Starbucks’ Pike Place Medium Roast Coffee

overall rating:



Abigail Dateo
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Starbucks is guilty of greenwashing. The company claims that it is sustainable in terms of social justice, but only because it recognizes that social justice is a common issue and consumer concern in the coffee industry. Starbucks fails to provide specific information or evidence in regards to how they implement sustainability into business practices; there is no information about the Pike Place Medium Roast specifically, and its supply chain or sustainability impacts . Therefore, I doubt the company values or executes (any) sustainability initiatives all together. I couldn’t even find clear sustainability initiatives posted on the Starbucks website. I rank the Pike Place Medium Roast at .5 planet, mostly because I am so disappointed about Starbuck’s greenwashing and lack of transparency about supply chains.

What it's made of:


Pike Place Medium Roast is made of 100% Arabica coffee beans sourced from Latin America. Starbucks claims its coffee is ethically sourced, which shows how the company wants to seem to value sustainability in terms of social justice. However, the company provided little data and evidence to portray how they execute sustainability initiatives, ensure ethical work places, and track supply chain impacts. This lack of transparency makes me doubt how sustainable the product is; I was unable to find specific supply chain info, or information about the specific beans in Pike Place Roast as compared to other roasts. Starbucks commits greenwashing in conveying its coffee beans as consciously and sustainably sourced, while failing to provide information to support its claims. I rank this section a .5 because of Starbuck’s lack of transparency.

How it's made:


Starbucks fails to provide specific information about how its coffee beans are made, roasted, and transported. Therefore, I had to give them a low score of .5 planet for lack of information and transparency. See my review of Peet’s Coffee as a good example of supply chain transparency.

Who makes it:


The Starbucks website emphasizes a commitment to sustainable farming practices because of Starbuck's own “Coffee and Farmer Equity” or CAFE practices. Starbucks claims to have created these standards under the guidance of Conservation International, but Starbucks fails to mention what these standards are. This makes me doubt how legit Starbucks farming and social justice initiatives are, which contributes to my low rating of .5 planet. The company is guilty of greenwashing. They dress up their website with stories about small town farmers happily growing coffee beans, but they fail to articulate the actions and steps being taken to mitigate their consumption and environmental impacts. Starbucks fails to mention climate issues all together on its website. I am disappointed.
I am skeptical about how much Starbucks truly values social justice. The Starbucks website has vague descriptions of ethical and sustainability initiatives and how Starbucks adopts values, which makes me doubt how much Starbucks actually commits to its claims. Other major competitors like Dunkin’ and Peet’s Coffee also emphasize ethical product sourcing on their webpages, which reflects how social justice is a common theme, value, and concern in the coffee industry; be careful of companies like Starbucks that recognize these concerns but fail to give specifics about how they address them.