Starbucks Coffee Company (SBUX) today established a new precedent for the role and responsibility of a public company leading through the lens of humanity in China – its largest and fastest-growing second market. Beginning June 1, 2017, Starbucks will offer a critical illness insurance plan for the parentsi of its eligibleii full-time partners (employees) in company-operated stores across Mainland China. This industry-leading investment will benefit over 10,000 parents of its Chinese partners.

The ‘Starbucks China Parent Care Program’ was announced by Howard Schultz, executive chairman, Starbucks Coffee Company, and Belinda Wong, ceo, Starbucks China, at a Starbucks Partner Family Forum in Beijing, the latest in a series of family forums the company has held with its Chinese partners and their families since 2012.

“Our core purpose and reason for being has always been driven by a set of beliefs steeped in humanity and I’m extremely proud to be able to support our Chinese partners and their parents through the Parent Care Program,” said Schultz. “Supporting critical illnesses for aging parents exemplifies what we believe is our responsibility as a global public company and honors the family values deeply-rooted in the Chinese culture.”

Addressing a key concern of partners

In 2010, the company introduced Starbucks Caring Unites Partners (C.U.P.) Fund in China which provides financial assistance to partners and their families in times of need. An analysis of the C.U.P. Fund requests over the past seven years, as well as conversations with partners revealed that more than 70 percent of Chinese partners are concerned about the health of their parents as they age. Those who are single, making up 80 percent of retail partners in China, are specifically concerned about their financial ability to provide for their parents’ long-term care should a critical illness occur.

“Culturally, parents play an important role in the lives and career choices of our Chinese partners and they are a natural extension of our Starbucks family in China. Through this new investment, we are stepping up on our responsibility to help our partners take care of their aging parents by alleviating the financial costs that may arise during a family emergency,” added Wong. “Starbucks success in China is directly attributed to the passion and dedication of our partners as well as the unwavering support from their family.”

Redefining health care benefits in China

The ‘Starbucks China Parent Care Program’ is a unique, innovative plan created in collaboration with one of the top insurers in the country to complement the current China Social Medical Insurance Program. The plan leverages Starbucks considerable partner base in China to create a tailored program to alleviate health care and treatment costs associated with a critical illness for its partners.

“The active participation by the private sector is critical to China’s efforts to further enhance the social security system to support our aging population. Starbucks has responded positively to the Government’s call to elevate the commercial health insurance industry, our social security network and to promote a ‘Healthy China.’ It is also a firm demonstration of Starbucks social responsibility efforts to give back to the community in a meaningful manner,” said Mr. Jiang Chongguang, Deputy Secretary-General of the Insurance Society of China.

Li Ling, 29, a Starbucks store manager and Coffee Master in Deyang, Sichuan Province, and her family experienced the financial burden when both her mother and grandmother fell ill at the same time.

“I’ve always been concerned by the financial responsibility of caring for my family and now I have my Starbucks extended family here to support me,” said Ling. “It’s a great relief to me, and all of my Chinese partners, that Starbucks has taken a leadership position to support the health and care of our aging parents. I’m incredibly grateful to be with a company that understands our hopes, dreams and aspirations for the future.”

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