Essay on Csr: Sustainability Practices- Walmart vs. Starbucks

1815 Words Jan 27th, 2013 8 Pages
“Sustainability: Actions Speak Louder Than Words”

SUSTAINABILITY: ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS

Introduction

The purpose of this work is to analyze the mission, values, and core competencies relating to sustainability and the Triple Bottom Line of the corporations Wal-Mart and Starbucks. By analyzing the key differences not only in their values, but the application of their stated values, they can then be judged as to the superiority of their systemic approaches to sustainability. In the case of these two companies, ethics are the most notable difference, which causes Wal-Mart to experience a myriad of dilemmas that Starbucks doesn’t. This key difference is important because “nearly any dilemma an organization faces can
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Perhaps the most telling of the core differences between Wal-Mart and Starbucks’ sustainability agendas relates to their motivation for sustainability measures to begin with. Wal-Mart seems to pursue sustainability measures for purely selfish reasons, utilizing sustainability measures more as a tool for their Public Relations department than out of any real attempt at social responsibility. Starbucks however shows by the company’s actions that they are in fact genuinely concerned with operating sustainably. Starbucks makes realistic sustainability goals, then actively strives to meet them, publicly reporting on their progress annually (Timm 2005).

After analyzing both Wal-Mart and Starbucks’ sustainability strategies, it’s clear that Starbucks’ business model is superior to Wal-Mart’s for several key reasons. First and foremost, because Starbucks adheres to their policies relating to sustainability, they are infused with Goodwill. Though an intangible asset, this Goodwill was estimated at valuing close to half a billion dollars in 2011 alone (YahooFinance 2012). This public perception is important. The Harris Interactive survey for example found that shoppers consider a company’s labor practices above all other social responsibility issues (Temple 2008). It should be no surprise then, given Wal-Mart’s spotty record relating to the treatment of their workforce, that the Reputation Institute ranked Wal-Mart as

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