[GRRN] Coke Campus Boycott

Amy Perlmutter (amyp@chelseacenter.org)
Fri, 15 Oct 1999 12:03:05 -0400

I get really concerned when I see stuff like this. Coke SHOULD be doing
more to support plastics recycling. I'm not convinced it needs to be put
back into soda bottles, the PET market isn't all that bad, but I think they
should make an active effort in developing stable markets for RPET either
in their bottles or other uses. However, just because they are not doing
that doesn't mean they are harming the environment. I don't mean to defend
coke here, I'm not a big soda fan nor am I fan of coke, but they do do
other things that support, and don't harm, the environment. Using recycled
content is not the only environmental activity that corporations undertake,
and how many of us aren't happy to be able to buy beverages in single
serve? I can't blame coke for that. I think it harms us all when
corporations are portrayed as either all good or all bad when it comes to
the environment or anything else (unless they truly are all good or all
bad). It has been my experience in trying to get companies to do the right
thing that they are often better off from a PR standpoint doing nothing,
because when they try to do something they get attacked by sometimes
righteous environmentalists for not doing enough. Can't we please
recognize Coke for what they do do well environmentally and come at this
from a more positive side and urge them to build on their previous efforts
and do more, or just ignore their other stuff and focus on what we want
them to do, rather than demonize them and discount anything positive they
might be doing? While this tactic might be good for fundraising, I don't
think it does anything to change corporate behavior-- it just alienates
them, makes them think environmentalists are ridiculous and close-minded,
and makes it impossible for us to educate them. And while I think its
great that students are being conscientous about where they work, we don't
do a service to them by leaving out the shades of gray and encouraging them
to make change from within empires that aren't all evil.

>October 15, 1999
> Rick Best, GrassRoots Recycling Network
> 916-443-5422; 916-599-2148 cell
> Heather Kunst, ECOnference 2000
> 215-287-0052
>Coke is named for jeopardizing plastics
>PHILADELPHIA (October 15) - A coalition of
>student activists is launching a new
>campaign to get tens of thousands of
>students nationwide to pledge not to
>interview for jobs with corporations that
>are doing harm to the environment. One of
>the first corporations to be targeted is the
>Coca-Cola Company.
>"Coke is being targeted for its failure to
>support plastics recycling," said Andy
>MacDonald, field director for the Dirty Jobs
>Boycott. "Coke's failure to use recycled
>plastic is hurting recycling and the
>environment. It is time for students to
>demand more of market leaders like Coke
>before going to work for them."

>"By Earth Day 2000, corporations with
>terrible environmental records will hear the
>message loud and clear: if they want to be
>successful recruiters, they have to be good
>corporate citizens," said Heather Kunst,
>Dirty Jobs Boycott organizer.

Amy Perlmutter
Executive Director
Chelsea Center for Recycling and
Economic Development
University of Massachusetts
180 Second Street
Chelsea, MA 02150
617-887-2300/fax 617-887-0399
visit our web site at www.chelseacenter.org