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Howard Schultz on Free Trade

 


Framework for coffee importers: improve quality of life

By 1995, we had completed " Starbucks' Commitment to Do Our Part," a framework outlining our aspirations, and commitments for helping to improve the quality of life in coffee-origin countries. We used the term "framework" rather than "code of conduct" because our guidelines necessarily differed from the codes adopted by importers of manufactured goods like jeans & shoes. Starbucks buys, indirectly, from thousands of farms in about 20 origin countries. We could never conduct meaningful inspections the way a manufacturer does.

We stopped short of threatening to impose penalties on Guatemalan plantations that didn't live up to our standards because of the practical difficulty of enforcing those standards. Our aim was to do our part in ways for which w could be held accountable.

As far as I know, no American company importing agricultural products has ever attempted a code of conduct for foreign suppliers. But after we announced our framework, some still criticized us for failing to put teeth in it.

Source: Pour Your Heart Into It, by Howard Schultz, p.298-299 , Jan 6, 1999

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Page last updated: Apr 25, 2013