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Thursday, October 13, 2005

NEWS: Starbucks Success

Stopped off at Starbucks (130 Kings Road, Chelsea, London) on way to work today. Asked for a Tall Fairtrade. Got one without any problem.

Seems like London Starbucks has no problem with Fairtrade...well done impressed. Of course a long way to go though with almost everywhere else ;)

Have you tried the Starbucks Challenge yet?


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At 10:53 AM, Anonymous Badger said...

Hey there City Hippy, just wanted to say thanks for your comment on our Oxfam Generation Why blog. I like the look of this Starbucks Challenge thing, a great idea. I felt exactly the same when was in Costa the other day - had to ask for Fairtrade but it was a bit of a hassle and took them ages to sort it all out, whilst a queue formed behind me!

At 11:05 AM, Blogger City Hippy said...

Hi Badger

Thanks...hmmm wonder if Costa should be our next challenge? Thanks for the tip...just want people to keep their promises...if they get good PR from claiming green cred they only fair that they deliver eh?

Let us know if you hit a starbucks for the challenge...

Maybe blog about it and let us know?

Either way



At 8:59 AM, Anonymous Badger said...

Hey CH

Will do - always tend to avoid Starbucks if I'm honest (just doesn't feel right somehow!), but you're right they should keep their promises. Next time I'm gettin a coffee in town I'll defo hit them for a challenge.

At 11:39 AM, Blogger City Hippy said...

Hey Badger

Cool...I look forward to hearing what gentle with them ok ;)



At 1:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Guys,

Went to Starbucks located at SOUTH ORANGE & CR, store #08375, in
Orlando, FL 32806.


For what it's worth, the receipt lists:

TAX 6.5 .12
TOTAL 1.92


Asked, "What is this Free Trade coffee about?" The girl in the drive
through said, "Do you mean Fair Trade coffee?" I answered "Yes." I then asked for a large cup.

No problem whatsoever. However, at the window i asked what was up with
Fair Trade. The girl said she wasn't quite sure, and asked the guy at
the coffee machine. He said that actually all of Starbucks coffee is
Fair Traded, but that they only list two as such, because of the expense
of having it certified "Fair Trade".

Hope this helps. Peace.


At 1:38 PM, Blogger City Hippy said...

Hi Kytoon

Thanks for that...good result although am concerned that the staff think all Starbucks coffee is fair trade! Starbucks clearly need better communication about what Fair Trade is and what products offered are and are not Fair Trade!

Thanks for participating...



At 1:45 PM, Blogger George said...

If you poke around on the Starbucks website, you'll see that they explain that all of their coffee is "fairly traded." They do maintain their own ethical standards with regard to the coffee beans they purchase.

This is not, however, the same thing as saying that all of their coffee is Fair Trade Certified. As I understand it, this certification is not affiliated with any particular corporation but is a status assigned by a third-party observer. See info here.

At 2:01 PM, Blogger City Hippy said...

Hi G Zombie

Yeah of course...I think it is slightly dodgy to call non FairTrade stuff 'fairly traded' and that the Fair Trade organisation could request them to stop using that as it is bound to confuse customers...

Anyone got any thoughts?



At 8:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today I went into a Starbucks in downtown Phoenix, and I ordered a "grande free trade" coffee. The guy behind the counter corrected me and said "fair trade? Sure, that's our Estima blend. Would you also like a bag to brew at home?" I said "sure why not" and he got the bag for me and asked me how I would like it ground. So, I was able to get it immediately with no problems, and was even able to buy the beans. The guy was very helpful. Also, the coffee was brewed about 40 minutes before I walked in, so it was ready, hot, and fresh. It's pretty flavorful too, so I was delighted! I checked and yes, it is "Fair Trade Certified".

Derek W

At 9:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at the Las Vegas airport and saw a sign for Café Estima at a Starbucks so I asked if they were brewing it. At first the woman working there said no, but then she said she’d check, and sure enough they were. So, she changed their billboard so customers could actually order it. Good stuff!

Billie M

At 10:50 PM, Blogger Siel said...

Oy -- A whole new can of worms you're opening here, partner, with the "fairly traded coffee" question. Yes, Starbucks calls all their coffee "fairly traded," which, in my opinion, is a problem because a lot of their beans are bought at below the fair trade price of $1.26 per pound.

That said, Starbucks does pay higher than average prices for coffee -- an avg. of $1.20/lb, according to their marketing materials. This is, at times, more than double the going price for some coffee -- but then that's not saying much, considering the bulk of this cheap ass crappy coffee is bought by the real meanies like Nestle and P&G.

Throw into that mix the fact that many hard core activist coffee companies addressing the issues of fair trade have either been unable or unwilling to get the fair trade certification label for various reasons, but buy ALL their coffee at or, more often, well above, the $1.26/lb price. See Larry's Beans, for ex. Now no one really can deny that that's fairly traded coffee, certification or not.

In any case, I guess I'd say Starbucks' claims at "fairly traded" coffee is difficult to disprove -- as "fairly traded" is not an "official" term -- but also impossible to verify, considering that we do have to rely on Starbucks' own marketing materials instead of a third party certification.

You can get some background on the reasons why this phrase has been bandied about so much in my Coffee Crisis series, and I'll blog more on this later -- I realize this is gettin' long. But I wanted to be fair to Starbucks and clarify that Starbucks is not technically lying by using the phrase fairly traded, and that Starbucks is not the only company using the phrase.

At 11:36 PM, Blogger City Hippy said...

Hey Siel

I did not say they are lying.

It seems to me that Starbucks might have a hard time proving or disproving that their fairly traded products are fairly traded using anything other than their own definition. As you pointed out it is a subjective and unverified term.

Which must render it worthless as a value-proposition marketing message. If it is not valuable as a marketing message then what is it's value?

A cynic would say to benefit from the similarity in terminology between Fairtrade and Fairly traded. But I am not a cynic so would not for a moment think that.

The term Fairly traded has clearly confused at least once based on the feedback the challenge has generated.

In that perspective for me Fairly traded is therefore a dodgy (dangerous) marketing term to use on many levels.

In fact on a more philosophical level how can coffee be fairly traded but not be Fairtrade?

Does this mean I can claim that a regular bar of soap is organic on the basis that it is composed on elements found in nature?

Don't think so...and if I did claim that I would almost certainly face critism and god knows what else.

The difference between Fairtrade and Fairly traded seems to be, from what I can tell in your reply, a lower price (by 6 cents/lb) and not requiring any independent verification?

Surely Starbucks would be better off just going 100% fair trade?

Cannot understand what they would stand to gain from saving 6 cents/lb and using the term fairly traded instead of going the whole fairtrade hog?

A cynic would say that they are doing this on purpose to undermine fairtrade itself.

I am not a cynic of course...I believe in Starbucks' Fairtrade committment and am heartened by how easy it is in some places to get Fairtrade. Indeed for me I have not had one failure yet! Go Starbucks!

But I am confused by this fairly traded term. And I imagine others including staff must be too.

Perhaps Starbucks has a positive reason for saving this 6 cents / lb and using the fairly traded term instead of going fully Fairtrade?

Anyone from Starbucks care to respond? Perhaps we could email Cindy and get a reply?

Correct me if I am wrong of course.



At 11:42 PM, Blogger Siel said...

Tee hee -- I'm not saying you said they're lying, dear. I'M saying that they're not TECHNICALLY lying ;)

Yes -- Starbucks should, at the very least, pay $1.26 for all their coffee, in my opinion. They should also certify all the coffee they can.

But -- and I'm gonna have to refer you again to my coffee crisis series cuz, once again, this is getting long -- There are real and pressing reasons why some coffee can't be certified, and why some coffee companies opt out of certification...

At 12:00 AM, Blogger City Hippy said...

Hey Siel

Cool...just wanted to be sure you did not think, or give the impression that I had called them liars...cos that would be mean of me!

Ok am reading the coffee crisis...

Back in a minute...or ten!



At 12:11 AM, Blogger City Hippy said... basically because FT coffee has no quality control AND because only so few are certified it is nigh on impossible for someone the size of Starbucks to stock 100% FT...

So they go as far as they can and then call the rest Fairly Traded...

I guess that makes sense...although I still feel that it ultimately weakens the value of the FT mark itself by its confusion value.

FT organisation should move on this (maybe they already are?) and add in a minimum value standard as well AND make it easier to certify AND certify more growers to meet demand!

Sheesh! Not much then! Did I miss anything?



At 12:24 AM, Blogger George said...

"impossible for someone the size of Starbucks to stock 100% FT..."

I thought this was interesting when I learned about it, but rather than give me a reason to let Starbucks off the hook, this information gave me a reason to seek out smaller-sized operations who could afford to go 100% FT.

At 12:33 AM, Blogger City Hippy said...

Well I might have got it wrong but I think the point is that there is not enough supply of decent enough FT coffee to go round???

Plus...normally I do not goto fact normally I do not buy coffee!

At 6:40 AM, Blogger Siel said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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