VCIM persuades Starbucks to report on Arabica bean sustainability.

Vancity Investment Management (VCIM) challenged the supply chain sustainability practices of the world’s largest coffeehouse chain, Starbucks. The Arabica coffee bean is a vital component of the coffee giant’s operations. It is also considered a biodiversity risk and climate sensitive species.

In its shareholder proposal, VCIM brought attention to Starbucks’ dependency on Arabica coffee beans which come from a wild coffee species under threat from climate change and deforestation. The Seattle-based coffee giant buys approximately three per cent of the world’s coffee.

“The choices businesses make have a huge influence on people’s lives,” said Kelly Hirsch, VCIM’s head of ESG analysis. “At their worst, they cause and contribute to environmental destruction.”

The power of shareholders' engagement.

Through shareholder engagement, VCIM urged Starbucks to examine and publicly report on the implications of their coffee sourcing practices on biodiversity loss and associated financial risks.

Following constructive discussions, Starbucks made the commitment (see page 20) to publicly report on its Arabica coffee bean supply chain and in accordance with the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) framework. In response, VCIM voluntarily withdrew the proposal.

This marks a significant win and underscores the power of shareholder engagement in driving corporate environmental responsibility. “VCIM’s engagement work is rooted in the conviction that shareholders have the power to actively press companies to a more sustainable future,” Kelly adds.

Last year, VCIM had a similar victory when they proposed a closer look at Costco’s biodiversity, urging the multi-national warehouse supplier to examine its food supply-chain practices.

To learn more about how VCIM focuses on investments that deliver competitive returns while making a positive impact on the world, read the full VCIM Engagement Report.


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