Starbucks Coffee Company has announced the establishment of the Starbucks China Education Project, a US$5 million commitment to support educational programs in China.
To oversee and advise on the development and structure of the Starbucks China Education Project, a steering committee will be formed with members comprised of Starbucks executives, Chinese government officials, the Soong Qing Ling Foundation and local community organizations. With this financial commitment, Starbucks plans to develop a strategic corporate social responsibility platform to strengthen its philanthropic and social commitments in China.
"At Starbucks, our commitment to social responsibility is an integral part of our culture and business practices," said Howard Schultz, chairman, Starbucks Coffee Company. "In China, we believe our philanthropic commitments will be significant, substantive and long-term. With the Starbucks China Education Project, we hope to take an active leadership role in working with the government authorities and local community organizations in contributing positively to China's educational programs."
Speaking at a press conference in Beijing attended by key Chinese government officials, local dignitaries and community leaders, Schultz said that being both a socially responsible and profitable business are not mutually exclusive. "Operating with a social conscience has always been a core purpose and competency at Starbucks," added Schultz. "It is part of our heritage and values. At our stores, our partners (employees) strive to be good neighbors and contributors in the communities where they live, work and play."
In six short years, China has become one of Starbucks fastest growing markets in the world. With more than 140 stores throughout mainland China, Starbucks believes that country will eventually be one of its largest markets outside of the United States. Having successfully established a strong brand presence in China, Starbucks is well positioned for rapid expansion into new regions throughout the country.
Since entering the China market in 1999, Starbucks store partners have been involved in ongoing community initiatives from volunteer opportunities with local schools to fund-raising activities in support of AIDS-afflicted orphans, local educational charities, and the recent tsunami victims in Southeast Asia.