Has Starbucks dragged Fairtrade into a tax avoidance scheme?

In the aftermath of the excellent Reuters story about Starbucks’ tax dodging in the UK, some columnists (best pun: ‘Starbucks makes a mochary of tax law’) have picked up on the apparent hypocrisy of the biggest buyer of Fairtrade coffee in the world also employing tax avoidance schemes.

Take note, however, that the link is even closer than that. All Starbucks’ UK espressos are Fairtrade certified, so it would appear to be Fairtrade coffee that, through the very Switzerland-Netherlands construct described by Reuters, contributes to the reduction of Starbucks’ UK tax bill.

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