December 16, 2022, Shanghai - Starbucks has been named as a “2022 Aon China Best ESG Employer” by leading global human resource consultancy Aon China. One of the most influential awards in China’s human resource industry, it comprehensively evaluates close to 200 companies on their environmental, social and governance practices, based on a combination of collected data and employee perception. Starbucks stood out for its outstanding performance in partner care, corporate social responsibility and sustainable development.
“Starbucks is proud, and humbled, to be recognized as 2022 Aon China Best ESG Employer. Since entering China more than two decades ago, we have been committed to not only sharing our love for coffee, but also helping to build thriving communities and a greener environment,” said Belinda Wong, chairwoman and chief executive officer of Starbucks China. “Our commitment to ESG is unwavering. We will always be a company that puts people first – from our partners (employees) to our customers and communities across China.”
The accolade came after Starbucks was recently awarded for “Employer Excellence China” for the 10th straight year by leading Chinese online human resource platform 51job.com. The company was also recently recognized in the inaugural “Shanghai Charity Awards” organized by the Shanghai government, and received the “Rural Revitalization Action Award” in the 2022 Ifeng Action League held by leading Chinese portal website ifeng.com.
Exceeding Partners’ Expectations
Partners are the heartbeat of Starbucks. The company strongly believes that by exceeding the expectations of partners, they will in turn exceed customers’ expectation. Since the beginning, its mission has always been to take care of partners and their families, and helping them to realize their goals and career aspirations.
This commitment has been translated into a range of innovative partner investments and benefits in China. In 2017, Starbucks introduced a first-of-its-kind program to provide critical illness insurance for parents of eligible partners. Just last year, it launched “14th Month Pay”, a pioneering initiative giving retail partners an additional month’s salary as bonus on top of the 13th month pay they are eligible for, to be paid out at the end of every financial year. Partners can also select from a wide array of innovative flexible benefits such as HPV vaccinations and ‘pawternal’ care for new pets.
Starbucks China partners enjoy opportunities to pursue their coffee passion and career aspirations through initiatives such as talent exchange and barista championships, among others. The company also operates 12 signing stores in China, creating more employment opportunities for partners who are Deaf and hard of hearing, and dedicated spaces to celebrate Deaf and sign language culture.
Building thriving communities
Starbucks is committed to helping the communities it serves to thrive. Since 2012, it has been operating a Farmer Support Center in Yunnan, offering free open-source agronomy expertise and resources to help farmers grow better quality coffee and improve their livelihoods. A month ago, Starbucks announced its largest social impact investment to date in China, donating 17 million RMB (~US$2.5 million) to launch the “Beautiful Rural Community Project”, which will elevate the livelihoods of Yunnan communities by integrating coffee farming and tourism, connecting urban coffee lovers to farmers at the origin. It builds on previous projects that provided capacity building and livelihoods training for farmers, enhanced education and health examinations for children, and ‘smart’ agricultural practices to increase coffee yield leveraging big data and technology.
Beyond Yunnan, Starbucks has transformed the lives of underserved groups across China through programs such as ‘Reading for the Future’ to promote literacy for rural children, and ‘Rural Women Accelerator’ to teach rural ethnic minority women skills in local handicrafts and support them in marketing their work. The Beijing Starbucks Foundation was established in 2020, and has funded an ‘Inclusion Enabler’ program to support training and job placements opportunities for youth from the intellectual disability community, as well as various disaster relief efforts. Every April, Starbucks China partners celebrate Global Month of Good (GMOG) by taking part in local community service activities, contributing over 1.5 million service hours to date.
Advancing sustainability across the value chain
In the area of sustainability, Starbucks takes a comprehensive approach that addresses every stage of the coffee journey ‘from bean to cup’. At the first 10 feet, the Starbucks Yunnan Farmer Support Center has trained over 30,000 farmers on sustainable farming practices, with 2,860 farms verified through the Starbucks Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices. It has also invested US$156 in building a Starbucks China Coffee Innovation Park which will feature Starbucks most sustainable roasting facility globally when operational in 2023. Starbucks introduced its ‘Greener Store’ framework into China last year with the opening of the Greener Store Lab in Shanghai, with plans to operate 2,500 Greener Stores in the market by 2025. It also inspires customers to make small changes toward more sustainable lifestyles with the introduction of plant-based food and beverage menu, lower-waste packaging, and discounts for customers who bring their own mugs.
China is Starbucks largest and fastest growing international market, with more than 60,000 partners who proudly wear the green apron. The company plans to create 35,000 new job positions in the market by 2025, to provide partners more fulfilling career opportunities while giving back to local communities and helping to build a leading specialty coffee industry in China.