Alan Cumming Writes Powerful Letter To Starbucks Canada Urging Them To Drop The Extra Charges On Vegan Milk

PETA Honorary Director Alan Cumming has sent a powerful letter to Starbucks Canada, exclusively obtained by ET Canada.

Cumming, who just filmed a new show for Apple TV+ in Vancouver, sent an appeal to Starbucks Canada Senior Vice President Lori Digulla, urging them to drop the extra charges for vegan milk.

The star wrote, “As a vegan and an honorary director of PETA, I was heartened to read that Starbucks will expand its vegan menu to meet the increasing demand for plant-based food and to work toward its sustainability commitment. However, there is one simple action that Starbucks could take right now to show that it’s serious about cutting its carbon emissions and reducing waste: Stop charging customers more for choosing environmentally and animal-friendly vegan milk.”

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“It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee. More than a year ago, Starbucks acknowledged that cow’s milk is the company’s biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions. Yet it continues to penalize customers for making green and humane choices by charging them extra for vegan milk. This also unfairly harms people who are lactose intolerant—most of whom are people of colour,” he continued.

Cumming went on, “If Starbucks really wants to help the planet, it must do more than just talk about its goals. It’s time to take action. The secretary-general of the United Nations has urged world leaders to declare a ‘climate emergency,’ and President Biden has signed an executive order for the U.S. to rejoin the Paris climate agreement.

“As you know, greenhouse gases are released at nearly every stage of milk production, and manure from dairy farms contaminates our waterways and creates dead zones in the oceans where no life can survive.

“The most responsible move would be to stop selling cow’s milk altogether, but at the very least, Starbucks can — and must  end the vegan milk upcharge. My friends at PETA and I will sing your praises when you do!”

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Cumming’s appeal to the Toronto-based company comes just after CEO Kevin Johnson declared at a Starbucks investor meeting, “[T]he most dominant shift in consumer behaviour… is this whole shift to plant-based products. And that is a shift both in beverage and in food.”

According to PETA, Starbucks refuses to join other chains like Toronto-based Balzac’s Coffee Roasters and Vancouver-based Breka Bakery & Cafe that don’t charge extra for vegan milk. The organization says the upcharge has been particularly controversial among Black customers, many of whom are lactose intolerant.

A Starbucks Canada spokesperson has since told ET Canada: “Regarding non-dairy options, adding a splash of any non-dairy beverage including oat, soy, almond and coconut beverage to brewed or iced coffee, cold brew or an Americano is always offered free of charge at Starbucks.

“The price of our beverages is based on a standard recipe, so any customizations that are not part of the standard recipe, which could include added flavours, non-dairy beverages or an additional shot of espresso, will incur an additional charge.”

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