Just this morning I stumbled onto a ‘news’ article at Mother Nature Network, innocently entitled About Water Stewardship, and whose first paragraph is as follows:
“Inside every bottle of Coca-Cola is the story of a company that understands the priceless value of water, respects it as the most precious of shared global resources and works vigorously to conserve water worldwide. We can’t imagine treating water any other way.”
Coca-Cola and respect are not two words that belong in the same sentence. Along with a handful of other mega corporations, The Coca-Cola corporation has helped produce the biggest health epidemic in human history; runaway obesity and diabetes. As a result of Coca-Cola’s lobbying, it is beloved by politicians and thought of as a wonderful employer and great economic powerhouse. But the facts are that the costs to health care of treating the diabetes, obesity and related heart and other health issues it contributes towards, far outweigh any financial benefits the corporation confers.
And talking about Coca-Cola and water. When the corporation wanted to launch its Dasani water brand in the UK, it opened up a bottling plant in South East London, sourcing tap water from the local utility company, and calling it ‘pure water’ (implying that it was somehow special). Even worse, unaware that the word is a British term for semen, Coca-Cola released an advertising campaign calling the product “Bottled Spunk“. Then, soon after, UK inspectors found a concentration of bromate (a suspected human carcinogen) in the product that could be considered harmful if consumed in large quantities, and which was not present in the water supply prior to the plant’s treatment process. As a result Coca-Cola immediately recalled half a million bottles and pulled the Dasani brand from the UK market, and the European launch of the product was also halted, along with any future plans for the brand.
Oh did us Brits have a really good chuckle over that whole fiasco :) But Coca-Cola’s relentless efforts to sell more and more carbonated and sugary drinks worldwide continue unabated, and are not so funny. Sure the company sells Dasani outside of Europe and supplies other water products in the EU, but its foundation is flavored drinks (generally sweetened with sugar or HFCS, but sometimes using controversial artificial sweeteners), and often incorporating chemicals such as phosphoric acid (which leaches calcium from bones and teeth), or brominated vegetable oil (banned almost everywhere in the world, except for North America), which was only discontinued in 2014 after decades of prior use.
Coca-Cola is not a company we can turn impartially to for advice on water, and its consumption, use and stewardship. So what the heck is mnn.com (a website that is about nature, uses the phrase ‘Earth Matters’, and which has lifestyle sections on healthy eating and drinking) doing taking money from this corporation? Yes, I realize this is a sponsored article, but don’t you have any ethical standards?