正值美国人民庆祝独立日之际，星巴克CEO霍华德•舒尔茨向美国人民写了一封公开信——《美国怎样赢得本次大选》（How Can America Win this Election）。他在信中坦言自己对于国家经济、尤其对于失业问题的担忧。他在信中呼吁政客们停止内斗，并呼唤商界领袖们行动起来。“我热爱美国，但是我们所有人都知道出了问题。国家必须协调的赤字不仅仅是资金问题，此外我们无力解决自身的诸多问题，这正在使国家丧失元气。我们不应当是这样。”他写道。（点击此处阅读公开信全文）。舒尔茨本周在国家各大报纸与网站的一则广告中发表了这封信。去年夏天，有关联邦预算的争议陷入僵局时，舒尔茨曾经吐露过对于国情咨文的不满。我趁其在科罗拉多阿斯彭思想节（Aspen Ideas Festival）发言之际，通过电话联系了舒尔茨。
我们曾经呼吁在美国政治没有真正好转之前不要为当权者提供资金帮助，当时大约有150名CEO声明支持我们。但是，你说的没错，我们并没有看到大批商业领袖发出呐喊。不过话说回来，我们发起的行动，也就是“为美国创造就业机会”（Create Jobs for America），直接募资就超过了1,100万美元——如果算上使用的杠杆就是8,000万美元的新增资金——它以贷款的方式在44个州创造了超过4,000个工作机会。谷歌（Google）、花旗银行（Citibank）以及香蕉共和国（Banana Republic）都加入了我们的行动。我还要提一下我们已经宣布将在佐治亚州奥古斯塔建一座新的烘焙厂，我们原本可以将地点设在中美洲或亚洲，而且那样可以节省15%到20%的成本，但是我们觉得在国内创造200多个工作机会意义更大。
星巴克的运营在各方面都展示了高水平，创纪录的营收，创纪录的利润，股价也破了记录。但是我们并不十全十美，我们还有自己的挑战。我们的员工以及每周7,000万顾客都知道我们在经商过程中始终秉承价值理念。星巴克在商业管理中总是设法平衡商业利益与社会良知之间的关系。这在公司上市以后的20多年中一直为我们保驾护航。有些公司“执意做正确的事”（doing the right thing），你不妨看看这些公司的历史，其中大多数都运转得格外良好。诚然，消费者的行为方式正在发生天翻地覆的变化。而今，信息丰富，商业透明，这意味着我们可以看到更多东西，我们将拥有更多选择，我们可以透过公司秉承的理念理解其行为。
As Americans begin observing Independence Day, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has written an open letter to the nation, "How Can America Win this Election," in which he spells out his concern about our economy and specifically unemployment. In the letter he asks politicians to stop fighting and for business leaders to step up. "I love America, but we all know there is something wrong. The deficits this country must reconcile are much more than financial, and our inability to solve our own problems is sapping our national spirit. We are better than this," he writes. (See the full letter here.) Schultz is running the letter in an advertisement in national newspapers and websites this week. Schultz previously voiced his unhappiness with the state of the union last summer during the deadlocked federal budget debate. I caught up with Schultz by phone as he was in Colorado speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival.
Howard, what prompted you to write this letter?
The letter is a continuation of the concern that I share with many Americans about the economy and unemployment and the lack of political leadership to address the problem. Since I took this position a year ago things really haven't gotten better, they have gotten worse. I'm not trying to criticize the President or the Republican Party; I just want to try to with civility and respect to use the scale of Starbucks for good. Business leaders need to change too. We all have a stake in this. In the letter, you can see we are trying to create a platform using social media and digital to give people a place to elevate the conversation.
Since you spoke out last summer, the silence has been kind of deafening, though -- from other CEOs.
Well when we called for suspending financial support to incumbents until there was real progress in American politics, some 150 CEOs signed on in support. But you are right we haven't seen a groundswell of business leaders raising their voices. Having said that, the program we launched, Create Jobs for America, has raised over $11 million directly -- and $80 million in new financing if you count the leverage used -- to create more than 4,000 jobs with loans in 44 states. Google (GOOG), Citibank (C) and Banana Republic (GPS) have joined us in this effort. I should mention that we have announced a new roasting plant in Augusta, Georgia that we could have located in Central America or Asia for 15% to 20% less, but we felt that creating 200 or so jobs domestically was more important.
Is it right for the CEO of a public company to be spending time and money this way?
Starbucks (SBUX) is performing at a high level across the board, record revenues, record profits, and record stock price. But we're not perfect; we have our own challenges. The people who work at the company and our 70 million-a-week customers know we are consistently embracing values in the way we practice business. Starbucks has always tried to manage its business by balancing profitability with a social conscience; for more than 20 years since going public, that has served us well. If you look at the history of companies 'doing the right thing,' most have performed extremely well. Really we are witnessing a seismic change in consumer behavior. The amount of information and transparency means we can see so much more, we have more choices and you can see what a company does in terms of what it stands for.