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Coke’s Olympic ‘bluewashing’ plans

The Globe and Mail reports that, “Coca-Cola Co. …is using the (Vancouver) 2010 Winter Olympics to trumpet its ‘environmental call to action’…”

“Critics accuse the company of wasting water, and of filling landfills, the destination for 75 per cent of plastic bottles that carry Coca-Cola products such as Minute Maid juice and Dasani water.”

The article reports, “Coca-Cola is trying to use water more efficiently, in response to criticisms in places such as India that the company wastes water and sucks aquifers dry.”

“One goal: reducing the amount of water used to make Coke. It takes 2.5 litres of water to make one litre of Coca-Cola and as much as 250 litres once growing the sugar cane used in the drink is factored in.”

“By 2010, Coca-Cola in Canada aims to cut its water usage by 10 per cent at its plants.”

“One major push will likely be for what Coca-Cola calls the PlantBottle…”

“The new bottle is 30 per cent sugar cane (which still requires water to grow) and molasses, blended as a component in the traditional petroleum-based plastic…”

“To get its green message across at the Olympics, Coca-Cola will likely feature marketing for the PlantBottle, which was unveiled last month, using the bottle for its Dasani water…”

“The PlantBottle is important to the company’s green effort because for beverage makers, growth lies not in carbonated soft drinks, but rather in products such as juices, teas, and specialty waters…”

“Still, some people say the progress doesn’t really address the main packaging problem, given that the PlantBottle remains mostly plastic.”

“(The Coca-Cola Co.) aims to ensure that packaging of each of the 7.5 million beverages it plans to serve at the Games is recycled. And it will highlight its $80-million (U.S.) investment in six plastic-recycling plants around the globe…”

“Coca-Cola’s greener efforts have been welcomed by several environmental groups; the World Wildlife Fund has joined with the company to work on water issues and the Vancouver-based David Suzuki Foundation is a consultant on Olympics-related efforts.”

The Council of Canadians has not welcomed Coca-Cola’s bluewashing strategies, rejects bottled water and will be releasing a report on this issue and the Olympics.

Coca-Cola’s bottled water products promote the commodification of water, which is a human right and a public resource. While a quarter of Canadian municipalities have faced water shortages in recent years, Coca-Cola’s Dasani brand is filtered municipal tap water paid for by public funds and acquired by the corporation for next to nothing. A growing number of municipalities across the country are now banning the provision of bottled water in public spaces to show their support for public water.

For more information about our ‘unbottle it’ campaign, please go to www.canadians.org/water/issues/Unbottle_It/index.html.

The full Globe and Mail article is at www.globeinvestor.com/servlet/story/GAM.20090610.RCOCACOLA10ART1939/GIStory/.