A Message From Howard Schultz: Make it Personal – 2008 Leadership Conference Recap

October 29, 2008

Dear Partners,

I don't know if I can articulate my impressions of the fantastic week we have had in New Orleans at our 2008 North America Leadership Conference. The experience has been truly remarkable as the power of 10,000 partners was unleashed to help the citizens of New Orleans and to move Starbucks forward.

I am so proud to have experienced the enthusiasm and the excitement with Starbucks partners, who participated in community service activities, and contributed ideas to further our transformation journey. I have also been very touched when I witnessed our partners reconnecting with old friends and making new acquaintances, which reaffirmed how much we care for one another. I am encouraged by what we have planned and know that you will be inspired by the news your store managers, SSC and SCI leaders will share with you when they return home.

Today, during the Leadership Conference General Session, we announced several important initiatives that will benefit both partners and customers. They are:

Our Starbucks Mission -- Earlier this year, partners from all levels of the company seriously examined what the Mission Statement and Guiding Principles mean today. They met for countless hours over several months in order to evolve the Mission Statement and Guiding Principles into Our Starbucks Mission.

We wanted to bring the behavioral concepts of our six Guiding Principles to life in words that, we believe, are right for the time. We wanted Our Starbucks Mission to respect our past and focus on how we live the Mission every day through Our Coffee, Partners, Customers, Stores, Neighborhood and Shareholders. We also wanted to capture not just the timeless aspects of our Guiding Principles, but also articulate what we see as most important for our future. I believe that we have arrived at a Mission that will resonate with all partners and continue to guide us towards success.

A PDF of Our Starbucks Mission and a Partner Q&A document are attached. Please visit Starbucks.com, the Store Portal or Partner Portal for additional information.

New Store Tools -- Our store partners provide uplifting experiences for our customers each and every day. To continue providing the highest levels of customer service, we must provide partners with the resources and tools needed to be successful. We are investing in our future by rolling out a variety of new store tools.

Probably the most requested resource has been laptops for stores and I am happy to announce that through an agreement with HP, all company-operated stores in the U.S., Canada and the UK will receive laptops. Other store tools include:

  • Mobile Devices for district managers in U.S. and Canada company-operated stores and operations project managers in licensed stores
  • New Point of Sale (POS) System for U.S. and Canada company-operated and UK stores
  • New Web-based Labor Scheduling Tool for U.S. and Canada company-operated and UK stores
  • Retail Dashboard for U.S. and Canada company-operated stores
  • Starbucks Gold Cards for U.S. company-operated stores
  • Retail Management Incentive Program for U.S. company-operated district managers and store managers

Renewed Commitment to Communities -- As part of Starbucks™ Shared Planet™, we have announced 13 measurable goals to be achieved by 2015. As part of this commitment, 100 percent of our coffee will be responsibly grown and ethically traded; 100 percent of Starbucks cups will be reusable or recyclable; we will significantly reduce our environmental footprint through energy and water conservation, recycling and green construction; and our partners will contribute one million community service hours per year.

Renewed Commitment to Small-scale Coffee Farmers -- Starbucks will double its purchases of Fair Trade Certified™ Coffee from 20 million pounds to 40 million pounds in 2009, making us the largest purchaser of Fair Trade Certified™ coffee in the world. Starbucks, Transfair USA and the FairTrade Labeling Organization will explore integrating the verification process for Fair Trade Certified and Starbucks Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices.

(Product) RED Partnership -- As an added surprise, I was thrilled to bring Bono, my good friend and a great friend of Starbucks, to New Orleans to help announce our multi-year partnership with (PRODUCT) RED™ as part of the Starbucks™ Shared Planet™ commitment to communities. Starting November 27, 2008, the first products to go (RED) in our stores will be our Holiday beverage trio. Five cents from the sale of these beverages at all company-operated and licensed stores in the U.S. and Canada will go to the Global Fund to invest in AIDS programs in Africa. As a result, we will raise millions of dollars over the life of the partnership.

Thank you to the partners who spent countless hours planning, developing, and implementing these new initiatives as well as the dedicated partners who helped deliver such an amazing Leadership Conference.

Coming into the Conference, I acknowledged that I feel we are being tested and challenged. However, after my time in New Orleans, I am even more confident in what I see ahead and believe that when we look back at this time, we will see it as a major turning point for our company.

In closing, I want to emphasize that the key to our success lies in our values, our culture and the relationships we have with our partners and customers. When we're at our best, we create emotional experiences for people that really enhance their lives.

I have never been so proud to be your partner. I give you my heartfelt thanks and gratitude for all you have done and will do for Starbucks. The equity of the brand, the experience and everything we have accomplished is because of you. So, after months of creating and implementing our Transformation Agenda, it is now complete. We are moving into the next phase, which is execution with a clear focus on operational excellence. And, we are asking every partner for a renewed commitment and to MAKE IT PERSONAL!