According to online campaign group, SumOfUs, Starbucks has effectively lent its support to agrochemical company Monsanto which is planning to sue the US state of Vermont over its GMO (genetically modified organism) labelling laws.
In April this year, Vermont became the first state in the US to pass a bill that requires the labelling of genetically modified foods, and now the Growers Manufacturing Association, to which Starbucks is a member, are aiming to block the landmark law, claiming that it is an assault on a corporation's right to free speech.
SumOfUS launched a petition which has already gained 268,859 signatures, calling upon Starbucks to “Withdraw [their] membership in the Grocery Manufacturers Assocation and support for the lawsuit against Vermont’s food labelling law.”
“We need to undermine the Grocery Manufacturers Association's base,” the SumOfUs petition reads. “Monsanto might not care what we think — but as a public-facing company, Starbucks does. If we can generate enough attention, we can push Starbucks to withdraw its support for the lawsuit, and then pressure other companies to do the same.”
The petition also refereed to Starbucks’ progressive response to LGBT and labour law issues, stating that it is disappointing that the company would choose to associate with Monsanto and support such a move.
Members of SumOfUs have also donated money to support the small, rural state of Vermont’s legal defence, and have risen close to quarter of a million dollars to date.
In addition to Starbucks and Monsanto, other members of the Grocery Manufacturers Association industry group include Dow, Coca-Cola and General Mills.