Message from Laks: Starbucks Promises Day

This week, we gathered as partners from around the world to celebrate our inaugural Starbucks Promises Day – a new tradition recognizing our people, our communities and our culture, and furthering the meaningful global impact we make through every cup of coffee we serve.

Starbucks Partners, Alumni, and Friends of the extended Starbucks community –

As the leader in coffee, we are determined to respect and support everyone and everything that enables us to serve each cup: our partners, customers, farmers, communities, the environment, and our shareholders.  

A year ago, we set forth explicit aspirations of who we are at our best. These aspirations became our core promises. They drive our actions and give us a collective purpose. They are an expression of our foundational values and our commitment to one another. They shape our future. And they are built on a desire to make a difference in the lives of others.

These commitments are core to who we are at Starbucks. Equally, we are excited to think differently and inspire change around the future of coffee — from our farmers’ fields to our customers’ hands.

We gathered this week as Starbucks partners all around the world to celebrate our inaugural Promises Day — a new tradition to celebrate the heart and soul of Starbucks, to elevate the brand and to recognize our people and all those Starbucks influences and uplifts. It’s a time to recognize our global impact through every cup of coffee we serve and to inspire our future progress.

We commit to make this an annual celebration, grounded in our enduring aspiration to be a different kind of company that puts people first — with connection, coffee and craft at our core.

Beginning in our farmers’ fields, I’m proud of the many ways we’re leading in responsible coffee growing and sourcing. For us, this means sourcing our coffee from nearly half a million farmers, independently certified through our C.A.F.E. practices program. We’re pioneering new varieties of climate resistant coffee. We operate 10 open-source farmer support centers in coffee-growing regions around the world — our contribution to the industry and its future. Now more than ever, there is an opportunity to do good. And to offer hope.

I was delighted to announce that we plan to expand our footprint of coffee innovation farms to Asia, Africa and other parts of Latin America in the coming years. This network of four new farms will extend the impact of our work at Hacienda Alsacia. They will enable direct research on varietals and farming practices in different critical coffee growing geographies around the globe — while helping to mitigate the impact of climate change on the coffee supply. Throughout our history, Starbucks hasn’t shied away from the issues that challenge us. We look for ways to ignite conversation, to support our people and to contribute positively to communities across the globe.

Our leadership and heritage in coffee extends all the way to the cup of coffee crafted by baristas and delivered to our customers’ hands. That daily ritual and our central purpose to nurture human connection wouldn’t be possible, though, without the traditions, cultures and dedication to the craft of coffee pioneered by those who came before us. From Ethiopia to the Arabian Peninsula, Europe, Asia and the Americas, coffee culture continues to thrive and evolve.

In my year as ceo at Starbucks, I’ve had the opportunity to visit countries around the world. And I have experienced the unique ways coffee is produced, shared, celebrated and enjoyed. I’ve seen firsthand how coffee embodies a collective story of people — representing a daily ritual, a simple pleasure, an opportunity to connect with others. Celebrating our heritage in coffee — and recognizing coffee culture has enriched humanity for centuries — drives us to innovate further.

Traditionally, India is known for its love of tea, but coffee was first introduced in 1670. Since then, coffee has been cultivated and has flourished — new ways of coffee farming and varietals have also been developed to better suit the wet, shadier, growing conditions. India has also grown its own café culture, and now is one of Starbucks fastest-growing markets in the world. Later this year, we plan to launch a new India Monsooned Malabar Starbucks Reserve Coffee sourced from coffee growers in India across our portfolio of Reserve stores.

In China, coffee culture is in its early days, but it is growing rapidly. Coffee consumption quickly erupted after cafe culture landed in cities like Shanghai. These cafes specialize in more than just coffee. It’s about the experience. From here, we expect China to develop and mature into a much larger and tiered market as per capita consumption continues to rise.

And, harkening back to the Italian cafes that first inspired our brand, in May we are heading to Milan to celebrate the official launch of Starbucks Milano Duetto. Embodying the duality of day and night, and the distinct tastes of light and dark roasts — Starbucks Milano Duetto will be one coffee blend, roasted in two distinct ways.

These are just a glimpse at how we are continuing to appeal to the evolving tastes of our global customers. And as Starbucks continues to redefine coffee with the next generation of customers, we plan to launch new coffee experience pop-ups in select cities in the U.S. and around the world next year. At these pop-ups, customers will be able to experience and enjoy exclusive, limited-edition coffee beverages and unexpected flavor pairings. At the same time, the pop-ups also provide us with an opportunity to engage, interact with and learn from our increasingly diverse global customers — and to make the lexicon we use to describe our coffee more inclusive for younger consumers. This is an opportunity to tell our story — the story of coffee — in new and unexpected ways.

We also proudly announced that we are donating the next few months of proceeds from the sales of Starbucks Odyssey Blend whole bean coffee in North America to World Central Kitchen, our long-standing partner, in support of their efforts to address hunger around the world, including in the Middle East. This follows last month’s joint donation of $3 million from The Starbucks Foundation and Alshaya Starbucks to WCK, helping fund one million meals for people in Gaza.

In our celebrations this week, I was moved by the stories of partners from widely different backgrounds and cultures — all of whom have built deep connections to the communities they serve. It reminded me of the uniqueness of our culture here at Starbucks. It shows that our promises aren’t just words — they are actions. And because of Starbucks tremendous reach, our actions create a meaningful impact around the world. We touch hundreds of millions of lives a year — not just our partners and customers, but also nearly a half-million farmers. Their families. Our suppliers. And all those who make the Starbucks Experience possible. And it is our passion for coffee culture that unifies us through craft and ritual, and is the bedrock of our decision to bring Global Barista Championships to Starbucks as announced this week.

As I shared, I am so proud of the actions we are taking to deliver on our promises to: Bridge to a better future for our partners, uplift the everyday of our customers, ensure the future of coffee for all, contribute positively to our communities and give more to the environment than we take. And when we do these things, we make possible our promise to deliver sustainable, long-term returns for our shareholders. 

Thank you all for your service to one another, to Starbucks, and to our future together.