Despite the fact that climate change has enormous economic consequences, only a handful of US business schools which allow students to focus their studies on sustainability.
Recent closures of facilities owned by Nestle and Coca-Cola, as well as an imminent coffee shortages on the horizon, which will disrupt companies like Starbucks, has still not sent the message to business schools that climate change is an issue that needs addressing by the business community.
Climate change affects every resource used by business: agriculture, water, land, energy, and workers and the economy. No business will be immune from the transformation caused by climate change. Some observers believe that without radical change in our business models climate change will lead to disastrous consequences.
The scientific consensus is that the best way to avoid disaster is to keep the average global temperature increase to only 2 degrees Celsius. In order to reach this goal emissions of greenhouse gases need to be limited to 1 trillion metric tons which will mean a 49 to 72 percent reduction globally from 2010 levels.
Clearly business needs to take a leading role in the reduction of gases that contribute to climate change, but the schools that are educating our future entrepreneurs and business leaders are not taking the issue seriously enough.
One study looked at 51 schools out of the hundreds in the country. It found that when a sustainable business course is offered, it is usually just an elective. Just a few business schools offer minors, majors, certificates or graduate degrees in sustainability business and /or management.
The 51 schools that were chosen for the study are leaders in the study of sustainability. The vast majority of schools do not offer any kind of coursework on the subject. The study showed that even the best schools for sustainability are doing a bad job preparing students for the future that is coming.
Starbucks, the giant coffee purveyor, is planning on adding an additional 12,000 stores to their existing 25,000 within the next five years. Luckily for people who like to see other stores besides those that sell coffee, not all of the additional 12,000 are going to be in Manhattan. As a matter of fact, only half are going to be built in either the US or China.
But if you really do like coffee and were even slightly worried that you might need to walk more than 30 seconds from wherever you may be to get your mandatory Caramel Brulée Latte, you can rest at ease now. As CEO Howard Schultz puts it:
“These are the early days of the growth and development of the company. If Starbucks was a 20-chapter book, I still think we’re in chapter 4 or 5.”
“Demand is there, and our ability to deploy capital and get the return on invested capital is very strong,” Starbucks President and COO Kevin Johnson said.
The fabulously successful company discussed their business plans at an investor day even in New York City last week. Schultz reassured his shareholders that:
“Our core business has never been stronger in the U.S. and around the world.”
Starbucks has its eye on the enormous potential market in China.
“Not only will China one day be bigger than the U.S., but our business in China will demonstrate that we will be one of the…most significant winners in terms of a Western consumer brand,” he said.
Beginning in 2011 Starbucks offered a tuition reimbursement program for its employees who attended either City University of Seattle or Strayer University. Students/employees could receive up to $1,000 per year to help pay their tuition. The perk is a rarity among low-paying jobs. So far Starbucks has paid out about $6.5 million to their workers enrolled in this program.
Now Starbucks is phasing out the tuition reimbursement program in favor of a program in conjunction with Arizona State University to help their employees earn degrees on-line. Starbucks says there is not requirement for employees to stay at Starbucks after they graduate, and they can choose from a large selection of subjects to study, not just those subjects related to their employment.
It is not known at this time about how many employees will take Starbucks up on this offer. Neither is it known the financial deal the company made with the University. What is known is that an on-line degree from Arizona State costs about the same as the regular degree program, about $10,000 per year.
It’s official; Starbucks is becoming more mobile. Check it out on YouTube. According to an article in WebOptimiser, the company is using a mobile payment system with its close to 7,000 company-owned stores following a testing of the idea in a few key stores. According to Brady Brewer, Starbucks VP, what this does is provide a much more convenient payment method. So far the iPhone and Blackberry have their apps and Android is on its way. But this is only a short-term method as in future phones won’t be needed as “near field communications” (NFC) technology will be applied.
Proven NFC Technology
In Asia, NFC technology has been used for a while in phones with chips, supported by various retailers. Already for last year, mobile payments reached $100m and by the end of this year, this figure is expected to double, according to Juniper research.
UK Coffee Drinkers Enjoy NFC
Starbucks and Barclaycard (in conjunction with VISA Europe) have signed a deal that has now brought NFC to their coffee houses. Most coffee houses throughout UK and Ireland will be using this technology by Spring 2012. How will this work? According to a recent article, “Orange customers with a Quick Tap-enabled handset will then be able to simply tap their mobile phone on a Starbucks contactless reader to make purchases of £15 and under.” The company’s aim is to make customer service as great as their coffee, according to the company’s EMEA technology services manager, Pete Blower. Since it seems that at coffee shops people just want to get their coffee and go, this is a perfect place for the technology to be in place.