“The Big Picture” of Starbucks Sustainability, Essay Example

With the development of the society, environmental damage has become a serious problem all over the world.  One of the most important problems is that more and more trees are destroyed in order to be transformed into a multitude of uses from human beings, which consequently holds a negative effect in the number of forests decreasing at a drastic rate.  In order to protect forests and the environment as a whole, Starbucks has taken steps to create a plan to implement a long-term sustainability campaign which is called “Starbucks Big Pictures” to encourage customers to follow their lead and begin taking a proactive part in protecting the environment.

Deforestation has become a very serious problem in present day.  Thus far, more than 730 million hectare forests have disappeared throughout the world.  Over 83 countries come to face the negative consequences that deforestation plagues the environment.  According to the current research, the most important cause for deforestation is that people are taking the resources provided by trees and converting them to be used for other purposes (GreenFacts.com).  The same research has shown that over the last few decades, the overall damaging effects of deforestation have been very large.  Many of these issues caused by deforestation are indirect consequences that people do not consider prior to engaging in the acts of cutting down the trees and converting the resources for other uses.  These uses can include creating paper, liquidating sap and oils from trees and converting wood for use in creating a series of products found in every modern-day home or business throughout the world.

Recent statistics have also shed light on the growing impact that deforestation has had throughout history as opposed to only modern-day.  “The global deforestation rate was estimated at 13 million hectares per year during the period 1990–2005” (GreenFacts.com).  This shows that over the last several decades, the average rate of deforestation has not only increased but has proven to overcome the correlation between necessary products and available resources.  This conflict clearly defines the important necessity of protecting trees.  If the amount of forests continues to decrease, then global warming will simultaneously grow worse to the point where the end result in natural damages could be globally catastrophic.  If the forest reduces, the carbon dioxide will largely increase, which is harmful to the Earth and the natural oxygen produced by trees will reduce causing damage to plants, animals and human beings each relying on this gas to survive.

Starbucks is one of the biggest coffee store chains in the United States and throughout the world that sells millions of individual cups of coffee every day. Meanwhile, these stores use numerous paper cups as containers and content cup sleeves which is a necessary byproduct of consuming trees.  The cost is huge because the more trees they consume, the worse the environment will become.  There are also many other coffee stores facing this same dilemma, such as Tim Hortons.  Tim Hortons is a large coffee chain in the United States finding its origins in Canada.  This organization specializes in coffee and baked goods.  It has a few sustainability programs in the following three areas: “individuals”, “communities”, and “the planet.”  They have the policy to protect the planet and environment, but they currently do not have a specific project to identify ways to create and use reusable containers for their many drinks.  However, where coffee stores like Tim Hortons fall short, Starbucks has been able to take the lead in creating a unique sustainability project working directly with this issue.

According to the website of sustainability brands, it mentions “Starbucks will provide free coffee on April 15th in participating stores to consumers who bring their own reusable container” (Fusso par. 2).  It was a creative way to attract the attention of customers who can take part in the activity.  The “Big Picture” activity was held in New York in 2010, but Starbucks ultimately transformed this simple activity into a global project to allow more people to realize the importance of protecting forests.  Additionally, Starbucks uses pathos in this project, giving a 10-cent discount to the customers who bring their own reusable cups and mugs to the store.  This is not only a financial benefit for the customers, but if “one person switching can save trees.  Together we can save forests” (“Make a  Difference”).

The main aim of Starbuck’s campaign is to take additional steps necessary to communicate to customers that individual efforts are also important to have any real effect in reducing the damage caused by deforestation (“Make a Difference”).  It is about ethos in that one costumer brings the reusable container to the store, it will save more paper cups.  If everyone who visits Starbucks takes this mindset, Starbucks and the customers can make major strides in reducing the continued rate of deforestation and the negative consequences it causes.  The visual graph below shows the basic situation of the paper production in the United States, and the main purpose of Starbucks will also provide a curve to show the probable trend of the data.  This data states, “US paper consumption has plateaued over the past few years.  Recycled paper pulp, like that in the picture, found a new home with Starbuck’s post-consumer recycle coffee cups” (Fusso par. 3).

Figure 1: http://www.sustainabilityissexy.com/blog/?p=23

The audience of this sustainability campaign is ultimately Starbucks’s customers.  If the customers go to the “Big Picture” website, there is a chance to make a pledge online to help support this project.  The visual below shows the data of how progress in Big Picture campaign created by Starbucks has created global progress as a result of the multitude of pledges provided by Starbucks customers throughout the world.  As of Jan 23rd, there have been 48,677 pledges made by customers throughout the world, and as a result of these pledges, over 675,250 trees will be saved around the world over the next 50 years.  This simple step in creating a pledge proves to customers that one small step in purchasing behavior can have widespread international change for decades to come.

The visual and the data show how this campaign influences the public to bring their reusable cups and keep an eye on the protection.  It also provides the information that many individuals in the general public are taking part in this project to help influence others to also join the efforts.

Generally speaking, this sustainability campaign is eco-friendly.  Starbucks is going to give the 10-cent discount to the customers, in order to encourage them to bring their reusable containers to the store.  Customers will be willing to take their own reusable containers when they are going to buy the coffee.  This campaign shows customers that they not only receive the 10-cent discount, but their efforts in changing simple behaviors to remove paper cups in Starbucks stores can have many positive impacts on the environment.  From this project, customers can save their money, and also save the trees to protect the environment.  This is a win-win situation for everyone involved.



Works Cited

Fusso, Nick. “Starbucks, Paper Cups, and Environmentalism | Sustainability Is Sexy Blog.” Sustainability Is Sexy – Promoting Sustainable Coffee Cup Use. 27 Aug. 2008. 24 Jan. 2012 <http://www.sustainabilityissexy.com/blog/?p=23>.

“How much forest is there on the planet and at what rate is it disappearing?” GreenFacts – Facts on Health and the Environment. 2007. 24 Jan. 2012 <http://www.greenfacts.org/en/forests/l-3/2-extent-deforestation.htm>.

“Make a Difference – Starbucks Coffee Company.” Starbucks.com. 2011. Starbucks Coffee Company. 24 Jan. 2012 <http://www.starbucks.com/thebigpicture#/film>.

“Making A True Difference.” TimHortons.com. 2009. 23 Jan. 2012 <http://www.timhortons.com/us/pdf/2009CSR.pdf>.