Friday, June 22, 2007

Good News! Starbucks Signed an Agreement with Ethiopia

Guess what? Your advocacy made a difference. Oxfam announced yesterday that Starbucks signed an agreement with Ethiopian farmers:
"Starbucks and Ethiopia have finalized an agreement that ends their trademark dispute and brings both sides together in partnership to help Ethiopian farmers. This agreement has the potential to give these farmers a fair share of the profits for their world-renowned coffees, and it’s what Oxfam has been pushing for since November.

More than 96,000 of our supporters around the world helped make this happen. Your emails, faxes, phone calls, postcards, and even in-person visits to Starbucks added strength to the call of Ethiopian farmers and brought global attention to this issue."
The video above is a thank you message from the President of Oxfam and an Ethiopian farmer.

While I was at the Nonprofit Technology Conference in March, I got to hear Tim Fullerton from Oxfam talk about how they used YouTube and other social web tools as part of their campaign. I like using them as an example of a successful use of social web tools for advocacy because the tools were integrated into their overall campaign strategy:

1. They emailed their activist list and asked them to email Starbucks about signing the licensing agreement.

2. They moved people into a higher ask, and asked them to call Starbucks.

3. They did a protest. They contacted supporters in Seattle who were interested in the campaign, as well members of the Ethiopian community, and asked them to show up at the protest.

4. They filmed the protest and put it up on YouTube, which unfortunately you can no longer view.

5. One of the campaigners was working with Ethiopian bloggers and asked them to embed the video on their sites, which they did. Then they sent an email to Oxfam's supporters and asked them to look at the video and comment. They got 15-20,000 views.

6. Starbucks responded with their own video with their side of the story, which raised Oxfam's profile and the story because the Oxfam video sat up at the top along with Starbucks' video. Then Slashdot talked about it, and the number of views doubled in a week or two to about 50,000 views.

7. They created a Flickr petition where they asked people to post a photo of themselves with a sign that says, "I support Ethiopian coffee farmers."

I'm sure there are many other steps they took that I don't know about, but still, it seems like using blogs, video and photo sharing helped. Pretty cool stuff.

Also, for those of you who have been following the campaign to ask Starbucks to serve hormone-free milk, Food and Water Watch reports more good news:
Starbucks has upped its rBGH-free milk supply from just 27% to 51% of its total milk supply since the beginning of 2007. In January, Starbucks’ stores in: Alaska, Washington, Oregon, northern California, northern Nevada, New Mexico, Montana, Idaho, Texas, Maine, New Hampshire, parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Rhode Island were rBGH-free. Now Starbucks has added Arizona, southern Nevada, Colorado, Wyoming, Washington D.C., Virginia, Maryland, parts of Pennsylvania, and parts of New Jersey to its list of rBGH-free store locations.
You can continue to encourage Starbucks to serve hormone free milk by calling them at:

1 (800) 235-2883
The line should be staffed Mon – Fri 5 AM – 6 PM (PST)

You can get more info about what to say on the call on the Food and Water Watch site.

Yay for people creating positive change!


  1. That is really good news! Now, I don't have to feel guilty when I buy coffee anymore. lol

    Hey about a couple posts ago you mentioned 2nd life. I joined but, I find it a little confusing, probably because I have been away from Sims and video games for a great many years lol When I get some more time I will see if I can't figure it out. :)

  2. I agree that Second Life is difficult to figure out, which is one of the things I see as an obstacle to it having a big impact for nonprofits. It needs to be more accessible to more people. They need a simpler interface for the basic user, kinda like how Photoshop has Photoshop Elements.


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