City Hippy

The diary of our struggle to live a green and fair life.

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CityHippy has posted its last post now (I now work for EMP plc, run At Home magazine online and more and personally blog over at Why? Click here to find out. We might be back. Keep our RSS feeds, keep us bookmarked, sign up for the news alert on the right. You never know...

We are dedicated to exploring how to live a greener and more ethical life. City Hippy is a growing collective of writers bringing you two types of content:

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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

NEWS: Starbucks sub-Challenge 3.5

So Starbucks admitted it hasn't lived up to its own policy to French press a cup of fair trade coffee for anyone who asks for it. And during meetings with and in letters to bloggers, the mermaid's promised to work on fixing its "break down in customer service" -- at least in the LA area, which is a great start.

So during this first week of 2006, we're starting easy. We're wondering if Starbucks employees are aware which of their coffee blends are actually fair trade certified, as opposed to Starbucks' own internal "fairly traded" "certification." Considering that there's only one fair trade coffee in Starbucks -- Cafe Estima -- it shouldn't be that hard, as long as someone has taken the minute to let employees know that Cafe Estima's the fair trade blend. And to make it even easier, Cafe Estima's brewing as the coffee of the week this week (at least in the US & Canada)!

The Challenge
1) Visit your local Starbucks this week (Jan 2 to Jan 8 ) and ask: "Could I get a cup of fair trade coffee?" (Don't specify Cafe Estima!)
2) Tell us what happened next. Ideally, the barista should immediately offer you a cup of Cafe Estima, which should already be brewing.

BLOGGERS: simply blog about what happened and tag it with "starbuckschallenge" (all one word) on (put the Starbucks location in the "extended" description). We'll pull all articles into a feed. If you do not know about, then just mention the phrase 'StarbucksChallenge' as one word in your post, and we'll catch it.

NON-BLOGGERS: tell us what happened by writing a comment on either City Hippy or green LA girl, or send an email to City Hippy or green LA girl, and we'll do the rest.

Win a prize!
On Jan. 9, City Hippy and green LA girl will award 2 prizes: 1 to the person who takes the most challenges, and 1 to the person with the most interesting, entertaining, educational, insightful, or funny report.

The prizes? An enviro-friendly, reusable, and chic workplace dish set, and fair trade yummies from provided by City Hippy.

Challenge results
On Jan. 9, City Hippy and green LA girl will take the challenge results to Starbucks, either commending them on their progress on barista education efforts about fair trade, or asking them to, um, work on that.

Take the challenge, and please feel free to let us know what YOU think our next step should be as activists, and what you think Starbucks' next step should be as a company that says it wants to be a leader in corporate social responsibility.

Have a fair trade day.
City Hippy and green LA girl

Useful posts:
The Launch, 2.0, 3.0, Activism 2.0 (analysis of new wave of consumer activism), FAQ, challenges ( and finally the ever developing Google Map.


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At 7:18 AM, Anonymous Steph said...


I went into the Starbucks in Sheffield UK in early December and was quietly confident (or should that be a tad disappointed?) to see they had a sign up saying 'Fairtrade Coffee Now Brewing'.

I confidently asked for a fairtrade Americano (my preferred coffee). I
was told that I could have an Americano /or/ I could have fairtrade, but not my desired combination - the only fairtrade coffee on offer was the filter coffee. I said I didn't like filter coffee - I wanted Americano, but preferred to buy fairtrade.

The lad who was serving me smiled and shrugged and waited for me to make up my mind. I decided on leaving without a coffee.

Should also add that I was initially told that all the coffee was
'fairly traded-ish'. I questioned what this meant -- and if it was all
fair trade, why was the fair trade advertised specifically for the
filter coffee? This was met by a confused look and a bit of a 'well, you know, we trade fairly with everyone but...' - which made it clear that the lad had no idea what he was actually talking about, just repeating what he'd been trained to say (sort of repeating it, I think, as it really didn't make a lot of sense).

Steph (Derbyshire, UK)


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