Starbucks and (RED) Team Up to Combat AIDS in Africa

Last year, Starbucks went red for the holidays, unveiling an attractive red cup, dotted with white snowflakes and sporting the company’s logo in green.

This year, as the season of good cheer approaches, the chain is taking things one step further — and in a more philanthropic direction.

In a surprise appearance at Starbucks‘ managers conference in New Orleans, Bono arrived on stage. U2’s lead singer announced a partnership between his AIDS organization (RED) and the coffee chain: between November 27th to January 2nd, Starbucks will donate five cents from certain holiday beverages (Peppermint Mocha Twist, Gingersnap Latte and Espresso Truffle) to The Global Fund.

(RED) was co-founded by Bono and Bobby Shriver (the brother-in-law of Arnold Schwarzenegger) to raise funds for The Global Fund, which fights AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. 

After the holiday season, the chain will designate certain products (RED), and proceeds from these will continue to be delivered to the Fund.

“Here we are, talking about the economy tanking. People are saying, ‘Maybe the world doesn’t need more coffee houses.’ And what do you do? What does Starbucks do? You decide to give your money away,” said Bono to his star-struck audience. “This is not charity. This is commerce.”

In a press statement, Starbucks discussed the new initiative as framing “our commitment to doing business responsibly, our ability to use our scale as a catalyst of doing good, for our framers, our customers, our planet at large.”

“If every single Starbucks customer bought one (RED) Holiday Exclusive (beverage) for a week, we would save 15,000 lives for a year in Africa,” said Starbucks Senior Vice President Michelle Gass. The coffee chain has recently been struggling in the face of declining sales, however its stock recovered slightly after Bono’s announcement.