Starbucks CEO Pushes Back Against Bigotry
When Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ CEO sent a message to investors who had a preference for “traditional marriage” over gay marriage, some shareholders were shocked.
“Starbucks embraces diversity of all types,” Schultz told a shareholder meeting in 2013. “You should sell your shares an invest in some other company,” Schultz said. “Not every decision is an economic decision,” the CEO added. “The lens through which we are calling the decision is the lens of our employees.”
Formes claimed Schultz was being a bit intolerany of any shareholders opposed to gay marriage for moral or religious reasons. Tom Strobhar, a shareholder, said that Starbucks experienced a drop in revenue folloying a boycott by traditional marriage supporters when Starbucks embraced diversity. Schultz told him to sell his shares if he didn’t agree with the company’s pro-diversity position.
Support for gay marriage in America has been rising notwithstanding strong opposition from the political right and the religious.
Proponents of a same-sex marriage policy only have also seen an increase in intolerance. Many who participated in the Starbucks’ boycott were hailed as bigots despite the revenue drop.
In response to the issue, DumpStarbucks.com had gained supporters who refuse to buy from the coffee chain.
As recently as early February, Trump supporters have targeted Starbucks. A threatened boycott by conservatives has served to boost the image of America’s 2nd largest coffee retailer.
Trump supporters now have another reason to picket Starbucks. The company plans to hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years in response to Trump’s Executive Order barring refugees from entering America.
Despite the dual threats, Starbucks is holding it’s ground and experts are saying that’s the right decidion.
Chris Allieri, founder of Mulberry & Astor, a marketing firm, told Business Insider, “Bold action (on Starbucks’ part) will pay off.”
Throughout its history, Starbucks has mastered lessons about mixing business and politics. In the process the company has built its brand without hurting sales.
One lesson learned is back up words with actions. In 2015 Starbucks had to backtrack on a push to raise awareness surrounding America’s racial issues. During the campaign employees wrote “Race Together” on cups.
Following a thorough bipartisan mocking, the company stopped the cup-centric campaign and began opening shops in minority neighborhoods.