The New New Coke
By Vihar Sheth on April 16, 2007
Coke’s come up with yet another formula, but this time it’s doing away with an old one. Don’t worry, it’s not Coke Three or Coke Absolute Zero, but the Coca-Cola Global Community Connections. The company is reconfiguring its philanthropic activities and doing away with its corporate external affairs department. From my perspective, the news is good. I’ve felt for some time that Coca-Cola was more of a marketing company than anything else, even operating at a detriment to society (think developing nations) for profits and market share. Rumor even has it that in one developing country, Coca-Cola “hijacked” a local water source to supply its plant leaving the area’s population with no access to clean water. Say it ain’t so!
Coke’s new Global Community Connections department will focus on three nonprofit areas: water cleanliness and supply, recycling with an emphasis on sustainable packaging and fitness. I’m impressed. The company’s old areas of focus were education and diversity. Important issues, to be sure, but not particularly aligned with the issues related to the company’s business. According to Ingrid Saunders Jones, the former external affairs head and longtime charitable face of Coca-Cola, “Whereas, Corporate External Affairs had a primary focus in North America, GCC will leverage the Company’s corporate and local resources, on a global scale, to support the six operating groups”. Global reach for a global corporation. I like where this is headed, especially because for so long, companies gave in the countries with the power to fight back while violating moral and ethical standards abroad, in poor nations with no infrastructure but very cheap labor. Hopefully Coca-Cola’s move is the beginning of a new trend.
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