Starbucks Says It Will Hire 15,000 More Veterans After Boycott Threats

Starbucks announced at its annual shareholders’ meeting on Wednesday that it hit its initial goal of hiring 10,000 veterans and military spouses one year ahead of the company’s 2018 deadline. The coffee chain is aiming to accomplish its new goal of hiring a total of 25,000 veterans by 2025.

“The numbers don’t tell the story. The story is the unbelievable heart, conscience, integrity, leadership skills of the people that we have been fortunate enough to bring into our company,” said Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO and chairman.

As part of its global expansion, more than 240,000 new jobs will be created globally over the next five years.

“We are still in the early stages of growth as we strive to meet our highest growth aspirations for the company,” said Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz, who is stepping down from the role next month to focus on the company’s premium Reserve brand.

The company has reaffirmed a separate commitment to hire thousands of refugees, which was announced after President Donald Trump’s original executive order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority nations.

That caused a backlash against the company, with financial analysts warning earlier this month that the “brand sentiment” had suffered since the announcement. In response, some customers started a #BoycottStarbucks campaign on social media, because Some customers thought that the coffee chain was hiring refugees instead of veterans, though Starbucks clarified that was incorrect.

Evan Hafer, an Army Special Forces veteran and CEO of the veteran-owned Black Rifle Coffee, said on “Fox & Friends” last month that he was looking to hire 10,000 veterans.

“Hiring vets is not PR for me; it’s who we are,” Hafer said.

However on Wednesday, the company announced partnerships with organizations dedicated to helping refugees develop skills and find jobs, including the International Rescue Committee, the UN Refugee Agency, and No One Left Behind. Starbucks also formally joined the the UN Refugee Agency’s #WithRefugees campaign, to express solidarity and support for refugees.

“Starbucks’ strong financial performance over the last 25 years as a publicly traded company has allowed for strategic investments in social impact initiatives – driving greater connection between partners and the millions of customers it serves in 75 countries worldwide,” the company said in a statement announcing its veteran and refugee hiring commitments.