CSR… For real?


Last Friday was Newhouse PR day and I was given the opportunity to listen to some exceptionally successful alumni. One of them was the VP of Starbucks.

In my first blog entry (click here to read), I wrote about the major branding differences between Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks. So, it’s pretty obvious to assume that I was very interested in what he had to say. What he actually presented, however, made me cry. Well… tear up, at the very least.

Let’s be honest, being on top of the latest news of a specific organization requires a bit of effort on the reader’s end. I read a study on how identifying with a company allows customers to be more attentive to the appearance of the company in media outlets. But, thats another story for a another day…

What I mean to say is that no matter how many cups of coffee I purchased and consumed from Starbucks, I was pretty embarrassed to find out that Starbucks stood for something much deeper than just coffee and sweet pastries. The company’s efforts to heal some of the pain in America was nothing less than… admirable. amazing. praiseworthy.

And then, it got me thinking about CSR and the different efforts other companies in the world makes to “give back to society”. It’s no secret that when any company does anything to “give back to society”, their true motives are to boost their image and appeal to the public.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the efforts Starbucks made had financial pros to it as well. But, personally? I think they stand for much better than petty corporate CSR. I believe that they’re genuine. That they’re real.

Or maybe James Olsen ’91 was really just that good.


1 thought on “CSR… For real?

  1. I also wrote about Starbucks’s corporate social responsibility. Admittedly, it also crossed my mind that it is possible that some companies may only practice CSR to boost their image. However, I don’t believe Starbucks is one of those companies. One of the reasons I believe this is because of how hands-on Starbucks’s “giving back” is. The company sent its workers out to do physical labor like rebuilding and painting houses for people who were suffering in New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina. I believe that a company that just wants to look good will simply donate money to a charity. Starbucks has gone above and beyond just writing off a check. All of that effort makes me believe that the CEO Howard Schultz has genuinely good intentions for the country. I agree with you though: maybe Jim Olson’s speech was just that good, but I guess that’s a good sign that he does his job well.

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