Howard Schultz may no longer be in charge, but Starbucks won’t be stepping back from its progressive stances anytime soon.
“Will I continue on the social impact agenda as it relates to the core values of the company? Absolutely,” Kevin Johnson, who became Starbucks’ CEO on April 3, told Business Insider. “It is what allows us to attract the partners [Starbucks’ term for employees] who have an affinity to those values and who are here to serve customers.”
The coffee chain has taken action over the years on issues as varied as veteran unemployment, racism in America, and, most recently, supporting refugees. In January, days after President Trump announced an executive order attempting to ban all refugees from entering the US, Starbucks announced it planned to hire 10,000 refugees worldwide in the next five years.
As a result, Starbucks has become a target for boycotts. While the company has maintained that its initiatives are based on principles, not politics, some customers have accused the company of “political brainwashing.” In March, a representative for a conservative think tank said in a Q&A at Starbucks’ annual meeting that initiatives such as hiring refugees were both partisan and bad for business.
Johnson believes the exact opposite is true.
Starbucks’ decision to take action on certain social issues doesn’t just make for progressive feel-good stories, Johnson said. It is also a strategic way to attract and…