Letter from Starbucks ceo: Affirming what we stand for

“We are a company with a Mission and Promises grounded in humanity and in giving.  We abhor hate. We strongly reject violence against the innocent. Our values deliver performance through the lens of humanity. We stand for courage, belonging and joy- with craft leading to results we deliver. And we pursue ambitious goals for our partners and stakeholders with intention, transparency and accountability.” Laxman Narasimhan, Starbucks ceo.

Starbucks Partners, Customers and Stakeholders, 

Starbucks has always been a company rooted in humanity. COVID-19 challenged us, like it did many companies. We did our best and kept wages and benefits available to our partners while our stores closed. Yet, we were not fully prepared for the magnitude of what was to come. The world changed, and we did not change quickly enough with it, but we learnt from this experience, and we reset our path.

These learnings led to us making large investments in our partners and stores, along with a strategy for reinvention. Building on the success of a year of transformation, we expanded our future strategy to be the “Triple Shot Reinvention - with Two Pumps,” which we unveiled in early November. And we doubled down on our people

Reinvigorating our partner culture is foundational for this future strategy — and one I personally will lead, along with our Board of Directors — overseen by the new Environmental, Partner and Community Impact Committee we set up.

Earlier this year, we launched our Mission and our Promises. They celebrate our past and the evolution of the company into the future.

Our Mission gives our partners agency, as every action leads to a higher order purpose: With every cup, with every conversation, and with every community, we nurture the limitless possibilities of human connection.

Our Promises frame our company at our best for each of our stakeholders. They come to life in our actions and in the actions of the hundreds of thousands of partners around the world.  For our partners, bridge to a better future.  For our customers, we uplift the everyday. For farmers, we ensure the future of coffee for all.  For our communities, we contribute positively. For the environment, at our best, we give more than we take. And that results in our promise to shareholders: deliver enduring long-term returns.  

The actions behind these Promises demonstrate that giving is at the core of who we are. We have always striven to be a different kind of company. But we do recognize we operate in a different kind of world. 

Narratives get shaped by external voices disconnected from the brand — and further amplified by others. As a giving company, we stand for humanity. We stand for human connection. We strongly abhor hate, violence and attacks on the innocent. Everywhere and at all times.  

In this dynamic, polarizing time, we have now launched the Values that support what we stand for.  Our Values enable us to deliver performance through the lens of humanity.   

We value our craft.  We value the results we achieve when we bring focus, integrity, and drive to our greatest ambitions. We value courage. We value belonging. And we value joy.

As evident during COVID-19 and its aftermath, we do not always get it right. Despite having the highest employee engagement scores and the lowest attrition rates in the restaurant industry, and industry-leading benefits, we know some of our partners have been dissatisfied. They’ve chosen to express it in the way they see fit — and they have the right to do so. We do believe in a direct relationship with our partners as a way to listen, grow and best deliver the brand. We also recognize our partners’ right to organize and our partners’ right to collectively bargain.

Recently, our chief partner officer, Sara Kelly, communicated with Workers United last week. On behalf of our company, she affirmed a shared goal with the union to progress negotiations. We have asked Workers United – on behalf of our represented partners - to work with us to break the gridlock and agree to a collective bargaining process with the hopeful goal of reaching agreements in 2024.

Starbucks has always been a different kind of company. We pursue ambitious goals for our partners and stakeholders with intention, transparency and accountability. With this, we will be taking a number of steps to ensure accountability by tracking progress against opportunities and solutions and will keep you informed of progress along the way. 

I’ve now been privileged to lead this company for eight months. I came to this country in 1991 as a migrant. I understand what it means to have a bridge to a better future. I came to Starbucks because we have a tremendous history in building this bridge to a better future for our partners. As I worked in stores, and as I heard the stories of many partners, I know we can do even more together.

It’s time for us to embrace the future and work together to get there. The need for humanity and human connection could not be more acute. When I look through the windows of our stores in the many parts of the world where we are present, it’s clear the need exists. I am confident that, collectively, we can find the way to unleash the limitless possibilities of human connection.

With respect, 

chief executive officer, Starbucks Coffee Company