Consumer choices fund unethical corporations

America runs on Dunkin’, but what does Dunkin’ run on?

In a new deal with New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Dunkin’ Donuts will open as many as 69 shops in Louisiana, including some in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. In light of this development, it is worth considering corporate responsibility and evaluating just how many strawberry frosted donuts we can ethically consume.

Sports is a complicated business. Brees, like many professional athletes, engages in myriad corporate sponsorships. The practices of these companies reflect back on him. Dunkin’ Donuts attempts to act ethically, but that alone is not enough. Companies must actively work to support their employees to be truly ethical.

Let’s start with the good: Dunkin’ Donuts has developed environmentally-friendly cups and a plan for switching to them. It claims to be dedicated to environmental issues, incentivizing new Dunkin’ Donuts locations to open with energy- and water-efficient utilities. It has announced its intent to only use eggs from cage-free chickens by 2025.

And yet, Dunkin’ Donuts pays its employees minimum wage, with most employees earning between $9 and $11 — inadequate as a living wage. According to a database made by MIT, a single adult in the New Orleans area needs a living wage of $11.26, and a single adult with one child needs $22.84.

Further, when Starbucks spoke up early in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, Dunkin’ Donuts remained silent.

It is hard, especially as students, to reject cheaper products, and coffee is only the beginning. We want the cheapest and the best phones, food, clothes and more. These things come at a price. As the kids say these days, there is no ethical consumption under capitalism. People are exploited and harmed to make things for us. Corporate responsibility only goes so far to reverse the damages of competitive production. Think twice before splurging on that massive iced coffee but also use the same criticism for every product you purchase.

This is an opinion article and does not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo. Sarah is a sophomore at Newcomb-Tulane College. She can be reached at [email protected].

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