Starbucks Corporation’s Sustainable Marketing Principles


In the modern world, it is very popular to be involved in business activity. While social and mass media proclaim new business trends, business conferences, meetings, and workshops are held by various companies in different parts of the world. The words as “businessman” or “businesswoman” become more and more common in everyday life. Therefore, it is not surprising that nowadays there are numerous business ideas, fields, and trends.

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One of the new fields of business is sustainable marketing, which is defined as a concept that promotes the idea of the production of goods in a way when the needs of all the consumers are met without any negative consequences for future generations (Ottosson & Parment, 2015). So, the main intention of sustainable marketing is to prevent environmental and social degradation in the process of manufacture of products. Therefore, this is the reason why it is called “sustainable,” which means “supportable,” or “imperishable.” A good example of sustainability can be using solar energy or, reducing trans fats. There is no doubt that nowadays, in the conditions of constant warnings of biologists and climate researches about global warming or, on the contrary, ice age, it is extremely important to pay attention to every possible way to protect the environment. Sustainable marketing is one of the concepts that impact the environment in a positive way.

It is worth to mention that sustainable marketing is not only about protection of the environment and meeting the needs of current and future consumers, but also about economic benefits of the companies where the concept of sustainability is actively used. However, this concept has some drawbacks, which will be reviewed in this essay. The analysis of sustainable marketing principles along with a business example will also be discussed in this paper.

Sustainable Marketing Principles

Hristo Katrandjiev (2016), an Associated Professor of the Marketing and Strategic Planning Department of the University of National and World Economy, asserts that there are three main principles of sustainable marketing. These principles are orientation toward the future, justice, and emphasis on needs, not necessities. The first principle includes the idea based on comparison of the needs of current and future generations. The second principle is about the injustice of the economic order where “the price and benefits of industrialization are not equally spread among the people” (Katrandjiev, 2016, p. 71). The third principle states that the needs of individuals are more important for sustainable marketing than their wants. The principles that are actively used in other types of marketing can also be related to sustainable marketing. These principles are customer-value and customer-orientation, innovation, and sense-of-mission that help to understand what kind of products are needed for the society today.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Sustainable Marketing

As it was mentioned above, the advantages of sustainable marketing are clear. First of all, using this idea, the activity of manufactures does not have a negative impact on the environment. It brings a positive effect not only to our planet but to each individual as well. As a result of using the strategy of sustainable marketing, companies produce healthier products, and ecological conditions become better, which supports people‘s health. Second, the orientation to people’s needs in sustainable marketing stimulates the innovative achievements of companies. Moreover, since the responsibilities of business companies are increasing when the sustainable marketing concepts are implemented, companies open new vacancies for population, which reduces unemployment and improves the economic situation in general.

However, there are some drawbacks as well. First, some organizations have to invest a substantial amount of money in order to stop pollution caused by their production and purchase new, environment-friendly equipment. For smaller organizations, the expenses will not be so high. However, there are other drawbacks met by them. Thus, Zhanna Belyaeva (2018), in her work “Business Environment Challenges and Trends for Contemporary SMEs in Europe” highlights the main challenges met by small companies when approaching sustainable development. These challenges include “weakly structured business conditions, which lead to the low level of adaptation to external changes, and low-formalized strategy, which causes constant monitoring and adjusting the process by the business owner” (p. 23). Therefore, to understand the idea of sustainable marketing and all its drawbacks and pluses in practice, the next section of the essay discusses the implementation of the described concept on the example of “Starbucks” Coffee Company. The section will also analyze societal marketing, i.e., the concept that implies advantages for society in the long-term. In addition, the effects to business and consumers will be evaluated, which will allow revealing which one is more beneficial from the perspective of sustainable marketing.

Starbucks” Coffee Company as a Business Example of Using the Concepts of Sustainable Marketing

It is difficult to find people who are still not familiar with the largest chain of cafes in the world, which was founded in 1971 in Seattle, USA. There are thousands of Starbucks cafes in the USA and other parts of the world. People like visiting these cafes not only because of high quality of coffee and delicious desserts but also because of a good reputation that the company has earned due to its societal marketing orientation and environment-friendly policy.

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“Starbucks” Coffee Company can serve as one of the best examples of a business organization that actively uses the main principles of sustainable marketing. The principle of justice for the company is the most significant one. Thus, McDowell Marinchak and Burk (2016), in their work Integrating Marketing Communication: Creating Spaces for Engagement, describe the implementation of the “Fair Trade Coffee” campaign by the company. It implied participation of all business partners based on mutual respect and equal rights. In the frames of this campaign, the company implemented “ethical sourcing” and farmer support, “ensuring high-quality coffee while positively impacting the lives of coffee farmers” (p. 17). On the official website of Starbucks Coffee Company (2019), one can find the information that fair-trade policy used by them improves the lives of about 1 million people in the world.

The company also highlights the special contribution of customers and the importance of their support in their Global Farmer Fund Program. This program “helps farmers fight threats for coffee trees like leaf rust, and allows them to renovate their farm or pursue more sustainable practices” (Starbucks Coffee Company, 2019, para. 2). By using this principle, the company raised the question of social justice issue and created a space for the communication of society. Customers and Starbucks supporters started discussions on this problem, highlighting the fact that the company buys coffee in a responsible manner. In addition, the company communicated with society through using social media, which also provoked the strengthening of company reputation (McDowell Marinchak & Burk, 2016). Thus, it ensured the popularity of Starbucks coffee among the population.

In addition, Starbucks tries to avoid negative impact on the environment, implementing several changes in order to save the planet. They intend to entirely refuse plastic straws, use only environmentally friendly raw materials for the production of goods, and reduce consumption of water in the process of work. Therefore, the company cares about future generations and ecological conditions of the Earth by reducing the negative impact on the environment.

As a result of this policy, there are some benefits for both the company and consumers. First of all, Starbucks established a good reputation and earned people’s trust. With the help of their social campaign, people became interested in some social issues that they were not aware of before. Moreover, they started talking about the company with their relatives and friends, and preferred to buy goods with the “fair trade” sign on it, which has significantly increased sales of the company. As a consequence, Starbucks had an opportunity to expand its chain of cafes and reduced the difficulty of finding new employees.

Meanwhile, consumers will benefit from an increase in jobs and protection of the environment. Also, they have an opportunity to enjoy drinking high-quality coffee, getting pleasure from both the taste of it and awareness that this coffee was made of beans obtained as a result of fair-trade campaign. Therefore, it can be concluded that sustainable marketing principle brings certain bonuses to both consumers and business owners. However, in this case, the owners of business get more benefits as a result of professional doing of business with involvement of society to the discussion of the world issues.


It is extremely significant nowadays to protect the environment using all possible techniques and methods. It is not a secret that there are various factories that produce chemicals, plastic, textile, industrial equipment, food, and so forth. All of these factories cause irrecoverable damage to the environment, which causes ecological problems, health issues for population, and even extinction of some animal and plant species. Researchers and scholars who work in the field of environment protection and biology keep warning the world population about the urgent need to change the way of people’s lives in our planet. Otherwise, these continuing environmentally harmful activities of people can lead to serious consequences, such as global warming or, on the contrary, ice age. All these climates changes inevitably lead to the extinction of all life on the Earth.

Therefore, it is necessary to pay more serious attention to ecological problems and start control manufactures in a stricter way, because the sustainable marketing principles can help protect the environment and provide safe future for the next generations. Even though a company has heavy expenses implementing sustainable marketing concept, there are still more advantages than drawbacks. As the example of the “Starbucks” coffee company showed, the correct policy of communication with customers, based on gaining trust and building dialogue, can bring some positive results. It includes revenue increase, expanding of their chain, and growing popularity of goods produced by the company. Therefore, it is highly recommended to think about implementing the strategy of sustainable marketing by all the manufacturers in the world. Hopefully, it will be possible to do that in the nearest future at minimal cost for producing companies.

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Belyaeva, Z. (2018). Business environment challenges and trends for contemporary CMEs in Europe. In E. Rudawska (Ed.), The sustainable marketing concept in European SMEs: Insights from their food & drink industry (pp. 13-28). London, UK: Emerald Publishing Limited.

Katrandjiev, H. (2016). Ecological marketing, green marketing, sustainable marketing: Synonyms or an evolution of ideas? Economic Alternatives, 1, 71-82.

McDowell Marinchak, K., & Burk, J. (2016). Engaged communicative consumption: How IMC campaigns generate a space for civic conversation. In K. McDowell Marinchak & J. Pursuit (Eds.), Integrated marketing communication: Creating spaces for engagement (pp. 7-22). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Ottosson, M., & Parment, A. (2015). Sustainable marketing: How social, environmental and economic considerations can contribute towards sustainable companies and markets. Studentlitteratur AB, 1, 214.

Starbucks Coffee Company. (2019). Ethical sourcing: Coffee. Web.

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