TOM HUDSON: Now our focus turns to a big business that’s helping fund small
business. Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) began its “Create Jobs for USA” campaign
back in November, 2011. Customers get a wristband when they donate $5 or
more to help fund small business lending. Plenty of people have been
ordering those wristbands along with their lattes and iced coffees. In the
first three months of the strategy, it has raised more than $7 million in
donations. That was added to money from other sources to wind up with $50
million in loans for small companies. Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) estimated
the money was used to create or keep an estimated 2,300 U.S. jobs. We
spoke to Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) CEO Howard Schultz a few weeks after the
program began. What role does a public company that essentially is in the
restaurant and services industry have raising money for business lending
when it’s traditionally been a financial services and a banking industry
HOWARD SCHULTZ, CEO, STARBUCKS: I feel very strongly that Washington
has let us down. I don’t want to be a bystander and watch America drift
towards mediocrity and I want Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) to be the kind of
company that perhaps can be a model for others to say we can make a
difference. And at the same time we can build shareholder values.
Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) is having a record year, record revenue, record
profit. Our stock is close to the all-time high and yet we’re doing the
kind of things not only for the communities we serve but at the same time
giving health care to every single employee.
HUDSON: Some would point out that it’s that success that you are
having on the bottom line that has allowed Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) to make
the contributions on the benevolent side of the social ledger.
SCHULTZ: I think the consumer wants to support those companies or
products whose businesses they trust and whose values are compatible with
their own. And at the same time, I think business has to recognize that we
are in business to make a profit and build shareholder value.
HUDSON: According to Associated Press, the corporation, Starbucks
(NASDAQ:SBUX), spent over $100,000 lobbying in the third quarter on such
things as health care, food labels and debit card fees. Is business too
influential in politics in your estimation?
SCHULTZ: We are a for-profit business. We have issues that we have
to deal with and we have to protect our interest. But I think that when I
look at the numbers that were spent in 2008, over $4 billion and then $6
billion estimated to be spent on this election cycle is something
significantly and seriously wrong with the system and I don’t want to be a
part of it and I think most Americans are disgusted by it.
HUDSON: Couldn’t you argue Howard, though, it’s a market economy
when it comes to politics?
SCHULTZ: I think it’s a market economy that needs reform. I think
it needs balance. And I think most importantly we have a crisis of
confidence in this country because we have a crisis of leadership across
the board. I want America and the people who are being left behind to have
a voice and I’m not satisfied with the direction and the leadership that we
HUDSON: Howard Schultz with us this evening, thank you for your
comments. He is the chief executive officer of Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX).