Between their massive environmental footprint and sketchy Fair Trade purchasing track record, Starbucks has its share of questionable business practices. Not to mention the fact that with 16,000 stores worldwide, they’re edging out local businesses at a Walmart-level rate. Sometimes “evil” corporations can do good though, and that’s just what Starbucks did this week.
During a Q&A session following the annual shareholders meeting last week, Jonathan Baker, member of the ironically named National Organization for Marriage, attacked Starbucks for their decision to uphold marriage equality on the ballot this fall in Washington state. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz replied, “I would assure you that the senior team of Starbucks discussed this, and it was, to be candid with you, not something that was a difficult decision for us. We made that decision in our view through the lens of humanity and being the kind of company that embraces diversity.”
NOM has since launched an international boycott that seems to have had little effect. As of today, their online petition has yet to break the 25,000 mark. On the other hand, SumOfUs has started a Thank You card for the coffee chain, hoping to get 500,000 signatures standing in support. As of right now, they have over 460,000!
While they may not be a shining beacon of squeaky clean ethics, Starbucks has done a rad thing by standing up for marriage equality. Despite NOM’s best attempts to derail the conversation, or maybe even because of them, other Fortune 500 companies should note that taking a stand for equality is safe political ground. It’s easy to point out everything that’s wrong with a corporation, but when they do something right, it should be acknowledged. So thank you, Starbucks!
Image source SumOfUs