On their website Starbucks states, “As a company that relies on agricultural products, we have long been aware that the planet is our most important business partner.” They have several claims about everything they are doing to help the environment. One of their claims says, “We’re working to shrink our environmental footprint and meet the expectations of our customers by increasing recycling, promoting reusable cups and reducing the waste associated with our cups and other packaging.” This is an example of the sin of lesser of two evils and of hidden trade off. While it may be true that Starbucks is selling reusable cups, they are selling those cups for $1 and the cups are designed to only last for ONE month. What does that create? More garbage. Yes, Starbucks is recycling, woohoo, but that still doesn’t take away from the millions of pounds of waste they create and the energy and resources used to create these cups in the first place.
For water and energy conservation, Starbucks says, “By conserving the energy and water we use and purchasing renewable energy credits, we’re pushing ourselves to reduce the environmental footprint of our operations and help ensure access to clean water in coffee-growing communities.” This is an example of the sin of irrelevance. Previously, Starbucks had a leave the tap water running policy, which wasted 23 million liters of water every day. They only changed their policy after they were sued.
Starbucks has also created a campaign about their free trade initiative. This is the sin of vagueness. While Starbucks does have a free trade agreement, it has been proven that only a very small percent of their coffee is actually free trade.
It seems that companies can create green advertisements practically based off of nothing. Unfortunately, today the aim is to create green products solely as a way to get people to purchase them. The focus needs to change to creating green products in order to protect our environment and our planet. This drive towards consumption has to change.