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30th Jan 2017

Starbucks to hire 10,000 refugees in the next five years in response to Donald Trump’s travel ban

A brilliant gesture.

Conor Heneghan

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz made the promise in a letter to staff on Sunday.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has pledged to hire 10,000 refugees in the next five years in response to the travel ban implemented by US president Donald Trump last week.

On Friday, Trump signed an executive order placing a ban on citizens from seven countries – Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia, all of which are predominantly Muslim – from entering the United States, a ban that has caused much controversy and protest in the days since.

In a letter to employees on Sunday, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz wrote of his “deep concern” at the ban implemented by Trump, saying: “I write to you today with deep concern, a heavy heart and a resolute promise. Let me begin with the news that is immediately in front of us: we have all been witness to the confusion, surprise and opposition to the Executive Order that President Trump issued on Friday, effectively banning people from several predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States, including refugees fleeing wars.

“I can assure you that our Partner Resources team has been in direct contact with the partners who are impacted by this immigration ban, and we are doing everything possible to support and help them to navigate through this confusing period.”

Later in the letter, he wrote of developing plans to hire 10,000 refugees over five years in the 75 countries around the world where Starbucks does business.

“We have a long history of hiring young people looking for opportunities and a pathway to a new life around the world,” Schultz wrote.

“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.

“There are more than 65 million citizens of the world recognized as refugees by the United Nations, and we are developing plans to hire 10,000 of them over five years in the 75 countries around the world where Starbucks does business.

“And we will start this effort here in the U.S. by making the initial focus of our hiring efforts on those individuals who have served with U.S. troops as interpreters and support personnel in the various countries where our military has asked for such support.”

Schultz also wrote about “building bridges, not walls, with Mexico” and finished the letter by saying: “We are in business to inspire and nurture the human spirit, one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time – whether that neighbourhood is in a Red State or a Blue State; a Christian country or a Muslim country; a divided nation or a united nation. That will not change.  You have my word on that.”

You can read the letter in full here.