Starbucks’ Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz used a 29 January message to all of the company’s employees to express his deep concern about President Donald Trump’s recent ban on Muslims from certain countries and said that, in response, Starbucks was working on a plan to hire 10,000 refugees to work at its stores.
“I write to you today with deep concern, a heavy heart and a resolute promise,” said Mr Schultz. “Let me begin with the news that is immediately in front of us: we have all been witness to the confusion, surprise and opposition to the Executive Order that President Trump issued, effectively banning people from several predominantly Muslim countries from entering the US, including refugees fleeing wars. I can assure you that our Partner Resources team has been in direct contact with the partners who are impacted by this immigration ban, and we are doing everything possible to support and help them to navigate through this confusing period.
“We are living in an unprecedented time, one in which we are witness to the conscience of our country, and the promise of the American Dream, being called into question. These uncertain times call for different measures and communication tools than we have used in the past.
“I want to take this opportunity to announce specific actions we are taking to reinforce our belief in our partners around the world and to ensure you are clear that we will neither stand by, nor stand silent, as the uncertainty around the new Administration’s actions grows with each passing day.
“We have a long history of hiring young people looking for opportunities and a pathway to a new life around the world. This is why we are doubling down on this commitment by working with our equity market employees as well as joint venture and licensed market partners in a concerted effort to welcome and seek opportunities for those fleeing war, violence, persecution and discrimination.
“There are more than 65 million citizens of the world recognized as refugees by the United Nations, and we are developing plans to hire 10,000 of them over five years in the 75 countries around the world where Starbucks does business. And we will start this effort here in the US by making the initial focus of our hiring efforts on those individuals who have served with US troops as interpreters and support personnel in the various countries where our military has asked for such support.”
Turning to President Trump’s plan to build a wall between the US and Mexico, Mr Schultz said: “We have been open for business in Mexico since 2002, and have since opened almost 600 stores in 60 cities across the country, which together employ over 7,000 Mexican partners who proudly wear the green apron. We have sourced coffee from Mexico’s producers and their families for three decades and last fall, we also announced the creation of a farmer support centre in Chiapas to help accelerate our collective ability to grow and export some of the world’s finest coffees from this important growing region, while donating more than US$2 million to support the livelihood, food security and water quality of coffee producing communities in Oaxaca.
“With the support of thousands of Starbucks partners and millions of customers, we have also donated over a million coffee trees to support 70,000 families, and we will be expanding the initiative this year to generate another 4 million tree donations. Coffee is what unites our common heritage… and we stand ready to help and support our Mexican customers, partners and their families as they navigate what impact proposed trade sanctions, immigration restrictions and taxes might have on their business and their trust of Americans.”