Ellen Siedensticker, Oxfam America and William Asiko, Coca-Cola – two of the three panelists at the International Business and Poverty Reduction Event in Cape Town on 6 May 2011. Off the picture to the right is Andy Wales, SABMiller and Zahid Torres-Rahman, Business Action For Africa (Chair)
This breakfast event was structured around the same report as the webinar I reported on earlier (see Exploring the links between international business and poverty reduction). However, on this occasion Coca-Cola was represented by William Asiko (President of the Coca-Cola Foundation for Africa) and Oxfam America by Ellen Seidensticker (Chief of Staff). As with the webinar, Andy Wales spoke for SABMiller. The report documents the use of the Oxfam’s Poverty Footprint methodology as applied to Coca-Cola production and distribution in El Salvador and Zambia. The methodology attempts to assess the impacts of Coca-Cola’s operations on those who supply inputs and those who distribute and sell the products. The report then highlights areas where the positive impacts could be increased and the negative ones reduced or eliminated. What is clear from the report is the extent to which Coca-Cola, through its bottler in these countries, SABMiller, was willing to open up and share information. Although Andy Wales pointed out that SABMiller already publishes its progress, country by country, against 10 sustainable development indicators on an annual basis on its website through their SAM portal.
It was Andy Wales who spoke last from the platform but before he finished he handed over to Chibamba Kanyama, Director of Corporate Affairs, for Zambian Breweries (owned by SABMiller) who was in the audience. Chibamba went into some of the detail of how Zambian Breweries were responding to the report’s recommendations. It was at this point that the ColaLife pilot got a positive mention. It is incredibly fortuitous, and a complete coincidence, that this work was done in Zambia and that a successful ColaLife pilot will contribute to the fulfilment of some of the recommendations made.
When Andy handed over to Chibamba it was a complete surprise to me. I hadn’t realised that Chibamba would be there. Regular readers will know that Chibamba was the first person we met from SABMiller on our first trip to Zambia in October 2010 which was reported here. Anyway, we were able to have a mini catch-up on progress which was a good preliminary to our meeting in Zambia the week after next.
The poverty footprint report can be downloaded here (PDF, 3.9 MB).