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Starbucks case study

EOS Engagement Impact

Fast reading

  • Starbucks has made positive steps towards meeting our expectations for sustainable packaging and diversity and inclusion. It has pledged to use 5-10% recycled content across all plastic packaging by 2025 and to take action for 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.
  • The company has also appointed a global chief inclusion and diversity officer and expanded its inclusion and diversity strategy mandating anti-bias training for senior employees.

Human rights violations and single-use packaging, particularly plastic, create financial, regulatory and reputation risks for consumer goods sector investors.

That’s why, ahead of Starbucks' 2019 annual meeting, EOS informed the company of our recommended support for a shareholder proposal on sustainable packaging. This was due to our concerns regarding the long-range impacts of the continued growth in plastics and materials use without significant changes in how packaging is used by companies and consumers.

We co-signed a letter with investors in the Plastics Solutions Investor Alliance, asking the company to engage in expanded dialogue on the problem of plastic pollution and, further, to expand its reusable containers and recycling practices at its stores.

In Q2 2019, the company acknowledged the increasing regulatory risks of plastic packaging across its global footprint and shared its intentions to establish a wider range of impact-based goals for packaging, plastics, cup re-use and waste diversion. It published its resource-positive ambition in Q1 2020. We welcomed its 2030 sustainability commitment for a 50% reduction in waste, emissions and water, including a focus on increasing recycled content in plastic packaging.

In 2021, the company published its 2025 targets to tackle plastic packaging and accelerate a transition to a circular economy. Through its Ellen MacArthur Foundation New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, the company pledged to use 5-10% recycled content across all plastic packaging by 2025 and to take action for 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

The company appointed a global chief inclusion and diversity officer in 2020 and expanded its inclusion and diversity strategy in 2021, which mandated its anti-bias training for vice president levels and above. We also
welcomed the company’s commissioned Civil Rights Assessment, which has been conducted by a third party
annually since 2019, and the company has expressed a commitment to sustaining a “third place” where everyone
should feel welcome.

We will continue to follow the company’s progress against packaging and culture metrics. We will be encouraging transparent disclosure on absolute reductions in plastic packaging and scalable solutions and more specific and ambitious actions to achieve its commitments to eliminate unnecessary packaging and influence the transition from single to reuse models. We will also encourage reporting on gender and ethnic wage gaps. Additionally, EOS will prioritise future engagement on the nexus of biodiversity and climate change issues.

Case studies are shown to demonstrate engagement, EOS does not make any investment recommendations and the information is not an offer to buy or sell securities.

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EOS Client Service and Business Development

Amy D’Eugenio,
Head of Client Service and Business Development, EOS