[GRRN] Letter to Coke's CEO, Ivester

Bill Sheehan (zerowaste@grrn.org)
Sun, 21 Nov 1999 04:23:07 -0500

[The letter below was copied to us last week.]

November 15, 1999

Mr. M. Douglas Ivester
Chairman and CEO
The Coca-Cola Company
One Coca-Cola Plaza
Atlanta, Georgia 30313

Dear Mr. Ivester:

I have been involved professionally in the waste management
business for over 20 years and part of that involvement has
involved the promotion of waste reduction and recycling
activities by both the public and private sectors. Through the
Grassroots Recycling Network and other sources, it has come
to my attention that Coca-Cola continues to give "lip service" to
waste reduction and recycling, especially regarding the
purchase of plastic containers with recycled content for your
famous product (i.e., buying recycled).

I realize that using virgin plastic assures your company of
quality control for the containers that your product is sold in. I
also understand that Coca-Cola may have to deal with some
regulatory obstacles with recycled content containers that it
may not have to face when using strictly virgin plastic resins for
its products. However, as a world leader in the sale of a drink
product packaged in plastic containers and as a responsible
corporate citizen, I feel that your company should, as a
minimum, stop talking and advertising about the "recyclability"
of the plastic container and begin taking the necessary first
steps to find a way to buy recycled content plastic containers
for your product, while increasing the growth and profitability of
your company.

As Chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola, the buck stops at your
desk. At least in this country, a large corporation that offers a
great product and, in addition, finds a way to offer this product
in a way that helps the environment and encourages recycling,
will be rewarded with not only with recognition and praise, but a
better bottom line too. Other large corporations that sell food
and beverages to the public (McDonald's comes to mind) have
found a way to do this. I see no reason why Coca-Cola cannot
do the same or better.

As a consumer of your product, I am requesting that you take
the lead on this issue. I'll be watching and listening.