For the second year in a row, Starbucks Japan has been recognized with a Gold ranking from the PRIDE Index 2022, the highest honor for companies promoting diversity and inclusion of the LGBTQIA+ community in Japan. Starbucks also recently announced that it has donated more than 5 million yen (approximately $35,000 USD) to local non-profit partner ReBit, to expand a popular diversity and inclusion program which visits schools across Japan.
The Rainbow School Project was created to raise awareness of gender diversity and LGBTQIA+ inclusion, and help schools provide secure and welcoming spaces for all students. According to a ReBit survey of more than 2,670 LGBTQIA+ youth in Japan, there is a 5.7 year gap between when young people first begin to seek information about their sexuality and gender identity (average age 12.5) and when they feel they actually received answers for the first time (average age 18.2). This period of confusion can be isolating and lonely, so the Rainbow School Project was designed to create an open dialogue between students, teachers and the community, to embrace and celebrate diversity.
"We are delighted to be working with Starbucks Coffee Japan on this project for the third year," said Mika Yakushi, representative director of ReBit. "We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all Starbucks customers whose purchases went towards this donation. We hope that through this project, our collective efforts to increase the number of inclusive schools will spread throughout Japan."
In addition to donations, Starbucks baristas have participated in the school visits, sharing their experiences and encouragement to young people and spreading a culture of warmth and belonging beyond Starbucks stores to the wider community.