|I-Buycott & Starbucks Coffee France|
|Supporting NCP(s)||Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom, United States|
|Description||Specific instance submitted by I-Buycott, an NGO, concerning an alleged non-observance of the OECD Guidelines by Starbucks Coffee France, a food service company.|
|Theme(s)||Disclosure, Consumer interests, Taxation|
|Date||22 Nov 2019|
|Industry sector||Accommodation and food service|
On 22 November 2019, the French NGO I-buycott submitted a specific instance to the French NCP, alleging that Starbucks Coffee France had not observed the Disclosure (Chapter III), Consumer interests (Chapter VIII) and Taxation provisions (Chapter XI) of the OECD Guidelines. The issues concerned insufficient and unreliable public information by the French subsidiary regarding the operations, organisation, taxation and licence agreements between Starbucks Coffee and the Mexican group Alsea as required by the Guidelines. Moreover, the submitter alleged that there was a lack of transparency regarding the tax treatment of activities carried out in France on behalf of Starbucks Coffee and Alsea, in addition to the allegation of non-respecting the OECD Guidelines recommendations on transfer prices and fair competition in France. In its response, the company denies all of the allegations made by I-buycott and accepted the NCP’s good offices.
On 3 December 2019, the French NCP accepted the case, considering the issues merited further examination.
On 23 December 2019, the French NCP informed the UK, US and Dutch NCPs of the existence the specific instance.
On 30 March 2020, the submitter reformulated its submission to reflect information concerning Starbucks Coffee’s organisation in France, namely the sale of its French subsidiary (“Starbucks Coffee France”) to Alsea Group in January 2019 and the existence of a licence agreement between Alsea and Starbucks Coffee Groups. Accordingly, the NCP extended the initial assessment period and informed the Mexican and Spanish NCPs of the existence of the specific instance.
On 14 May 2020, the French NCP confirmed its decision to accept the case as reformulated by the complainant and offered its good offices. Both parties accepted them. On 20 May 2020, the French NCP formalised the modalities of coordination with the five NCPs and it was confirmed the French NCP would take the lead of the case. After having consulted each party and the five supporting NCPs, the French NCP published its initial assessment statement on 22 July 2020 adopted on 10 July 2020.
The good offices phase had however already begun in June 2020. The NCP will meet with parties and may propose a mediation. The NCP will examine issues raised in the specific instance. It will issue a final statement and a report.