Starbucks to hire 2,500 refugees across Europe by 2022

Nell Walker
- Leadership - Jun 26, 2017

With the United Nations Refugee Agency having identified 65 million people worldwide as being forcibly displaced, and 21 million of those being refugees, these people more than anybody else require – and deserve – a fresh start in life. In response to this, beverage giant Starbucks announced last January that it would employ 10,000 refugees globally by 2022.

Of the company’s various hiring initiatives, this appeared to cause the biggest backlash on social media in America, where the hashtag #BoycottStarbucks came into use. In Europe, however, the company has recently stated it will hire 2,500 refugees as part of the larger plan, and European fans of the brand seem to be quite content with the decision. Hiring has now begun on the continent.

The plan going into motion coincides with World Refugee Day, which fell on 20th of June, to show that huge businesses can – and should – help with such issues where they can. Last year alone, 360,000 refugees and migrants arrived in Europe, mostly from Syria, Iraq, and African countries. Some European Union members have not lived up to their obligations to take in some of these people, and legal proceedings are being launched against them, but for the nations that have welcomed refugees, Starbucks will help to ease the burden with its inclusive offer of employment.

According to Starbucks’s website, Kelly T. Clements, Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees at UNHCR, and David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee offered the following comments:

Clements: “Starbucks’ commitment shows how companies can tangibly help refugees. People forced to flee often arrive in new countries with specialist skills and the willingness to work hard. Above all, they want the dignity that comes with being able to support their own families. With jobs, refugees also integrate into their communities more quickly and bring tangible economic and social benefits. By signing the #WithRefugees petition and joining UNHCRs coalition we look forward to working further with Starbucks to show how we can all stand together #WithRefugees.” 

Miliband: “The IRC is thrilled to partner with Starbucks on their powerful and impactful commitment to hire 10,000 refugees globally over five years. One of the best ways for a refugee to integrate into a new community is through employment, and Starbucks’ pledge to provide these much-needed jobs will be a critical first step towards our clients’ self-sufficiency.” 

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