More than just Starbucks’ addicting drinks, or Unilever’s cleansing soap they are both very focused on socially responsible practices, and they both take great pride in making a positive impact. Both of these companies track and report on what they’re doing to be socially responsible. Starbucks and Unilever are very different companies, but they find their own ways to impact the world for better.
For those of you who don’t know (LOL), Starbucks is coffee shop known for their Pumpkin Spice Lattes (PSL) and their modern experimental drinks. Unilever, on the other hand, controls a variety of brands from a scent teenage boys love to drench themselves in, Axe Body Spray, to the delicious chocolate coated Magnum ice cream bars to Dove Soap, Lipton tea, and many more.
Looking at both of their Sustainable Living or Social Impact tabs these companies have a range of things they are trying to improve.
You can easily explore their website and find ways that they make an impact, but I’ll go through some. Let’s start with Unilever:
Unilever has a goal by 2020 they will have reached 1 billion people and helped them with their personal hygiene, health, and well being. This is their main purpose as a company. Starting in 1895 a soap called Lifebuoy was created by Lever Brothers. It was the best selling soap in 1923 to the 1950s. The purpose of Lifebuoy is to teach parents around the world the importance of washing their hands before handling a baby, for the first 28 days of the child’s life. Around the world, 6 million children die before the age of 5. With Unilever’s ongoing plan to help these children live longer they have launched many initiatives to do their part in the world.
They have reached a total of 538 million people as of 2016, helping 379 million to have the ability to wash their hands, 55 million now have safe drinking water, 6.2 million have access to bathrooms, 75 million have dental help, and 23 million have been influenced by Dove’s self-esteem program.
As I said, they have a range of consumer staple products and brands, they range anywhere from hygiene to food. With their food brands, they hope to decrease the obesity rate by decreasing their salt and sugar in their food products.
Now, thinking about how they make all their products, they hope to reduce their environmental impact. They will halve their footprint on Earth by 2030. From 2008 to 2016 they emitted 43% less Carbon Dioxide, they’ve used 37% less water, and their total disposal has gone down 96%.
Unilever still makes a larger impact on people. Unilever employees 920,000 women, 46% of their managers are female and one-third of their board members are women, they get resources from 650,000 smallholder farmers, 1.5 million small sourced retailers, they provide a LampLighter health program for 83,000 of their employees, and 1.01 per million employees have improved their safety.
If only every company could be this amazing.
Starbucks is next. Starbucks carefully purchases each of their ingredients to make sure they’re providers are ethical. Just within coffee, they donate money to provide their farmers with disease-resistant trees, Starbucks is raising money to pay for their farmers to update their farms to be more sustainable, their coffee is 99% ethically sourced, and they’re donating 1 billion replacement trees for their farmers. By 2020, Starbucks hopes to have their tea and cocoa 100% ethically sourced.
Starbucks also invests in building communities. They do a range of things to enhance their community like launching a full ride scholarship at Arizona State University, donating money to their farmers to help improve their lives and to local companies in Seattle (their hometown), hiring 10,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2018, and providing opportunities for youth interaction with the world and community service.
Just as Unilever does, Starbucks want to reduce their environmental footprint. These are some ways they are doing that: building stores with energy conservation, using resources that are good for the environment, and all their cups are now recyclable.
Here's some fun math to think about:
Starbucks estimated that across all their stores, they dispose of 8,070,428 cups per day. Starbucks’ first store opened in 1971, but as a thought experiment let’s say it took them 10 years to get this famous with so many stores, so if from 1981 to today they disposed that many cups per day. That means that in the 36 years of Starbucks being around there were 1,060,454,239,000 cups disposed of. That’s way too many cups to be thrown away. Now that they recycle all of their cups they don’t go to waste.
Hopefully, this reminds you that there is good going on in the world, and there are good people that are trying to do good things to benefit the Earth. These are the types of companies to put your money into because socially responsible companies have the world’s interest in mind when they make their decisions.
If you haven’t already, go check out my book, Early Bird: The Power of Investing Young. It is available in print form and kindle edition.