Tim Hortons - Controversies

Controversies

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After Tim Hortons had agreed to provide 250 cups of free coffee for a "Marriage and Family Day" hosted by the National Organization for Marriage, the company removed its sponsorship after it was revealed that the NOM was an organization that campaigns against gay marriage. The company stated the sponsorship was a violation of the company's policy not to sponsor events "representing religious groups, political affiliates or lobby groups."

David Swick reported in the Halifax Daily News on 19 September 2003 Tim Hortons outlets in Atlantic Canada would no longer serve fresh donuts, but rather donuts that had been remotely factory-fried and then shipped and frozen.

In September 2006, Tim Hortons courted controversy by mandating that employees were not to wear red as part of the Red Fridays campaign by families of the military to show support for Canadian troops. Within a few hours, Tim Hortons partially reversed its position and has allowed staff in Ontario stores to wear red ribbons or pins to show support for the wear red on Fridays campaign.

Some have complained about the packaging litter that appears around Tim Hortons outlets. In 2005 Mark Dittrick, a spokesman for the Sierra Club's Atlantic Canada chapter, said that "The Tim Hortons cup is easily the No. 1 recognizable item of litter in the country."

According to the blog Coffee and Conversation, "Tim Hortons does not sell organic coffee, does not sell Fair trade coffee, and does not disclose the source of its green beans". As of 2007, Tim Hortons website said that they decided against using Fair Trade coffee. Instead they created a program called the Sustainable Coffee Program; the first program was launched in Guatemala and in 2006 they started programs in Colombia and Brazil where they are "directly involved with coffee producing communities by providing direct financial assistance for technical training to improve the quantity and quality of coffee produced and assist farmers in getting their coffee to market at the best time and for the best price. Assistance is also provided on environmental management, in both proper farming techniques and reforestation projects, led by Tim Hortons." In addition, Tim Hortons supported schools and sponsored medical clinics in Guatemala. The annual report mentions this program but does not specify whether the beans they purchase are sourced from this program. The report only mentions "multiple suppliers of coffee".

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