Positive engagement and unlikely partnerships

Happy Coca-Cola Employees Facebook
This is a great comment at the news of ColaLife reaching the semi-finals of the Buckminster Fuller Challenge which I will use to strengthen my response to one of the most common questions I get asked about ColaLife: ‘How can you possibly even consider working with a company like Coca-Cola?’  (That’s a polite version).

Although it’s a minority, it’s a very vocal and assertive minority, who would not work with Coca-Cola under any circumstances and are therefore totally against what we are trying to achieve here.

But ColaLife supporters don’t think like this. They are able to separate Coca-Cola’s  global brand and their image of the company, from the people who work for it and those who associate with it. You shouldn’t write off people and the skills they have just because you have issues with the company they work for. As Sarah says, there will be some Coca-Cola employees who will be very happy on hearing the news of ColaLife’s progress through the Buckminster Fuller Challenge.

If you’re part of that angry minority – and you’re still reading – consider another reason you shouldn’t disengage:  Coca-Cola’s employees and associates excel at many things, especially at distribution. These are skills that the non-Coca-Cola world desperately needs. NGOs and health authorities have been trying to distribute simple medicines for decades and have not cracked the problem. So why not work with other human beings who have?

I despise Coke - Twitter

And when people say they despise Coca-Cola, who are they talking about exactly?

Coca-ColaHQ Kampala, Uganda Coca-Cola distribution Grace MDC

Image credit: treehugger.com

Image credit: Tielman Nieuwoudt

Image credit: Simon Berry

Do they mean the marketing and strategy whizzes in Altanta or the man with the hand cart taking the Coca-Cola that last mile so that he can send his children to school and feed his family? Or the woman, like Grace, running her own Coca-Cola distribution business?

The human race has solved many problems but those that remain are going to need new approaches and unlikely partnerships. ColaLife aspires to be the glue that holds some of these unlikely partnerships together.


  1. Hi Simon,
    I’m a producer at CNN, and I’m interested in booking you for an interview next week. At your earliest convenience, please contact me at the email address I’ve provided.

  2. Magdalena Serpa says

    Estimado Simón,

    Well said.

    It is unforgivable that in this age and time so many children die from simple diarrhoea. We need to get ORS and zinc in the hands of mothers for them to save their children. Probably “positive engagers” understand the importance and urgency of working with knowledgeable people coming from the private and the public sectors.


  1. Simon Berry says:

    New ColaLife blog post – Positive engagement and unlikely partnerships – this will get people going – https://bit.ly/9Kf7ov – #colalife