Can my coffee buy condoms and ARVs?

The fight against HIV/AIDS is very closed to my heart not because of celebrities and nonprofit’s intensive campaigns against the disease but because I know people who lost the fight. I would never say no to an HIV campaign because it’s a very emotional topic and I know how hard it is to live in Africa when you are HIV positive. Plus, I used to be a heavy coffee drinker and I was addicted to Starbucks. What does coffee have to do with HIV? Watch this:

Can conscious consumption really be a substitute to charitable giving? Let’s find out.

Example

  • My annual contribution to the HIV cause is $100.
  • Let’s assume I still drink Starbucks coffee. Whenever I buy a coffee, I have the power to make Starbucks pay 5 cents to a nonprofit organization that fights against HIV (The Global Fund).
  • My caramel Frappuccino used to cost me around 5$.

In order to make my annual contribution of $100, I would have to drink 2,000 Frappucinos a year or 5,47 Frappuccinos a day. WOW that’s a lot of coffee (and calories)! In addition, since the campaign does not run all year-round, I would have to double, or triple my coffee load to make sure I reach the $100 threshold by the end of the campaign. This is just not working and imagine how many coffees I would have to drink if I was just the regular $1.50 coffee drinker!

The only way to achieve my goal would be:

  • either Starbucks increases its unit contribution to 10 or 20 cents
  • or better, Starbucks’ contribution becomes a percentage of how much I spend

Let’s be real, there is a limit to Starbucks generosity first because they have to make profits right? Plus, they can care less about my $100 contribution, they still have to pay they staff and other expenses.

Results
It would be hard to substitute conscious consumption to charitable giving.

  1. even if I have the power to make Starbucks pay 5 cents, I have no control to which charity, country or program Starbucks is transferring our money.
  2. This «transactional partnership» does not give Starbucks enough time to explain why they do this? how they do it? and which results they got?
  3. This campaign is not an incentive to change my habits. How about the tons of plastic containers I will use? is my Frappuccino made of fair trade coffee? I don’t know.

Conclusion
It’s good to be a conscious consumer I also have to be a smart donor : my charitable gifts have more long term impacts than me buying my Frappucinos. I guess I am going to stick to my $100 annual gift system and eventually make «extra gifts» by stuffing my face with Frappuccinos.

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