Posted by: Alicia | October 28, 2008

Starbucks and World Water Crisis

Some of you have certainly heard about Starbucks getting spanked by the press because of their policy regarding water use in their stores.  Here is a link to a news article.  The gist is, Starbucks has a policy of leaving the tap running in the dipper well, the place they clean the spoons used for stirring the drinks they make.  This wastes millions of gallons of water each day.  I called our local Starbucks, in Raleigh, NC, and they confirmed that they do, in fact, keep the water running all day, every day.  The employees have been forbidden to turn the water off for any length of time during business hours.  This includes the entire time Raleigh was under severe water restrictions due to a significant drought this summer.  While we, good citizens that we are, put milk jugs in our toilet tanks, let the “yellow” mellow, watched our lawns turn a crispy brown color, collected shower water (before it warmed up) in buckets to facilitate flushing and watering indoor plants…Starbucks merrily wasted enough water each day to solve the water crisis in Namibia.  I thought about using this blog to organize a protest or a boycott.  But, then I thought some more.

The fact is, Starbucks is losing money as the water goes down the drain.  As a result of the bad press, they are actively looking for better ways to sterilize their utensils.  And, as a company, they have taken an interest in becoming more environmentally responsible.  You can read about what they do and why, here

As it turns out, Starbucks has a social networking section on their site.  I signed up today as part of that community.  There is a section there where social justice minded folks can start “Actions”, which are basically challenges for the community to participate in some sort of social justice action.  I set up an Action on their site today.  My challenge was this.  What is each of us bought 1 less Christmas present and donated the money we would have spent to a water aid organization?  Wouldn’t that make Christmas seem more significant this year?  I asked people to post how much they donate and to which organization on the site.

See, I figured we could either fuss at Starbucks or we could urge them on in the right direction.  Currently, they are adding to the world water crisis…but, if they keep moving in the direction they’re moving in right now, they might become a significant agent for change.  If they see people getting excited about solving the global water crisis, then, business-wise, it’s going to make sense for them to get on board.

So…will you join the Starbucks community and, specifically, join my Action?  Here’s a link.  Join today and make your voice heard!



  1. hi alicia! i found your blog through kerry’s blog. i want to say good for you for not encouraging a negative action, but instead looking for a solution. you are my hero 🙂

  2. Thanks! 😀

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