Reflection of CSR: Nestle & Starbucks

One of the most fascinating subjects that the course has dealt with is the idea of corporate social responsibility. More specifically, how multinational corporations are engaging in the subject so as to preserve their most valuable commodity which is their overall brand image. One of the most infamous cases that was discussed was that of Nestle, and their motivation for marketing infant formula in the developing world. In summarization, “illiteracy, poverty, contaminated water, and the absence of facilities to sterilize and refrigerate transformed a product relatively safe in the First World into a potentially hazardous substance in the Third” (Sikkink, 1986, p.820). Backlash ensued with a boycott of Nestle products put into place. This task was made easier due to the fact that Nestle clearly branded all of their products with their logo (Crawford, 2019). This case was a landmark in that it created the desire for accountability, which is practiced today and can be seen through a MNC like Starbucks.

I bring up Starbucks as, throughout the semester, discussion has been centred around their sustainable initiatives and also due to the fact that the majority of society, especially millennials, enjoy their coffee. Where people remain undecided regarding Starbucks is the overall perception of the brand. I would argue that Starbucks is making positive strides in regards to maintaining a positive public perception among their most loyal customers, and in regards to overall sustainable measures. The case portrays how and why consumer perceptions are crucial and why discussion must continue to be held about CSR. Starbucks, realizing that millennials make up a large portion of their clientele, would inevitably also realize that they perceive sustainable measures to be vitally important. As such, Starbucks must continue to promote and strive for the best sustainable practices so as to keep their product enticing.

It would be wrong to simply ignore the critics of such companies like Starbucks. However, I believe that even if they face criticism in the form of initiatives simply being a front with no true inclination for publication other than perception, the policies can still be viewed as positive. Consumers force companies to create initiatives that otherwise would not have been present. This coercion into at least prioritizing “good behaviour” is one that cannot be overlooked.


Crawford, R. (2019, March 5). MNCs and Security. Retrieved from Political Science 372A. 

Sikkink, K. (1986). Codes of Conduct for TNCs: The Case of the WHO/UNICEF Code. International Organization, 40(4), 815-840. 

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