Coca-Cola, Others Charged With Greenwash at Protest
Water Rights Conference and Protest Highlights Corporate Abuse
For Immediate Release
December 3, 2008
Amit Srivastava, India Resource Center +1 415 336 7584
San Francisco (December 3, 2008) - The Coca-Cola
company and other water companies including Pepsico and Nestle Waters
were challenged in San Francisco by a broad coalition of groups, charging
the companies with greenwashing and abusing water resources.
The water companies were in San Francisco for a meeting entitled "Corporate Water Footprinting: Towards a Sustainable Water Strategy" on December 2 and
3, 2008 to ostensibly outline water conservation strategies.
The coalition held a Water Rights conference to a capacity-filled venue
on December 2nd as well as a protest, including street theater, at
the corporate conference venue today.
"A conference geared towards sustainable use of water is indeed welcome,
but having the largest water abusers in charge is not," said Maude
Barlow, chairwoman of the Council of Canadians and Senior Water Advisor
to the United Nations.
"More than a billion people lack access to safe drinking water, and
climate change is further depleting freshwater resources," said Wenonah
Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. "Given the absence
of perspectives from those without access to water, the corporate
conference appears aimed more at polishing the images of some of the
world's biggest water abusers rather than addressing the very real
global water crisis."
"Providing access to water cannot be ensured through privatization
and must not be subject to the whims of the market. Over 3 billion
people live on less than US $2.50 a day and the commodification of
water literally means that a substantial part of the world - particularly
the poor and the marginalized - will be unable to afford water," said
Amit Srivastava of the International Campaign Against Coca-Cola and
the India Resource Center.
Coca-Cola's role in the corporate conference, in particular, was harshly
criticized because of the company's announcement to become "water
Corporate Water Footprint
"Coca-Cola's own concept paper on water neutrality states that the
term is misleading and troublesome because it is impossible to become
water neutral. Yet the company has decided that that the term makes
for good marketing and is pushing it, regardless of the fact that
the company continues to destroy water resources for tens of thousand
of people in India," said Srivastava.
The Coca-Cola company is the target of community-led campaigns across
India for denying access to water, and two Coca-Cola bottling plants
have been shut down as a result. The Coca-Cola company has responded
by increasing its advertising budget and increasing its "corporate
social responsibility" initiatives, of which water neutrality is a
Also speaking at the conference were Mark Franco from the Winnemem
Wintu Tribe and Mateo Nube from Movement Generation.
Primary organizers of the conference included the Blue Planet Project,
Council of Canadians, Food & Water Watch, India Resource Center, Indigenous
Environmental Network and International Campaign Against Coca-Cola.
For images from the protest, visit www.flickr.com/photos/33068067@N02/sets/72157610757596678/detail/
For background on Coca-Cola's water neutrality, visit www.indiaresource.org/campaigns/coke/2008/neutrality.html
For more information, visit www.IndiaResource.org
Mark Franco from Winnemem Wintu Tribe Making His Case Against Water Abusers
Coca-Cola "Girls" Selling High Priced Water