The Evolution of Starbucks’ Strategic International Corporate Volunteering Programme
The evolution of Starbucks’ programme is an instructive case study
for corporations seeking to migrate their International Corporate
Volunteering (ICV) effort from general business impact to a more
strategic approach. While Starbucks’ overall ICV strategy is still
being developed, in a short time the firm has identified ways to
align its volunteering with elements of its corporate strategy.
Starbucks partners with the nonprofit intermediary Earthwatch Institute to place employee volunteers in environmental projects. After a number if years during which the company saw little benefit from the programme, the partners created a programme that works with scientists and farmers at the CoopeTarrazu cooperative in Costa Rica, a coffee farm that Starbucks buys from. In addition to being open to 10 Starbucks employees, the programme is also being offered to 20 Starbucks consumers on a lottery basis. Given the importance of corporate social responsibility to the Starbucks customer, the programme provides a strategic linkage between the company’s CSR efforts and its customer base through a highly visible and tangible opportunity. In addition, it connects farmers, baristas, and customers, allowing employees and consumers to witness the impact of the company at different levels of its supply chain.