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Big Losses for Coca-Cola

July 7, 2014 Newsletter

Contents

  1. Spain: Coke Sales Plummet: Court Orders 821 Workers Re-instated with Back Pay
  2. India: Coke Hit with Heavy Losses as Communities Fight Back
  3. United States: Port Townsend Food Co-op Drops Honest Tea Over Coke's Abuses
  4. Nicaragua: Fighting Back Against Coke's Multi-million Dollar Rip-off
  5. Mexico: Coke Bottler's Holbox Island Land Grab Efforts Draw Ire
  6. American Academy of Pediatrics Falls Prey to Greed & "Insanity"
  7. Corporate Crime Reporter and IndiaCSR Report on 'Buying Respectability: Coca-Cola Co-opts Corporate Social Responsibility Movement'

1. Spain: Coke Sales Plummet : Court Orders 821 Workers Re-instated with Back Pay

Spain didn't win The World Cup this year, but Spanish workers sure beat Coca-Cola big time. Campaign supporters in Spain first contacted us with the good news and euronews (6/20/14) reported:

"Coca-Cola sales nosedive in Spain after boycott call over layoff plan," euronews, June 20, 2014
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"According to the newspaper El Economista, the sharp fall over a one-year period represents the largest decline ever recorded by the soft drinks giant.

"It is the second piece of bad news in a week for Coca-Cola Iberian Partners, which resulted from a merger of several bottlers in 2013. Last Friday, June 13, it was ordered by a court to reinstate more than 800 workers as its controversial redundancy plan backfired.

"In January, the company's Spanish subsidiary confirmed plans for a massive cost-cutting operation involving the closure of four of its 11 factories in Spain and the layoff of 1,190 employees, almost a third of the total workforce.

The news gained widespread attention, coming as it did from a profit-making firm in a country where more than one in four of the workforce is unemployed. Street protests followed, as did a campaign for consumers to shun Coke products...

"According to El Economista, in central Spain — the region which includes Madrid — sales diminished by 48.6 percent in the one-year period from 28 February 2013 to 28 February 2014."

2. India: Coke Hit with Heavy Losses as Communities Fight Back

Coca-Cola continues to take a beating in India from those opposing its quest to steal more water and land and expand its market. The last thing India needs is more Coke. Right now the company's per capita consumption is low but as consumption and production increases in parts of India so does childhood obesity and associated health problems and the depletion and pollution of ground water needed for irrigation, drinking and sanitation is exacerbated.

Photo from India Resource Center

The latest blow to Coca-Cola happened on June 18, 2014 when it was forced to shut down its plant in Mehdiganj in the state of Utter Pradesh. But on June 20, the company was granted a temporary stay pending appeal and allowed to reopen. However, Coca-Cola had also built an expanded facility in Mehdiganj which remains shut down. The following excerpts are from a statement released by the India Resource Center:

"Coca-Cola's expanded facility in Mehdiganj has already been built but has not been able to begin commercial operations. The company also faces a major obstacle in its operations because some of the land acquired by Coca-Cola for its plant is community owned land and cannot be used for private purposes. In December 2013, local authorities passed an order to evict Coca-Cola from the illegally occupied land but Coca-Cola approached the courts and obtained a stay order.

"Coca-Cola has also been forced to shut down another bottling plant in India in 2004 — in Plachimada in the state of Kerala, and faces legislation holding it liable for $47 million in damages as a result of its operations. The company is also the target of a major community campaign in Kala Dera in Rajasthan where the community is seeking closure of the bottling plant due to rapidly depleting ground water. Most recently, Coca-Cola's plans to build a new factory in Charba in Uttarakhand were defeated almost as soon as the proposal was made public in 2013, testament to how quickly and efficiently communities can organize and network in India against problematic companies such as Coca-Cola..."

For additional information, check out the sections "Coca-Cola's Water Stewardship in India: A Travesty" and "Reducing Global Water Footprint: Coke's Deceptive Public Relations Gimmick" in "Buying Respectability: Coca-Cola and the Co-opting of the Corporate Social Responsibility Movement ."

Statement on Court Stay Order on Coca-Cola Closure Notice:
Old Bottling Plant Can Temporarily Resume Operations Until Further Hearings
India Resource Center, June 20, 2014

Read Statement

"Coca-Cola Plant Shut Down Mehadiganj in India, Authorities Cancel License," Sagar Media, June 18, 2014
Nandlal Master, Lok Samiti (Hindi) +91 94153 00520,
Amit Srivastava, India Resource Center +91 98103 46161

Read Article

Boycott Honest Tea!

3. United States: Port Townsend Food Co-op Drops Honest Tea Over Coke's Abuses

On March 1, 2011 The Coca-Cola Co. purchased 100 percent of Honest Tea and the Park Slope Food Coop in Brooklyn, New York took the bottled tea off their shelves. The Coop voted to boycott all Coke products back in 2004 and continues the boycott through the present.

In 2007, the Port Townsend (Washington) Food Co-op supported the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke and decided to boycott Odwalla. This May, the Campaign was contacted by Janet Welch, the Co-op's board president.

She wrote: "We are 'revisiting' the boycott... Honest Tea is offering to meet with the board and a local videographer has offered to set up a video conference with Coke.

She further noted: "We discussed it at our meeting last week and will schedule time for a discussion and decision at our June board meeting. I believe that almost all of us back the boycott, as have 83% of the members who responded to an online poll."

In June, Janet wrote:

"Just wanted to let you know that in a 6 to 1 vote, this month our board affirmed our participation in the boycott. And the CEO of Honest Tea was concerned enough that he offered to come speak to the board."

4. Nicaragua: Fighting Back Against Coke's Multi-million Dollar Rip-off

The Campaign was contacted by Josue Hernandez from Managua, Nicaragua who is leading a campaign against Coke accusing the company of cheating thousands of Nicaraguans out of millions of dollars in prize money during one of its marketing schemes.

Watch Video on YouTube

Josue also informed us: "Coca-Cola is always using children in every advertisement they show in Nicaragua" and "a worker at Coca-Cola told me that some of them are being mistreated verbally by supervisors."

Josue was just 6 years old in 1993 when Coca-Cola advertised throughout the country that purchasers of Coke with winning bottle caps would win substantial sums of money. When more than 8000 people turned in winning caps, the company refused to pay up claiming there had been a printing error. The refusal by Coke to pay led to Nicaraguan people creating a group called God Helps Us to sue Coca-Cola.

A group of 7,000 families won the case but Josue says "Coke gave money to the judges." Now the case has been reopened and Coke is again "buying the judges." Josue and the God Helps Us group is determined to win justice and make Coca-Cola pay up.

The following six-minute video has holders of winning bottle caps, many living in shanties and dire poverty, telling their story about hopes for a better life after learning of their winning only to have Coke shatter those dreams.

Watch Video on YouTube

Josue can be reached at: email: jotrix18@yahoo.com; telephone: 505 885 595 26

5. Mexico: Coke Bottler's Holbox Island Land Grab Efforts Draw Ire

The Campaign to Stop Killer Coke was visited by a frequent traveler to Holbox Island who said he represented the angry sentiments towards Coca-Cola of many island inhabitants and visitors and wanted to bring knowledge of our campaign back to the island. He left with Stop Killer Coke t-shirts, posters, literature, buttons, films and videos.

Fernando Ponce, a development magnate and chief of Coca-Cola distribution company Bepensa of Merida, Mexico is drawing the ire of Holbox Island residents, visitors and environmentalists for trying to grab local land to build a high-end resort in a pristine area that "is largely untouched, replete with mangroves, barely navigable and located in a nature reserve." An Associated Press article, "Resort plans draw fire in Mexico flamingo reserve" (6/6/14), reported "Environmentalists say the canal would threaten the very flamingos and manatees that have made Holbox a mecca for nature tourists.

The Los Angeles Times (10/18/12) reported, "Isla Holbox has sat at the center of a complex legal dispute pitting powerful developers seeking to build a high-end resort against a group of longtime residents who say they were cheated out of their rights...'

"Land dispute ruffles palm fronds on Mexican island" by Daniel Hernandez and Cecilia Sanchez, Los Angeles Times, October 18, 2012
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"Isla Holbox, Mexico's enchanted island" by Claire Wrathall, Financial Times, January 10, 2014
Read Article

6. American Academy of Pediatrics Falls Prey to Greed & "Insanity"

Is the leadership of the AAP "out of their minds?" or "just plain stupid?" seems to echo the sentiments of growing numbers of AAP members and child health advocates. In a report the Campaign issued on April 21, 2014 "Buying Respectability: Coca-Cola and the Co-opting of the Corporate Social Responsibility Movement," we stated:

"Coca-Cola's hypocrisy and attempted deception with respect to children's well-being is further evident on the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) 'healthychildren.org' website. There Coca-Cola posts its 'LIVE POSITIVELY Coca-Cola' ad, which is totally inappropriate and disgusting. Shame on Coca-Cola and shame on the irresponsible, money grubbing AAP whose tagline 'DEDICATED TO THE HEALTH OF ALL CHILDREN' which accompanies its logo would be more appropriate if it read 'DEDICATED TO PROFIT, CHILDREN BE DAMNED.' "

It should be noted that Coca-Cola has a special McDonald's division inside The Coca-Cola Co. headed by Coca-Cola Vice President Javier Goizueta. McDonald's is a pre-eminent junk food and Coke retailer.

AAP helps to make kids obese and unhealthy by promoting sponsors Coca-Cola and McDonald's. (Photo: The Daily Edge/AP/Shakh Aivazov)

"American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Family Physicians Prostitute Their Integrity by Accepting Sugar-Laden Soft Drink Money
"Doctors are Helping to Market Soda to America's Children"
Tobacco News Analysis & Commentary, April 13, 2011

Read Article

"The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has entered into a corporate partnership with the Coca-Cola Company, in which Coca-Cola is providing money to AAFP in return for public recognition, improvement of its public image, distraction of public attention away from the role of Coca-Cola's products in the obesity epidemic, a lucrative marketing opportunity for Coke, and ultimately, an increase in its bottom line (Coke sales)..."

"In 2010, the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) helped Coca-Cola market its products by participating in Coke's sponsorship of the 2010 Olympic Torch relay. Not to be outdone, she was joined by a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the president of the American Dietetic Association. These health professionals stood shoulder-to-shoulder with top Coca-Cola sales and marketing executives in this major effort to promote Coke internationally...

"By accepting these sponsorships from the leading manufacturers of sugar-laden soft drinks that are contributing to the nation's obesity epidemic, by playing a role in the marketing of these products, and by actively promoting these companies as international leaders in children's health, the American Academy of Family Physicians and American Academy of Pediatrics are butchering the Hippocratic Oath that all of its physician members took. Rather than "doing no harm," these sponsorships are doing tremendous harm to the protection of the public's health by helping these massive corporations market their unhealthy products."

7. Corporate Crime Reporter and IndiaCSR Report on 'Buying Respectability: Coca-Cola Co-opts Corporate Social Responsibility Movement'

"Buying Respectability: Coca-Cola Co-opts Corporate Social Responsibility Movement" by Corporate Crime Reporter, April 22, 2014
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"In an open letter to the Calvert Group and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), Rogers challenges the groups' designation of Coca-Cola as "socially responsible," with detailed documentation of Coca-Cola's human rights, child welfare, and environmental abuses spanning decades...

" 'The scofflaw Coca-Cola Company is out of control and even its biggest cheerleaders and stockholders, Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates, can't hide the damage their company is doing on a worldwide scale,' Rogers said...

"The report details how NGO's like the American Academy of Pediatrics, Oxfam America, Save the Children and the World Wildlife Fund help the company promote an undeserved image of respectability, which helps shield Coca-Cola from accountability."

"Coca-Cola Co-opts CSR Movement," IndiaCSR, April 24, 2014
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