The Problem With the Starbucks Boycott

January 30th 2017

Kyle Jaeger

Outrage over Starbucks' plan to hire 10,000 refugees has culminated in a proposed boycott by social media users of the coffee company. But what appears to be missing from the online protest is an acknowledgement of the company's global interests.


People used #BoycottStarbucks to call out the company on Twitter for it's focus on refugees instead of veterans and other unemployed Americans.

Though Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said the effort would start with "individuals who have served with U.S. troops as interpreters and support personnel," the company announced Sunday that it would recruit refugees from 75 countries in total, pledging to hire 10,000 over the next five years.

In an open letter posted Sunday, which addresses Starbucks employees, Schultz wrote:

"We have a long history of hiring young people looking for opportunities and a pathway to a new life around the world. This is why we are doubling down on this commitment by working with our equity market employees as well as joint venture and licensed market partners in a concerted effort to welcome and seek opportunities for those fleeing war, violence, persecution and discrimination."

The announcement came two days after President Donald Trump signed an executive order barring immigration from seven, majority-Muslim countries. Several companies — including Nike, Apple, Google, and the ride-sharing service Lyft — have voiced opposition to the executive action.

It's estimated that at least 134 million people are affected by the immigration ban — including students and U.S. workers who were traveling abroad. About 157,000 of the coffee company's 238,000 employees work in the U.S.