Starbucks CEO to Receive ‘Climate CatasTROPHY’ From PETA

Trophy Slams Company’s Executive Over Vegan Milk Upcharge

For Immediate Release:
July 28, 2022

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382


For not giving a frap about the planet and profiting by charging extra for vegan milk despite cow’s milk’s contribution to the company’s huge carbon footprint, a Climate Catastrophy from PETA—featuring a model of a cow and a planet on fire along with a cup emblazoned with “More Bucks for Starbucks”—is about to be delivered to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. Chief Sustainability Officer Michael Kobori and Head of Sustainability Una Hrnjak will also receive Climate Catastrophies for their failure to put the plant milk surcharge out to pasture.

Together with the mock trophies, PETA is including letters to each of the chain’s executives, pointing out that dairy milk production causes around three times more greenhouse gas emissions than plant milk production—and causes immeasurable suffering for intensively confined and forcibly impregnated cows whose beloved calves are torn away from them shortly after birth.

“Starbucks admits it has a massive carbon footprint from its use of dairy, yet the company squeezes extra money from consumers who avoid dairy for ethical, environmental, religious, or health reasons,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA and our patron Sir Paul McCartney call on Starbucks to take its commitment to the climate seriously and drop the extra charge imposed on responsible customers.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Schultz follows. Similar letters to Kobori and Hrnjak are available upon request.

July 28, 2022

Howard Schultz, CEO

Dear Mr. Schultz:

Starbucks’ continued surcharge on vegan milks—even though you acknowledge that cow’s milk is the main reason why the company’s carbon footprint is so big—has earned you a Climate Catastrophy from PETA. Seeking to profit from charging extra for vegan milks while claiming to care about the environment and animal welfare deliberately misleads people.

If Starbucks really cared about sustainability, it would stop charging extra for more sustainable vegan milks and even start charging extra for cow’s milk or not offer it at all. Although Starbucks has dropped the vegan milk upcharge in the U.K. and in most French locations, you are still socking consumers who care about animals, the environment, and/or their health and those who may have religious objections to dairy by charging as much as 90 cents more for plant-based milk in the U.S. Research has shown that the production of dairy milk results in around three times more greenhouse gas emissions than that of vegan milk and consumes nine times as much land. The dairy industry uses vast amounts of land for pasture and to grow the feed that causes cows to belch out massive amounts of methane.

According to the president of California Bioenergy, each cow produces the equivalent of about 125 diesel gallons of methane every year. That’s a lot of methane, considering that Starbucks purchases tens of millions of gallons of milk each year.

The dairy industry is also responsible for egregious cruelty to animals. Cows are intensively confined and forcibly impregnated, and their calves are torn away from them soon after they’re born, causing deep distress to both the babies and their loving mothers, who bellow and desperately search for their calves. Cows are considered worthless to the dairy industry when they’re no longer able to produce much milk, usually when they’re 4 or 5 years old. Then they’re sent on a frightening ride to slaughter.

We hope you’ll display this “trophy” in a prominent place to remind yourself that if Starbucks is truly concerned about sustainability and doesn’t want to contribute to animal suffering, it will drop its vegan upcharge and encourage customers to order its vegan milks. We would promote the hell out of that, and we have millions of members, as you know.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid Newkirk

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