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Starbucks, Responding to Investor Pressure, Steps Up

October 30, 2018: This week Starbucks took a significant step in demonstrating its commitment to workforce diversity. The company published data containing detailed information about the gender and minority-status for all 277,000 employees. Employees are categorized across five high-level roles and also categorized by companywide racial and ethnic data. The chart provides meaningful disclosures alongside diversity goals and initiatives focused on attracting and retaining women and underrepresented minorities in its workforce.
Last fall Trillium Asset Management filed a shareholder proposal asking Starbucks to report this exact information as a way to measure the company’s progress in increasing gender and racial diversity across the company. We presented the proposal at the annual meeting in May and we were pleased to receive 34.7% of shareholder support– evidence that this issue is of great importance to many Starbucks shareholders. Investors care for good reason too – research has found that diversity can impact the bottom line. According to 2017 research by Morgan Stanley, companies with higher gender diversity tend to have better fundamentals and better risk-adjusted performance. Additionally research from McKinsey & Company has found companies with highly diverse executive teams had higher returns on equity and earnings performance than those with low diversity.[1] With this newly disclosed chart investors can better assess whether the company is successfully capturing the potential business value associated with a highly diverse workforce.
We commend Starbucks for taking this important step and for engaging in a productive dialogue over the last year. By sharing this information we believe Starbucks contributes to a culture of transparency and accountability. By measuring and disclosing diversity data, companies can better identify areas of strength and opportunity and demonstrate the effectiveness of their initiatives. We look forward to future dialogue to discuss Starbuck’s progress and its strategy.


Founded in 1982, Trillium Asset Management is the oldest investment advisor focused exclusively on sustainable and responsible investing. Trillium manages over $2 billion in assets for clients including individuals, foundations, endowments, religious institutions, and other non-profits. Trillium leverages the power of stock ownership to promote social and environmental change while providing both impact and performance to our investors. To learn more, please visit www.trilliuminvest.com.
For more information: Brianna Murphy, Trillium Asset Management BMurphy@trilliuminvest.com, 617-532-6662
Important disclosure: The information provided in this material should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell the security mentioned. It should not be assumed that investments in such security has been or will be profitable. To the extent a specific security is mentioned, it was selected by the authors on an objective basis to illustrate views expressed in the commentary and it does not represent all of the securities purchased, sold or recommended for advisory clients. The information contained herein has been prepared from sources believed reliable but is not guaranteed as to its timeliness or accuracy, and is not a complete summary or statement of all available data. This piece is for informational purposes and should not be construed as a research report.
[1] https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/why-diversity-matters