Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Is Sustainability the Real Thing?

Recently, we've looked at some of the world's biggest brands and what they've been doing with the world's biggest stage—The Olympics. And it occurred to us that one brand with a big sustainability story has been awfully quiet on the subject—Coca-Cola.

We love the Yao vs. LeBron spot (shout out to our old The Greenery pal Jackie Jantos, now with Coke) and Bird's Nest truly brings a Coke and a smile. The world's top brand certainly knows how to drive for the hoop.

But what we'd have loved to see even more is Coke talk about sustainability. After all, there's plenty to talk about:

Coke will spend $20 million over the next years to help the WWF preserve seven of the world's major rivers. This is smart for business, since it takes 2.5 liters of water to produce just one liter of Coke product. According to a Time Magazine article, "In 2006 Coca-Cola and its bottlers used 80 billion gallons (290 billion liters) of water to produce its beverages. That about one-fifth of the daily water usage of the U.S!"

Could be a big problem, if the pundits are right and water is the next oil. And nobody wants that to be the new Real Thing.

We did like what we saw with its recent "what's not in the drink" executions (kind of like "what's not in the bloodstream of Jamacian sprinters").


While its messaging is not quite on the topic of sustainability, starting with transparency of the product is something we can all get behind.

Because, while individual changes can make a big difference, the corporation is the dominant institution of the 21st Century. And more than most, Coca-Cola has the opportunity (and ultimately the responsibility) to use their products, reach and influence to help make this world a better a place.

Cue the singing.

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