After three years of planning, a consortium of progressive roasters and importers led by Dean Cycon of Dean's Beans has succeeded in securing pledges from current shareholders of Starbucks to command a majority of voting shares in the large corporation. The consortium, called "Free the Mermaid" has put together a platform that includes requiring Starbucks to only purchase Fair Trade coffee, to put five percent of their after-tax profits into a development fund to be controlled by the farmers themselves, to agree to independent outside auditing of the company's claims of social responsibility, and to offer free refills. In addition, Starbucks will create a Class B share of stock that will be given to farmer cooperatives based on the amount of coffee purchased by Starbucks from a given community.
"We didn't see it coming", says Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, "Guess we were too busy just counting the money."
"This is a great day for the social justice movement in the coffeelands," noted Dean, "unfortunately, it's an April Fools joke."