Starbucks goes to war – with an unexpected opponent
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Starbucks goes to war – with an unexpected opponent

Coffee house Kingpin Starbucks is on the warpath. That’s not new – the company has fought the good fight against any number of social ills over the past few years, endearing itself to millennial hearts and minds. Previous (and current) adversaries include global warming, pollution, tax evasion, inequality, and cultural intolerance. But the company’s latest opponent may come as a bit of a surprise: pornography.

Starbucks’ share price: up 25% in three months!

graph 06 starbucks

Source: Yahoo Finance

Starbucks has announced that it will make it impossible to access pornographic material via its stores’ Wi-Fi from the beginning of next year. How many people use Starbucks’ Wi-Fi to stream pornography, you ask? I have no idea. Presumably, enough that the company wants to make it impossible. NBC News broke the story a few days ago, writing:

A Starbucks representative told NBC News that the viewing of "egregious content" over its stores' Wi-Fi has always violated its policy, but the company now has a way to stop it. "We have identified a solution to prevent this content from being viewed within our stores and we will begin introducing it to our U.S. locations in 2019," the company representative said.”

Why the company has decided to make this high-profile move is a good question – possibly it has to do with pressure from advocacy groups like Enough Is Enough (which has called on Starbucks to adopt this policy since 2014). Or maybe it’s to do with a growing number of young people who are turning their backs on the material (internet communities like ‘no-fap’ paint a deeply unflattering picture of pornography).

Whatever the reason, it’s probably a commercial benefit, rather than a hinderance. Access to pornography is unlikely to be a draw for most coffee enthusiasts – but freedom from it could be a determining factor for people who may want to take children into Starbucks with them.

Dominion holds Starbucks in its Global Trends Managed Fund.

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