Starbucks relies on their suppliers for a constant supply of consistent, high quality products. This stakeholder relationship is strong for both groups.
A key group of supply-side stakeholders for Starbucks are coffee growers. The company's size makes them one of the world's largest purchasers of coffee beans. It is not just size that makes Starbucks important, however. Their high visibility means that they are in a position of influence with regards to their coffee purchasing decisions. The coffee industry worldwide is representative of global agricultural issues such as sustainability and fair trade farming. Coffee producers are a major stakeholder for Starbucks because the firm has staked its reputation on high quality coffee. They need to develop sustainable sources of quality beans. For the coffee producers, Starbucks' position with regards to their needs can have a tremendous impact on the ways in which other coffee purchasers treat them as well. Starbucks holds meetings with key stakeholders to address their concerns and forge a stronger, mutually beneficial partnership (Starbucks, 2004).
Another external stakeholder for Starbucks is the local communities in which they operate. Each neighborhood or community is impacted by Starbucks' activities in some way. The company must take the impacts of their actions into account when moving into different areas. To this point, there has been little concern raised over Starbucks' impact on communities. The firm's retail outlets are seen to improve street life and help build community. In many cases, a new Starbucks is welcomed as a boon to the local community because of this (Harris, 2006).
Finally, the environment is a stakeholder. While there is no direct personification of this stakeholder, all citizens of the world are ultimately a part of this group, as our environment affects our quality of life. Starbucks has the potential to significantly impact the environment, in particular because of the disposable goods its produces. Paper cups, plastic lids, cozies, and other outputs contribute to deforestation, oil consumption, garbage and other negative environmental outcomes. There is also considerable concern with regards to the use of non-recycled plastic in the bottles for their water line, Ethos, itself a concern because of the environmental impacts of bottling water at all. Starbucks must take these outcomes into consideration. The company has a division devoted to corporate social responsibility and is working towards reducing their considerable environmental impact (Allison, 2008).
All told, Starbucks has a wide range of stakeholders. The company depends on these stakeholders for their contributions to the corporation's outputs and strategic objectives. The stakeholders depend on Starbucks for everything from their livelihoods to reducing negative impacts. Starbucks is most dependent on its employees, management and partners. Groups heavily dependent on Starbucks include shareholders, customers, suppliers and coffee growers. The relative balance of each of these respective needs guides Starbucks' activities and outcomes. Overall, the company has done a good job of meeting the needs of its stakeholders. There are improvements needed in terms of its environmental performance and shareholders would prefer a return to the strong growth that Starbucks displayed earlier in this decade, and these will be some of the major factors guiding the company's strategy in the next few years.
No author. (2004). Starbucks Engages Stakeholders on its Coffee Purchasing Guidelines. Starbucks Corporation. Retrieved December 16, 2008 at http://www.starbucks.com/aboutus/pressdesc.asp?id=391
Some financials and corporate information from Reuters. Retrieved December 16, 2008 at http://www.reuters.com/finance/stocks/companyProfile?symbol=SBUX.O
No author. (2008). Schultz to shareholders: Starbucks Going Back to Basics. Portland Business Journal. Retrieved December 16, 2008 at http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/stories/2008/03/17/daily24.html
Allison, Melissa. (2008). Starbucks' New Blend for Stronger Standing. Seattle Times. Retrieved December 16, 2008 at http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2004293831_starbucksbiz20.html
No author. (2006). Starbucks Soars in China. Asia Times. Retrieved December 16, 2008 at http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China_Business/HF15Cb06.html
No author. (2008). Starbucks and Suntory to Introduce Starbucks Doubleshot Espresso Drinks in Japan. Starbucks Corporation. Retrieved December 16, 2008 at http://www.starbucks.com/aboutus/pressdesc.asp?id=901
Allison, Melissa. (2008). Starbucks Struggles with Reducing Environmental Impacts. Seattle Times. Retrieved December 16, 2008 at http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2004412179_starbucks14.html
Harris, Laura. (2006) Community Celebrates Opening of Starbucks. University of Louisiana Monroe. Retrieved December 16, 2008 at http://www.ulm.edu/universityrelations/news/sept06/opening.html