Coke Shareholder Meeting

Coca-cola’s shareholder meeting at the “Hotel du Pont” in Wilmington, Delaware was a lively one this year and rainwater harvesting, water depletion and India’s water concerns are kicking at the door. Protester’s tried hard to steal the spotlight as Corpwatch reports:

A circus-like gathering of protesters vied to get the attention of, or steal the spotlight away from Coke CEO E. Neville Isdell: Harvard students beating on plastic barrels with drumsticks, union reps unloading into bullhorns and a blind taste-test daring passers-by to tell the difference between Delaware tap water and the much more expensive variety that Coca-Cola sells under the toney name Dasani.

Coke CEO E. Neville Isdell: Inside, Isdell, suckling at a plastic bottle of Coke, proclaimed the painfully obvious: “Not everyone in this room is going to agree with everyone’s views,” he said. “In the end, we truly want The Coca-Cola Company to be regarded as a great business and recognized as a great corporate citizen.”

One shareholder who labeled such complaints “an attack on capitalism” that diminishes Coca-Cola’s brand won enthusiastic applause from profit-minded shareholders, or what it calls its “share earners.”

Protesters complaints:

• One, sponsored by the New York City Employees Retirement System, sought the establishment of an independent committee to examine whether Coca-Cola colluded with Colombian paramilitary forces in anti-union violence against bottlers in the South American country;

• Another, sponsored by the As You Sow Foundation, pushed for a report that would come up with a strategy to recover and recycle more used bottles and cans;

• A third, sponsored by Harrington Investments and the Sisters of Charity in Cincinnati, sought a report “on the potential environmental and public health damage of each of its plants, affiliates and proposed ventures extracting water from areas of water scarcity in India.”

The realistic concern appears to be water depletion in India, coke is taking steps using rainwater harvesting as reported here but is this enough or is it just a case of drying up natural resources and the human tendency to look for someone to blame?

One thing is for sure, Coke has a great opportunity to become a positive corporate example just as the trend for renewables kicks off. Coke can be to “water” as Israel might be to solar energy plants.

How about a green coke can with a fresh watery look that promotes Cokes new plan to make good on it’s promises?

How about doing something so extreme that it would turn this negative into an undeniable positive?

Coke has done well marketing its beverage, there is no reason why it can not also market a vast environmental footprint, need a few ideas?


Posted in India by Administrator on June 14, 2006.

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