In August 1996, Starbucks Coffee International (SCI) opened the first Starbucks location outside North America with a groundbreaking store in the high-fashion Ginza district of Tokyo, Japan. Since then, Starbucks has offered the highest quality arabica coffee, handcrafted beverages, and legendary service that combine to provide the unique Starbucks Experience to customers in nine countries in the Asia Pacific region. These countries include Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.
From our entry twelve years ago to the end of the second quarter of fiscal 2009, Starbucks has opened 1,744 locations throughout the region, nearly half of these in Japan. Recognizing the growing importance of Asia Pacific to Starbucks Coffee International operations and to ensure that customers receive a consistent Starbucks Experience, in 1999 the company invested in the region’s infrastructure by establishing the Starbucks Asia Pacific Support Center in Hong Kong. Leading the overall business strategy and operations for the region is Arun Bhardwaj, interim president, Starbucks Coffee Asia Pacific.
Asia Pacific has embraced the Starbucks Experience in our stores, as well as beyond retail locations. In September 2005, the company launched our first ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee beverage outside of North America, Starbucks Discoveries® chilled cup coffee, in Japan and Taiwan. Starbucks Discoveries® chilled cup coffee was developed to appeal specifically to the local taste preferences and lifestyles of Asian consumers and in 2007was introduced in South Korea.
Equally important to introducing innovations and sharing coffee expertise with customers is Starbucks™ Shared Planet™ – our commitment to doing business responsibly and conducting ourselves in ways that earn the trust and respect of our customers and neighbors. It is based on three actions: sourcing our coffee ethically, acting as good stewards of the environment, and being actively involved in our communities.
As part of our Starbucks™ Shared Planet™ commitment, Starbucks and the Starbucks Foundation established a $1.5 million, three-year partnership with Save the Children to help improve the health, nutrition, and developmental status of children under the age of five in the Aceh province in Sumatra, Indonesia. Through the BLEND program, Save the Children will work to improve the lives of more than 2,000 children under the age of five in 40 remote villages in the Gayo Mountains (communities which depend heavily on the growth and export of arabica coffee beans). The program will also benefit mothers, siblings, health community workers and teachers.
Throughout the Asia Pacific region, Starbucks works closely with various non-profit organizations such as Child Cancer Foundation, Pathlight School for autistic students, Unicef, Youthline and Women’s Refuge. Stores have also participated in grass-roots programs like Grounds for Your Garden, Holiday Angels Toy Drive, and Christmas Open House. Partners give generously of their time to address environmental issues and improve the lives of those within their communities – activities that range from visiting orphanages or the elderly in Indonesia to participating in National Tree Day in Australia.
Twice in the past decade Starbucks has led significant fundraising efforts to provide relief for natural disasters. In response to the devastating 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia, Starbucks made an initial contribution of US$100,000 to two international relief organizations – CARE and Oxfam UK. Additionally, a gift of US$2 was made for every pound of Indonesian whole bean coffee - Sumatra, Decaf Sumatra and Aged Sumatra – purchased during January 2005 in company-operated stores in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Germany.
In support of people affected by a major earthquake near the city of Yogyakarta on Indonesia’s island of Java in 2006, Starbucks made an initial donation of US$50,000 to relief and recovery efforts in the area – including US$25,000 of our partners’ individual contributions. Additionally, across many Asia Pacific markets in the following weeks, the company donated 10 percent of all brewed Sumatra and Sulawesi proceeds and 10 percent of proceeds from Sumatra, Sulawesi and Estate Java whole bean sales.