article by Barbara Thau via forbes.com
Now Schultz is once again flexing Starbucks’ “conscious capitalism” muscles with a plan to hire 10,000 refugees at its restaurants worldwide, he said in a letter to employees on Jan. 29 that’s posted on Starbucks’s website.
The move is a swift, direct response to Donald Trump’s executive order to effectively ban people from predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. (including Somalia and Sudan), including refugees fleeing wars. As Schultz sees it, Starbucks’ new pledge is designed to ring an alarm bell with a vigor that the moment calls for.
“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,” he said in the letter. “These uncertain times call for different measures and communication tools than we have used in the past.”
Starbucks is hashing together a plan to hire 10,000 of the world’s 65 million refugees over the next five years in the 75 countries where it operates stores, starting with the U.S. market.
Under Schultz’s direction, Starbucks has long viewed business and what’s been called ethical retailing, or conscious capitalism, as related paths. And Schultz has carved a distinct niche as a social-activist CEO, of sorts. He has repeatedly pointed to his upbringing in a low-income family in the Bayview Housing projects in Brooklyn New York as informing his philanthropic outlook.
It’s one that’s reflected in Starbucks’ policies, such as its pioneering move in 1988 to offer health insurance for part time workers, to backing causes from high unemployment to countering racism.