Global coffee giant Starbucks has said it will hire 10,000 refugees over next five years as it vowed to not "stand silent" in the face of US President Donald Trump's order to ban people from seven Muslim-majority nations and assured it will continue to nurture the human spirit.
"I write to you today with deep concern, a heavy heart and a resolute promise. We are living in an unprecedented time, one in which we are witness to the conscience of our country, and the promise of the American Dream, being called into question," Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz said in a message in the wake of Trump's order that has upended lives in the US as well as across the globe.
Schultz said the company will take specific actions to ensure people around the world that it will "neither stand by, nor stand silent as the uncertainty around the new Administration's actions grows with each passing day."
The Starbucks Chief announced that the company has had 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," he said.
Schultz said Starbucks is developing plans to hire 10,000 refugees over five years in the 75 countries around the world where it does business, including India.
"And we will start this effort here in the US by making the initial focus of our hiring efforts on those individuals who have served with US troops as interpreters and support personnel in the various countries where our military has asked for such support," he said.
Starbucks will also strengthen its business in the "critically important market" Mexico, which has been a target of Trump's policies. Schultz said the company has been open for business in Mexico since 2002, and have since opened almost 600 stores in 60 cities across the country, which together employ over 7,000 Mexican partners.
"We stand ready to help and support our Mexican customers, partners and their families as they navigate what impact proposed trade sanctions, immigration restrictions and taxes might have on their business and their trust of Americans. But we will continue to invest in this critically important market all the same," he said.
He also outlined Starbucks' plans to ensure healthcare coverage to its employees in the wake of Trump's plans to scrap Obamacare.
"We are in business to inspire and nurture the human spirit, one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time whether that neighborhood 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," Schultz said.
Trump's executive order, which imposed a minimum 90-day ban on immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen; refugees from Syria have been barred indefinitely), has sparked an outpouring of criticism.--PTI