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Specialty Coffee Retailers Try to Prove They're Good to the Last Drop

Searching for the perfect cup of sustainable and ethically produced joe. #NationalCoffeeDay

When most people grab their first cup of morning coffee in a zombie-like state, few think about how the beans get from farm to percolator. Even fewer would ponder if, let alone how, the coffee industry revolutionized the business world. But for the past 20 years, the coffee industry has pushed the envelope in terms of how compassion can mold global markets and drive major profits.

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Figures of Progress: Adam Brotman, Chief Digital Officer at Starbucks

Brought to you by IBM. Our Figures of Progress Q&A shares how Starbucks is taking a data-driven approach to transform the customer experience.


GOOD and IBM have teamed up to bring you Figures of Progress, our new platform that explores the different ways that information has revolutionized our world. Through videos, story profiles, and infographics, we're sharing stories about the power of data and how today's leaders in business, city government and nonprofits are finding innovative ways to use it. Here's our latest Figure of Progress interview.

As Chief Digital Officer for Starbucks Coffee Company, Adam Brotman has responsibility for Starbucks’ core digital businesses including web, mobile, social media, card, loyalty, e-commerce, Wi-Fi, and the Starbucks Digital Network. Adam leads the company’s emerging in-store digital and entertainment teams and serves as a key member of Starbucks senior leadership team.

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Starbucks Is Funding Research That Would Turn Food Waste into Useful Stuff

A new "biorefinery" would transform old coffee grounds and stale baked goods into ingredients for plastics and detergent.

Who's got tons of old coffee grounds headed for the trash? Starbucks. And who's got great ideas for repurposing waste? Scientists. It's a promising match.

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Starbucks Profit-Sharing Initiative Gives Education Programs a Boost

A profit-sharing pilot will give money to nonprofits in New York City and Los Angeles to support education and job training programs.


The next time you head to your local Starbucks to get your java fix, your purchase may be boosting education and job training programs in low-income communities. The coffee giant plans to give a minimum of $100,000 in profits from two stores—one in Harlem and the other in the Crenshaw neighborhood of Los Angeles—to local community development agencies that run education programs.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz told The Wall Street Journal that he gave the green light to the partnership because he believes "business leaders have to step up and do our part." Funds from the Harlem store on the corner of 125th Street and Lenox Avenue will support the nonprofit Abyssinian Development Corporation in continuing its nationally recognized programs in several neighborhood public schools.

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Lessons From the End of the Free Starbucks Card Experiment (UPDATED) Jonathan's Card Starbucks Sharing Experiment Shut Down

You can't use his Starbucks card to get free coffee anymore, but Jonathan's card inspired a community of sharing that will carry on.



Starbucks has put an end to a the Jonathan's Card free coffee bonanza, citing concerns about fraud. As we reported last week, mobile app developer Jonathan Stark accidentally kicked off a massive experiment in collective consumption and mobile currency when he made his Starbucks card available for anyone to use or fund. Stark's project may be over, but it's inspired the community he created to carry on its legacy through new communal cards and other good deeds.

"This proved that people are generally good," Stark tells GOOD. “Way more people involved, from a person by person basis, did the right thing."

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Starbucks Is a Trenta-Sized Company

With a workforce larger than the population of Orange, California, Starbucks now sells 87,000 drink combinations in 50 different countries.

Last week, we marveled at the size of Starbucks' new Trenta serving. This week, it's time to survey the scale of Starbucks' corporate activities in awe. Online MBA has put together a mini-guide to the company, which brought in $10.71 billion last year, and has outposts in 50 countries. These slides show the data that I found most interesting (87,000 different drink combinations! How is that even possible?), but you can see the whole thing over at The Atlantic.

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