Recently I had the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. as I assisted to the commencement ceremony at GWU and, after visiting a few museums during Tuesday morning, we walked through 11th street and stopped into a small Starbucks Coffee Shop just before F street, to sip a hot cup of coffee in the middle of a gray and rainy day.

As every Starbucks, this stores are built with great detail to make them appealing, familiar and comfortable, since inspiring this feelings (“home away from home”), as well as having long fancy names for their different products, gives you this warm sensation and personalization experience that connects with your emotions at the time you consume good quality products and oversized (some overpriced) but nice coffee.

Anyway, I must say I enjoy Starbucks, it has been always a great wifi hub, business meeting room, workstation or just a relax place away from home were to drink a decent cup of coffee, also, Starbucks has built a brand with great reputation and it´s common to listen about their great sustainability and fair trade efforts that contribute to a better living planet.

Probably this is the reason why this particular day (and unfortunately hasn´t been the only one) I was surprised to see that employees of this store wouldn´t commit to the sustainability efforts of the company. It is crucial for any company to engage with their employees and generate the commitment needed to contribute to larger purposes, not only with the companies short term business objectives but also to live their philosophy and values that guarantee those long term results. For over 10 minutes, a water faucet was opened over the counter dropping clear potable water on a blender cup without any attention from the staff at all, in the meantime, they continue to do the rest of their duties serving clients, so unless someone tells me this is “somehow” a recycled water system, it is a waste of a precious natural resource.

It´s not the first time I´ve seen this happening at Starbucks stores, there is also a small bucket with a faucet over the working cabinets, where spoons are dropped dirty and were an open faucet clears the content as it overflows into the drain. Not a very sustainable way to clean your spoons after all.

So, for a company that communicates in one way about sustainability, probably would want to take a look over this “minor” events because, just imagine 24,000 stores worldwide, leaving their faucets open for 10 minutes a day? at 2,5 gallons per minute its 250 gallons of water and, at 24,000 stores this equals 6 million gallons of water per day, just about the drinking water needed by the same amount of people every day in order to stay hydrated.

It is crucial to make our employees at the “battle front” engaged with our companies efforts, to be able to sensitize them about the importance to commit with our sustainability efforts, and to show our costumers how weWalk the Talk in our everyday way of making business.