customer service is one of the main tools used by Starbucks to gain competitive advantage and assume a position as one of the best coffee retail entities in the world (Ford & Maynard, 2007).

Ensuring that each customer experience is fulfilling and pleasant through dignity and respect is essential for upholding ethical standards for the service industry. Discrimination and harassments in any form or prohibited in the organization to ensure that we gain the respect and trust of the customers in the different markets around the world. Diversity is essential to the organization given that it involves different consumers, employees, partners and stakeholders in the organization. Embracing diversity in all aspects of the business is a priority for the organization, from production to customer service to ensure achievement of long-term success, goals and objectives (Starbucks Coffee, 2011).

In addition, the commitment of the organization to the quality of products and services provided to the customers is essential towards meeting internationally accepted standards of customer service. The entity ensures that it takes the appropriate steps towards ensuring the utmost levels of health and safety of the customers through quality and certified raw materials for its products. The management ensures that procedures towards handling, storage, preparation and delivery of service to the customers meet set standard procedures that guarantee the safety of the customers, employees and stakeholders. In addition, the safety of the customers is enhanced through sanitary, clean and safe conditions in all the facilities of the organizations through continued exploration of avenues to enhance the Starbucks standards of quality and practices (Starbucks Coffee, 2011).


Employee are an essential asset to the organization given that the shape how the society views Starbucks. The entity ensures that it provides a workplace that provides ethical and morally upright conduct. Conduct and operations in the work environment are consistent wit the Starbucks Global Human Rights Standard, whereby the entity promotes equality towards opportunities in the workplace and more so in the hiring processes. Hiring and recruitments are made all on job-related criteria to ensure that the entity maintains standards of operation in relation to international labor laws. Additionally the entity ensures that it does not use forced labor in line with expected international labor laws (Starbucks Coffee, 2011).

Partners who hire labor under the age o 18 are mandated to comply with legal limitations on the respective minimum hiring age as well as the starbucks established age requirements for hiring labor. Adherence to labor laws is paramount for the organization and its partners given that it is aimed at ensuring that legal aspects as minimum wages, age of laborers, health, and safety of the business does not hamper on the health, safety, physical and mental development of the partners and employees. The mission at starbucks is inclusive of the commitment of the entity to ensure that its employees are treated with dignity and respect. This provides a positive point for interaction between the entity and the respective communities within which it does its business (Starbucks Coffee, 2011).

Elimination of discriminatory practices is paramount towards ensuring diversity and equality in the organization. The inherent dignity for all persons is respected in the organization to enhance the productivity of all employees as part of the organization. The Starbucks Global Human Rights Policy gives emphasis to the commitment of the entity towards human rights as an essential component for the engagement of the entity with its stakeholders, employees and general business operations. The policy gives preference for the basic rights of children towards their education over work; it prohibits any form of forced labor and supports all the rights of the employees towards engagement in form of free association (Starbucks Coffee, 2011).

The policy is driven to provide guidance and direction to all the employees in ensuring that practices and business operations are in support of the principles of human rights in a manner that complies with the core values of starbucks. In addition, the policy also ensures that the employees involved in the business operations of the company understand the responsibility of upholding basic human rights. The goal of the organization is to provide the employees with an appropriate environment that fosters direct and open communication between the management executives and the subordinate employees to enhance business activities in the organization. Such ensures that there is respect for diversity and that the employees are able to solve their respective differences in an open and dignified manner (Starbucks Coffee, 2011).

Additionally this prevents the occurrence of harassment, discrimination and bullying that may forms such as:

  1. Unwelcome gestures, remarks, and unwanted physical contact
  2. Circulation or display of any offensive, sexually explicit or derogative content that may include the internet and emails
  • Any derogatory and offensive comments or jokes towards another individual in the organization
  1. An form of physical or verbal abuse and threats to another party

Bottom Line

Competitive advantage, profitability and large market share are among some of the strategic goals and objectives that are achieved by the organization through ethnical standards and business practices. Modern organizations have become aware of the importance of developing internationally accepted ethical and moral standards of operation as a means of reaching out t their respective target consumers. Exceptional customer service provides the entity with an avenue of achieving competitive advantage as compared to other entities in the market that may be providing consumers with substandard services (Hafrey, 2005).

Entities that have a high regard for ethical and moral practices are likely to avoid possibilities of negative publicity and litigation. Negative publicity and litigation usually drain the resources in the form of funds that may be used to defend the entity in court and media conferences to resolve unethical and immoral occurrences in an organization. The use of appropriate labor, ensuring safety of the employees as well as their health ensures that the entity is able to achieve a high rating among consumers (Starbucks Coffee, 2011). This develops the image of the entity in the public domain as an entity that safeguards, safety and the welfare of its employees. Profitability is enhanced for organizations that maintain high levels of ethical and moral standards in terms of engagement with customers, stakeholders, employees and other parties.

Review of Policies

The entity was recently involved in a tussle with the Ethiopian government over the rights to ownership of a trademark over a product named Yirgacheffe, Harrar and Sidamo. According the claims brought forth by the Ethiopian government, the entity had violated basic rights to ownership of the product name and combination. The entity was largely criticized for its perceived oppression of one of the poorest countries in the world by using one of its primary products, the sidamo range of coffee types (Starbucks Coffee, 2011).

This presents questions over the ability of the entity to use ethical procedures in acquisition of product names that are later sold to consumers for significant amounts of money. The entity was unable to maintain a positive public relations strategy resulting in a negative perception of the entity in the international market. The entity was viewed as a capitalistic entity largely focused on profit making. This is achieved at the expense of poor farmers who grow the coffee in Ethiopia only to reap a fraction of the profits accrued by starbucks from sale of their products to consumers around the world (Starbucks Coffee, 2011).

On the other hand, the entity has maintained a positive image among the consumers through an active corporate social responsibility strategy. This ensures that it maintains a positive relationship with consumers in its respective markets around the world by providing assistance that takes the form of education, social amenities and humanitarian assistance to the public  (Hafrey, 2005). In addition, using ethical and moral standards and practices the entity is able to achieve its bottom line for profitability growth, customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction.























Ford, H. M., & Maynard, B. J. (2007). “Starbucks and Ethiopia Settle “Brewing” Dispute.” The Licensing Journal, 27(8): 29-30.

Hafrey, L. (2005). The story of success: Five steps to mastering ethics in business. New York: Other Press.

Starbucks Coffee. (2011). Business Ethics and Compliance: standards of business conduct. New York: Starbucks Coffee Company.


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