[GRRN] Investors Question Coca-Cola on Recycling

Bill Sheehan (zerowaste@grrn.org)
Tue, 26 Oct 1999 11:30:34 -0400

October 26, 1999
Contact: Lance King (703)582-7932


BOSTON, MA (October 26, 1999) -- Several
'socially responsible' investment firms
recently questioned Coca-Cola about its record
on recycling plastic bottles, the nonprofit
GrassRoots Recycling Network announced today
in a prepared statement.

"We are issuing a statement today concerning
investment fund interest in the problems
created by Coke's plastic bottle waste in
response to media inquiries," GrassRoots
Recycling Network spokesman Lance King said.

GRRN Board President Rick Best issued the
following written statement Tuesday, October
26, 1999:

"The GrassRoots Recycling Network has received
a number of inquiries from investment funds
and individual shareholders concerning The
Coca-cola Company's plastic bottle waste.

Ken Scott of Walden Asset Management, a
socially responsible investment of United
States Trust Company Trust in Boston, wrote to
The Coca-Cola Company on September 8, 1999,
seeking clarification of Coke's environmental
record, including their plans to use recycled
plastic in their soda bottles.

Kinder, Lydenberg & Domini, another socially
responsible investment firm, also sent a
letter asking about Coca-Cola's overall
recycling efforts, its current reliance on
plastics for beverage containers, its use of
recycled plastics in countries outside the
U.S., its plans for use of recycled plastics
within the U.S., and its stance on bottle
deposit legislation and regulations.

Amy Domini, KLD partner and CEO of Domini
Social Equity Investment Fund, made these
facts known in a keynote address to the
National Recycling Congress in Cincinnati on
September 27. Domini noted that her fund
holds 579,600 shares of Coca-Cola stock in its
investment portfolio.

The interest expressed by her firm and Walden
Asset Management became a part of the agenda
for a meeting with Coca-Cola executives on
October 14, 1999. Questions regarding the
interest of socially responsible investment
firms in the Coke plastic
bottle waste issue and their meeting with
Coca-Cola executives should be directed to
those firms.

The GrassRoots Recycling Network is gratified
by the interest of these leaders in the
investment community with regard to increasing
plastic soda bottle waste and Coca-Cola's
responsibility for the growing plastic waste
problem. While the possibility of a
shareholder resolution was mentioned in one
news story, it is our understanding that no
definite decision has been made by either of
these investment firms at this time.

However, the GrassRoots Recycling Network
plans to step up the pace of its Coke campaign
again, since Coca-Cola Chairman Douglas
Ivester has so far refused to come forward
with a plan to reverse declining plastic soda
bottle recycling rates."

BACKGROUND: Coca-Cola is a leading
contributor to a dramatic downturn in the
recycling rate for plastic soda bottles over
the past four years. Industry data confirms
that 64 percent of all plastic soda bottles
sold in the United States in 1998 were wasted
or littered. Since coke abandoned use of
recycled content plastic bottles in the United
States the plastic bottle recycling rate has
plummeted. Coca-Cola is the industry leader
with 45 percent of the domestic market, so it
sets trends in the beverage industry by its
packaging choices.

The Coca-Cola Company's actions in recent
years are leading the industry in the wrong
direction from an environmental and recycling
perspective. Specifically, the company
abandoned widespread use of recycled content
plastic bottles in the United States. Then it
introduced the 20-ounce single serving plastic
soda bottle made from virgin plastic, a
petroleum based, non-renewable resource.

Results of Coke's actions and those of its
competitors have been have dramatically
undermined plastics recycling in the United
States. The GrassRoots Recycling Network
launched its Coke-Take It Back! Campaign in
September 1998 as a direct action, in which
consumers mail back empty plastic bottles to
Mr. Ivester to protest the company's waste.

More recently, a CitizenAlert sent out by
Working Assets Long Distance of San Francisco
CA generated more than 40,000 letters, e-mails
and calls to Mr. Ivester. On August 3, GRRN
expanded its campaign with a series of paid
advertisements placed in the New York Times
and Wall Street Journal.

The GrassRoots Recycling Network is a national
nonprofit organization based in Athens,
Georgia. More than 100 organizations and
leaders have endorsed the Coke Campaign.
Local government agencies in 3 states
representing more than two dozen jurisdictions
have adopted resolutions calling on The Coca-
Cola Company to re-introduce plastic soda
bottles made with recycled material. For more
information on GRRN and the Coke Campaign,
visit our web site at: http://www.grrn.org.