Virtue ethics, “is the view that morality is grounded in the virtuous character traits that people acquire.” (Fieser, 2015) Virtue is like a behavior/ skill that can be practiced and learned. This is about our actions and the exercise of moderation relating to our actions. The idea is that finding a middle ground between extremes delivers us to virtue.
Deontology, is also known as duty theory. “The idea behind duty theory is that we are all born with basic moral principles or guidelines embedded in us, and we use these to judge the morality of people’s actions.” (Fieser, 2015)
An action is morally right if the consequences of that action are more favorable than unfavorable to everyone;there is an emphasis on the consequences of our actions to guide our moral judgements.
A large number of coffee farmers are going out of business, more so than they have seen before. It is not just a problem for the farmers but it is a social problem that stems from over production. Brazil, Vietnam are examples of this. This problem affects farmers globally – consequences of supply and demand across the industry have been extreme.
Buying Practices –coffee and farmer equity practices that help build a sustainable long-term business model for the farmers. Sustainable way to buy coffee in the future. They worked with NGO’S to come up with a plan that was socially responsible and environmentally responsible. It involves Starbucks paying a fair price for the coffee, economic transparency meaning that Starbucks pay a premium to ensure that the farmers, are paid and that they know what they are paid in a fair way. They demonstrate social responsibility by ensuring the farmer and pickers are paid fairly, fed and have access to healthcare also. Environmentally, they are ensuring that trees are not cut down for the farming, that streams and waste water are separated, that chemicals are not used. The outcome is that they establish and maintain a fair and sustainable business model for the farmers and across the industry. Profitability and social responsibility work together in Starbucks eyes.
“Cost-benefit analysis is the distinguishing feature of the moral theory of utilitarianism.”(Fieser, 2015.) This means that if the consequences of something are better than if that something didn’t happen. In other words, weighing the good against the bad regarding the consequences of an action. By applying this characteristic of Utilitarianism, Starbucks have weighed the cost-benefit analysis of this situation. In doing so they can see that the coffee industry is in a crisis and that the consequences of their action are better than no action. Here they seem to be focusing on the long-term economic advantages to theory plan and accepting a short- term loss to pay the premium prices and to help get these farmers set up in a sustainable manner.
Secondly, there is a focus on the benefits felt by all, the good consequences for everyone, meaning “the greatest good for the greatest number of people.” (Fieser, 2015.) In this situation, Starbucks are looking at the whole coffee industry, recognizing the crisis, recognizing their part in the wider ethical problem and ultimately looking to help the greatest number of people.
Tabberer, C. [ProfTab @ OkWU]. (2010, May 5). Starbucks social responsibility video [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/Nly_OdvORQY