Thanks to @stevebridger for alerting me to this. Coca-Cola are putting $5million into the Clinton Initiative over the next three years and it looks and feels like little more than a profile raising initiative. Watch the interview with Muhtar Kent, Coca-Cola’s CEO and Chairman, and make a judgement for yourself (don’t be put off by the intro advertisement!). I watched it and I am not at all inspired. In my humble opinion, Coca-Cola have to get out of the ‘selling more Coca-Cola’ box if they are to sell more Coca-Cola AND aspire to helping pull Africa out of grinding poverty. Let me explain.
Growing Coca-Cola’s dominance of the fizzy drinks market in Africa will definitely create more jobs. And if they do it sensitively, which they have committed to do, this process will help alleviate poverty and increase equality. However, in my opinion, what is being sold as a huge development initiative is essentially ‘business as usual’. Not only that, my suspicion that there is a limit to the amount of fizzy drink people can consume and the growth of Coca-Cola will be at the expense of other soda producers. So while jobs are being gained in Coca-Cola they will be being lost elsewhere.
I don’t know what others think but ColaLife is what Coca-Cola needs to make it truly stand out as a leader. A commitment to ColaLife alongside the ‘business as usual’ approach would get Coca-Cola into markets of consumers with a social conscience that do not consume Coca-Cola at the moment on principle. ColaLife, implemented properly, would also completely transform Coca-Cola’s image and consumers’ attitude towards it.
I’m going to have a look and see what strings are attached (if any) to the $5million donation to the Clinton Initiative because ColaLife could make extremely productive use of some of this.