Starbucks Outlines Initiatives to Improve Diversity

    The coffee chain wants minority representation in at least 30 percent of all corporate roles. 

    Fast Food | October 2020 | Ben Coley
    Starbucks white cup.
    Starbucks
    On Wednesday, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson unveiled inclusion and diversity goals, including a mentorship program for minorities and tying diversity to executive compensation.

    Ahead of its 50th anniversary in 2021, Starbucks is continuing its commitment to inclusion and diversity by targeting employee development, corporate leadership, and community partnerships. 

    In a letter Wednesday, CEO Kevin Johnson outlined actions the coffee chain planned to pursue, including a mentorship program connecting Black, Indigenous, and people of color workers to senior leaders and investing in organizations that focus on developing the talent of minorities. As part of the initiative, inclusion and diversity modules and anti-bias training will be a part of hiring, development, and performance toolkits. 

    To hold leadership accountable, Starbucks will start tying inclusivity and diversity to executive compensation, and leaders of the company will complete mandatory, two-hour anti-bias training and racial bias courses. Additionally, the brand will create an Inclusion and Diversity Executive Council to ensure the objectives toward diversity are carried out appropriately. 

    Along the way, Starbucks will publicly share data of its diversity. The chain’s goal is for at least 30 percent of all corporate roles and at least 40 percent of all retail and manufacturing roles to be represented by Black, Indigenous, and people of color workers by 2025. 

    For corporate positions, 81.4 percent of senior vice presidents and higher are white. In addition, 67.9 percent of vice presidents, 71.8 percent of directors, and 72.9 percent of managers are white. 

    At the retail level, 76.5 percent of regional vice presidents, 72.9 percent of regional directors, and 70 percent of district managers are white. Meanwhile 51.4 percent of baristas and 55.6 percent of shift supervisors are white. In manufacturing, 87.5 percent of directors and 68.3 percent of managers are white. 

    In the U.S. overall,  53.5 percent of employees are white, 26.9 percent are Hispanic, 8 percent are Black, 5.5 percent are Asian, 4.7 are multiracial, 0.6 percent American Indian or Alaskan Native, and 0.6 percent Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.  

    “We know that a more inclusive environment will create a flywheel that leads to greater diversity, and thereby greater equity and opportunity for all,” Johnson said in the letter. “Greater diversity enables us to better fulfill our mission. … While we have made progress in many areas, we know that there is still more work to be done.”

    To assist communities, the Starbucks Foundation plans to increase its investment in local areas via $1.5 million in grants for almost 400 nonprofit organizations that serve Black communities. The Foundation will also use $5 million to begin a two-year initiative that will help nonprofits serving youth in the Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities. 

    As Johnson explained in the letter, this isn’t Starbucks' first foray into promoting diversity. Two years ago, the brand closed its 8,000 company-owned stores for anti-bias training. Starbucks also partnered with Arizona State University to create a racial bias curriculum and held a civil rights assessment led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. 

    “We have a responsibility to build bridges and create environments where all are welcome,” Johnson said. “Our journey continues as we are guided by intentionality, transparency and accountability.”