In this entry, Julian Omidi discusses the new Starbucks policy that is causing American businesses to think twice about animal welfare.
Many Americans begin their day with a Starbucks coffee and breakfast. People choose Starbucks because of their quality coffee and ethical business practices. According to their own website, in 2013, 95 percent of their coffee was ethically sourced through C.A.F.E. Practices, Fairtrade, or another externally audited program.
A recent company publication indicates that Starbucks will phase out eggs from caged chickens as well as pork products from pigs raised in gestation cages. The company is trying to figure out an appropriate timeline, but it has made a clear move toward a more sustainable business model. They haven’t released a time when cage-free eggs and pork raised outside of crates will be made available.
Outside Pressures to Change
Those concerned with the ethical treatment of animals have had a beef with Starbucks for some time. A group called the Humane League gathered over 100,000 signatures on a petition criticizing Starbucks for sourcing “the vast majority of their eggs from cruel battery cage farms.” They were calling for cage-free eggs to be used in all baked goods sold by the chain.
The group’s video pointed out that seven venti Starbucks cups can barely fit inside the space a hen spends her entire life in on some of the Starbucks farms. That comparison probably struck a chord with the chain’s patrons. Starbucks was founded on the principle of “standing for something more,” which is probably why they receive more scrutiny from the public than other franchises.
The policy change comes at the same time relevant California legislation takes effect on Jan. 1. The new laws mandate cage-free production and sale of eggs within the state. Nearly one-fifth of Starbucks stores in the U.S. are located in California.
A Game Changer for Animal Welfare
Though Starbucks is a single company, it is a $61 billion enterprise. Changes they make will ripple throughout their supply chain, having a large effect. The Humane Society’s director of food policy, Josh Balk, called the move a game changer.
The impact of this policy change will be felt far outside the walls of your local Starbucks. An industry leader moving forward on sustainable production will likely influence the entire industry. The future is looking better for animals all the time.
Thank you for reading,
The Omidi Brothers, Michael Omidi and Julian Omidi, are cofounders of several charities, including No More Poverty, The Children’s Obesity Fund, and Animal Support. Their work supports the betterment of creatures large and small.