OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         True – Starbucks cards in general are nifty in design and convenience… many of the girls in the store have their little collections going, and some of the more exotic ones from places like Hawaii or Stockholm are stunning.  But the cards that really get me smiling (and rambling on and on about with innocent unsuspecting customers) are ones like these beauties:


They’re part of the Starbucks’ Shared Planet commitment that’s grown immensely over the past decade, to the benefit of many and relief of others.  Its responsibility focus encompasses community, environment, ethical sourcing, wellness, and diversity – SO awesome; it’s really what every company should be doing, says I the ethical enthusiast, to whom these sorts of considerations seem nothing short of instinctive.  😉  The compOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         any has teamed up with campaigns like (RED) and Conservation International by creating these giftcards that donate 5 cents to the respective cause with every purchase made.  There are also tons of new merchandise that support similar initiatives.

We’ve had the (RED) cards in Vancouver for ages, and I’m continually shocked by how few people – even those who own and use them – know anything at all about the program.  Every time I see one as I’m operating till, I leap with excitement and chatter on about why they’re so great.  This is a start:


I hadn’t ever heard of the Preservation cards before this month though!  One day at work a customer pulled one out and it caught my eye right away (as interesting Starbucks cards do).  She told me they supported Conservation International, and she’d gotten it in the States.  What a perfect coincidence, I thought, I’m off to Palm Springs in a week!!!  Thus I’ve made a point of visiting a few Starbucks locations around town while I’m vacationing to pick up handfuls of these pieces of brilliance.  They must think I’m crazzzzzy…


C’mon, you’ve got to admit that these are cool.  They’re just like any other Starbucks giftcard – you load ‘em up, swipe ‘em instead of your credit card in exchange for your favourite Starbucks products, and walk away satisfied that you’ve treated yourself (and if you’re really on the ball, you’ve registered your card online and saved a bunch on syrups, milk, and espresso shots) – only now 5 cents is donated to a well-deserving not-for-profit organization aiming to improve the world beyond your daily caffeine fix.  No additional cost to you, the card carrier – your satisfaction may actually by heightened by the knowledge that by treating yourself today, you’re giving back a little.  So WHY, I ask, would you ever go back to using the regular, run-of-the-mill, socially unattached giftcards?  These days I use NOTHING but my (RED) card at Starbucks, and I love that my partner discount stretches its donating capacity a little further.  Why wouldn’t I love the union of coffee and humanitarian projects, two of my favourite things??   😀