The Coca Cola PR machine has gone into action this week, with releases hailing the launch of its “first sustainability campaign to promote plastic recycling”.
It’s a predictably professional response to growing criticism of Coca Cola’s role in “Ocean Plastic”. Rather than cynically papering over the cracks with this classic Green-wash, the business would do better to recognise that it has a level of culpability and engage with others to identify long-term solutions.
We believe that looking after People and Planet leads to greater Profit and shareholder value.
If they followed this up with an investment in bio-degradable or deposit-bottle packaging solutions across all of its markets; or perhaps lead and sponsor a global movement to harvest Ocean plastic, then they could genuinely claim some sustainability credentials.
Having worked with world-leading sustainable brands; we believe that looking after people and planet is not just a “Nice to do” , but makes good business sense too. It can lead to increased consumer trust, better profit, and greater shareholder value.
Coca~Cola is not the only culprit in this latest wave, but as they are responsible for a sixth* of the 600 billion plastic bottles produced globally every year, it is clearly time for them to stand up and take a leading role in solving this global crisis.
This would give new opportunities for many consumers to become advocates for their brands, and I too would genuinely applaud them for showing this kind of initiative.
Until then, their current advertising just looks like “business as usual”.
Chris Collis is Director of independent business consultancy, Marketing Walk Ltd.
This is an opinion piece only, For avoidance of doubt, this company has no association with the organisations shown in the illustration and use of their registered trademarks falls under the provisions of “fair comment” . Coca~Cola® and Sprite® are trademarks of the Coca Cola Company, Actimel® is a trademark of Danone®, and Unilever® is also a registered trademark.