CBS Local– Starbucks plans to hire 2,500 refugees to work in its European stores within five years as part of a global commitment, the coffee chain confirmed this week.
The chain aims to hire those 2,500 refugees to work in eight European countries: the U.K., France, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Germany and the Netherlands. Starbucks said it plans to work with NGOs such as the International Rescue Committee and the Refugee Council in its recruitment efforts, but has not released a breakdown per country.
The first 2,500 refugees are part of a larger plan to hire 10,000 worldwide, including in the U.S. The global plan will add only a small percentage of new workers to its current 250,000 employees, and Starbucks also announced Tuesday that 1,000 refugees will be hired in Canada.
The global commitment was first announced in January by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz in an email to employees. The latest announcement arrived Tuesday despite U.S. backlash from consumers calling to boycott Starbucks with #BoycottStarbucks trending on social media.
Some of President Trump’s supporters also used the #AmericaFirst to express anger that the Seattle-based company would offer employment to refugees who are not originally from the U.S. instead of American-born citizens.
“We will start this effort here in the U.S. by making the initial focus of our hiring efforts on those individuals who have served with U.S. troops as interpreters and support personnel,” Schultz said in an email to Starbucks employees.
Starbucks stores in the U.K., like other chains, are facing the possibility of having fewer baristas after the nation voted to leave the European Union during the Brexit referendum.
The coffee retail sector largely relies on European migrant labor, according to a recent study from the research firm Allegra Insights.
Starbucks previously blamed Brexit for a slowdown in profits and sales in the year to October 2016, claiming the vote had contributed to “weakening consumer confidence.”