Starbucks’ Response, November 13 2020
Thank you for your email. We take this allegation seriously, as we have zero tolerance for forced labor and require all workers must be paid at least the legal minimum wage anywhere in our supply chain. The Starbucks Supplier Code of Conduct outlines the responsible business principles that we hold our suppliers to in company-operated markets, joint venture and geo licensed markets around the world. As soon as we receive an allegation of a violation of zero-tolerance standard, such as forced labor and/or any worker not paid at least the legal minimum wage, Starbucks and our licensed business partners pause any plans to continue doing business with the suppliers in question until we can verify that they are in full compliance with our stringent ethical sourcing requirements, or help them achieve those requirements.
When we became aware of the referenced complaint, we immediately followed our ethical sourcing compliance protocols and launched an investigation. Our licensed business partner in Thailand confirmed that this factory was their supplier’s subcontractor. The third-party auditor we engaged to conduct the investigation confirmed that the factory involved in the complaint did not meet Starbucks ethical sourcing standards. Based on that discovery and as the supplier did not remediate the non-compliance, so in accordance with Starbucks ethical sourcing compliance standards, our licensed business partner in Thailand have terminated their relationship with their supplier as of December 2019.
Since that time, our licensed business partner in Thailand engaged with local stakeholders to take the necessary steps towards remediation in accordance with local laws and regulations. Our business partner in Thailand has voluntarily contributed 600,000 baht to support the workers who were underpaid by the Kalayanee factory in Mae Sot, Thailand. We are working with local NGOs to ensure that our contribution will be properly distributed among the workers.