City Hippy

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

Google Search:

City Hippy

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:

ARTICLES: Enjoy real content by real people trying really hard to live a greener and fairer life. Generally in-depth with weekly updates at least. Located in main body below.Subscribe:
BOOKMARKS: Follow our web travels & explore our 1400+ links to a greener life across various categories i.e. baby, cosmetics, DIY, furniture, garden & shopping. Short, sharp and frequent updates. Located down to the right. Click here to see our latest three bookmarks.Subscribe:


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

FEATURE: Starbucks Challenge

Regardless of politics, most of us agree on one thing:

If a company makes a promise, it should stick to it.

According to its own policy, Starbucks will make Fair Trade coffee for you, any day of the week, in any of the 23 countries it is licensed to sell Fair Trade including: Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, the U.K. and the U.S.

But just how easy is it to get a Fair Trade coffee in a Starbucks in one of those countries?

We aim to find out.

Join the challenge:
1) Simply visit your local Starbucks and ask: "Could I get a cup of fair trade coffee?"

2) Tell us what happened next. Was it hard or easy to get a cup? Watch out for posts by us and others on this blog.

BLOGGERS: simply blog about what happened and tag it with "starbuckschallenge" (all one word) on (put the Starbucks location in the "extended" description).

To enable us all to easily keep up with contributions to the challenge we have created a feed of all posts about the Starbucks Challenge below.

ALSO help us get feedback by telling people about this challenge on your blogs.

NON-BLOGGERS: tell us what happened by emailing us at Image hosted by or, and we'll do the rest.

Survey results
When the survey has gathered enough feedback we'll get in touch with Starbucks and find out what their response is and how they intend to solve the problem, if any. If there's no problem, then Starbucks gets tons of good free publicity.

Win a prize
Oh yeah…we nearly forgot to mention…we have got a prize to give away, two actually. On Halloween, we'll select two people who contributed to win either:

- A 2 lb bag of Monkey & Son's Velvet Hammer fairtrade organic coffee.
- A selection of fairtrade Tea, Coffee & Hot Chocolate from those lovely people at Clipper Teas.

To win, simply contribute an amusing and informative post/email. Our favorite ones win -- regardless of whether you have a good or bad experience.

Have a fairtrade 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.

Latest contributions:

(Full feed at:

Technorati tags:


At 10:17 PM, Blogger Siel said...

Green urbanites unite :)

At 9:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of Starbuck's competitors in the UK, AMT switched to completely Fair Trade a few months ago! And they are cheaper too :-)

At 9:25 AM, Blogger City Hippy said...

Hi Ajmoraal

Yeah we use AMT often at Kings Cross on the way home...

Very commendable...



At 10:22 PM, Blogger sweetviolet said...

i worked for starbucks for 6 years. eventually as a store manager. what i can tell you is that if you go in to a store and ask them to make you a french press of any coffee of your choice, they are REQUIRED to do it. now, if they actually KNOW that is a whole other matter. if they will not, i recommend taking a postage paid comment card (provided by all stores with their store number on it) and dropping it in the mail.

At 10:34 PM, Blogger City Hippy said...

Hey Sweet Violet

Thanks for the comment...we agree. If you cannot get a cup of fairtrade coffee in a Starbucks then do tell Starbucks, and tell us of course and we will give them the results of this challenge in one big hit...good or bad!



At 3:30 AM, Blogger Pippa said...

hi CH -

just letting you know that my previous link is inactive and you can now refer to

this is the newly updated site. "Starbucks Challenge" is now defunct. i'll report back tomorrow...

At 6:09 AM, Blogger City Hippy said...

Cool...done Pippa...thanks for letting us know



At 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

COSTCO sells "Starbuck roasted" Kirkland coffee beans that has the "Fair Trade" sticker on them - they don't have the many various blends but the mor epeople show an interest the more Costco will respond.

At 1:19 PM, Blogger City Hippy said...

Hey Anon

I's all good. Fairtrade is definitely spreading.



At 10:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yo, my response is online at

I haven't been able to sort out the tags thing yet as the site doesn't like my system and won't display very much at all. Will try to fix this at some point...

At 10:11 PM, Blogger City Hippy said...

No worries mate...have added you to the feed...nice post by the way!



At 1:30 AM, Blogger The Media Slut said...

My Singapore Starbuck Challange at

It was even Fair Trade week but it somehow lack something

At 9:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

themediaslut was in Malaysia and tried out the Starbucks Challange there. The results were disappointing...

At 7:19 PM, Blogger City Hippy said...

Hey TheMediaSlut

Love the name...have added you to the feed now...thanks for participating... keep us posted if you do the challenge anywhere else.



At 12:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems that all the Starbucks in Singapore have been send email informing the barristers about the Starbucks Challange and Fair Trade Coffee...

At 12:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The point about Starbucks is that it is a corporation and corporations base their existences on profit and shareholder payments, not on Fair Trade coffee. Fair Trade is merely a marketing tool to sell more of their product. Starbucks is not a morally-conscious company. It is by definition a business entity that sees profit as its reason for existence. The only personality that Starbucks has is the one that its public relations staff assigns to it.

At 12:48 AM, Blogger City Hippy said...

Hey Anonymous

Totally agree they are a corporation. But I think that the Milton Friedman analysis of corporations and their behaviour is a tad out of date nowadays with a significant group voting with their money and seeking ethical corporations to give their money too.

Personally I do not care why Starbucks care...I just care that they care...and if they and other companies want my money then care they will!

Gotta love market forces! ;) Money is the most powerful vote we have and we vote constantly all day and every day.


At 7:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what is fairtrade...what does it mean?
and let there be light

At 7:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you add an addendum to this post and mention that unless it is an actual Starbucks store (ie, not one in Barnes and Noble, an airport, a kiosk, etc), it's not necessarily going to be easy to get. Those other stores do not count as true Starbucks; they are not required to do everything directly by corporate policy, and I'd prefer to not see the company badmouthed because of what non-official stores don't do. :)

At 8:02 PM, Blogger City Hippy said...

I agree totally and whilst we have a FAQ that says the following the FAQ was not linked to from all challenge posts - I have now rectified that on the CH site:

My local Barnes & Noble or Borders “proudly brews” Starbucks coffee. Can I take the challenge there?

Not really. Starbucks makes this fair trade guarantee only for the stores it owns. This would exclude all bookstores and other coffee vendors that serve Starbucks but are not technically part of the behemoth corporation. If in doubt, check out Starbucks’ locator — Locations on that list, with just a few exceptions, are bound by the challenge.

Of course, you can still ask your local Starbucks-serving bookstore for fair trade — If enough challengers do so, it could convince the place to switch to, or at least offer, Starbucks’ fair trade offerings…

Have added the FAQ link containing that chunk to all Challenge posts including above.




Post a Comment

<< Home