U.S | Key Takeaways from Starbucks Shareholders Meeting

On the heels of CEO Kevin Johnson announcing his retirement from the company, Starbucks recently held its annual shareholders meeting. Besides addressing the leadership succession plan, Starbucks executives discussed hot topics with their shareholders, including unions, expansion plans and environmental goals.

Here are some key takeaways from the shareholders meeting:

  • Expansion Goals

Starbucks is not slowing down its international expansion plans with a goal of reaching 55,000 stores globally by 2030.

“Continued investments in partners-focused initiatives will enable the company to continue to introduce the Starbucks experience to a growing number of customers and satisfy their shifting preferences to meet customers wherever they are,” Starbucks said in a statement.

  • Plans to go Zero-Waste

With the recent announcement that Starbucks will be ditching its iconic paper cups completely by 2025, the company is entering a new era of serious environmental stewardship. Starbucks announced in the shareholders meeting a plan to go zero-waste in the long-run.

“I genuinely feel like I'm working for a company that does care. In the initiatives such as moving towards paper straws, moving towards eliminating unnecessary plastics and sustainable packaging is wonderful,” Brady Brewer, Starbucks chief marketing officer said during the shareholder meeting.

“We’re starting with a 50 percent reduction in our carbon, water, and waste footprints by 2030. Over the past two years, we've made meaningful progress towards those goals with coffee farmers, our suppliers, our licensees, and our partners, with a focus on testing and innovating, and learning to create bold and scalable sustainability solutions, all for the betterment of people, coffee, and the planet.”

  • Addressing Unions as Pressure Mounts from Critics

With investor group Trillium (among other high-profile Starbucks investors) recently calling out Starbucks for its apparent anti-union activities and after the National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint against the coffee chain for illegally penalising two workers that were seeking to unionise their store, Starbucks briefly addressed the struggles of union relations.

“I recognise the evolving backdrop of union discussions continues to present uncertainty requires more progress in is a point on which different views exist,” Kevin Johnson said.

“But I want to assure our partners that no matter the outcome, Starbucks fundamental commitment to its partners will remain. We have always been a people focused company dedicated to doing right by our partners and our customers. Staying true to the vision of our Starbucks is the only true path forward.”

  • Becoming More Community-Orientated

Starbucks also announced at the meeting a goal of “enhancing the lives of one billion people,” or one-eighth of the world’s population, by 2030 through more philanthropic and community initiatives like more community stores, and a commitment to “uplifting” workers in coffee-growing communities. Specific details on these initiatives were not given at the time.