Published on 11 May 2018


Patagonia, Apple, Starbucks, and Delta Airlines : one of those companies which are challenging Donald Trump on CSR field

The American business coalition "We Are Still In", which began mobilising for the climate after Donald Trump announced American withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, just launched a new campaign entitled, "We Are Taking Action". But some companies are not waiting for a collective effort in order to act in opposition with Washington.

Donald Trump revokes protections for Bear Ears National Monument.

1. Patagonia sues the Trump administration to save protected territory

It all started with a social network campaign called "The President Stole Your Land,” sparking the interest of more than three million Americans. Since then, the campaign has turned into a formal complaint, filed in December 2017 by Patagonia, in which it defines itself as an "activist" brand. They are joined by environmental and scientific associations, as well as several other outdoor clothing brands (including The North Face).

This broad coalition defies the Trump administration, accusing the US president of illegally revoking much of the protections for Bears Ears National Monument. This park is a sacred and cultural place for Native Americans, as well as a centre of scientific knowledge on climate-related issues, and a popular spot for outdoor sports enthusiasts.

2. Starbucks vows to employ 10,000 refugees in response to US immigration policy

In January 2017, the travel ban that severely restricted access to US territory for nationals of several Muslim countries, has provoked a wave of indignation among American companies. 160 of them, many in the Tech sector, supported the complaint brought by the attorney general of Washington and Minnesota, in withdrawing from this ban.

The Starbucks coffee chain is set to go even further. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, known for his democratic political engagements, promises to hire 10,000 refugees (people who have fled war, persecution and discrimination) by 2022 in the 75 countries where the company is present. In the United States, refugees who have worked for the US military, such as interpreters, have priority. Another anti-Trump measure: a strong investment in Mexico, where the company already has 600 cafés and employs 7,000 people, in order to “to build bridges, not walls”, with its neighbour!

At Superbowl 2017, other brands such as Johnnie Walker Whiskey and the DIY brand 84 Lumber, televised pro-immigration advertisements. This is an event watched by 11.3 million viewers, and where 30 seconds of advertising cost around $5 million!

3. Apple launches a green bond in response to American exit from the Paris Agreement

In June 2017, two weeks after Donald Trump announced US exit from the Paris Agreement, Apple decided to show its support for the fight against climate change through strong action. The company issued a $1 billion green bond to develop renewable energy. This environmental push from Tim Cock, CEO for Apple, is even more meaningful for the Californian company since, with a cash supply of $250 billion, it did not necessarily need this new credit facility.

Six months later, in April 2018, Apple announced that all its sites (excluding suppliers) around the world are 100% powered by renewable energies. For Apple stores, which cannot be directly connected to renewable energy, the company employs renewable energy certificates.

4. Delta Airlines turns its back on the NRA, the national gun lobby backed by Donald Trump

The Parkland shooting on 14 February seems to have been too much for some American economic actors. Investors and distributors linked to the arms trade are taking steps to restrict free sales, but mainstream brands whose activities are not related to this type of trade are also deciding to take strong measures.

This is the case for twenty such companies including car rental, insurance, and airlines companies like United or Delta Airlines. In addition to stopping their donations, they will no longer offer preferential treatment to NRA members and they have asked such members to remove any mention of them.

A measure deemed by several observers as a response to citizen outcry that arose after the shooting, but also in response to a rising movement of companies that are disengaging from institutions considered Pro-Trump. And this is not only symbolic. According to the New York Times, these companies could suffer a backlash from Republicans as well, a camp very close to the NRA.


Béatrice Héraud @beatriceheraud

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