January 31, 2014
It is possible that Oxfam’s decision wasn’t entirely based on the anti-Israel bias of its London-based leadership. One of the leading corporate donors to Oxfam just happens to be the Coca Cola Company that has given millions to the group. That tie between a company that can be linked to obesity and bad nutrition and a charity that promotes feeding the hungry is seen as a contradiction by some and only explained by the cash that flows from Coke to Oxfam. But the fact that SodaStream is a competitor that is already eating into Coke’s market share could account, at least in part, for Oxfam’s speed in denouncing Johansson.Sure enough, after some digging, I found that in 2011, Coca Cola contributed $400,000 to a research project “analyzing the poverty footprint of beverage giant Coca-Cola and multinational bottling company SABMiller in Zambia and El Salvador” and, in addition, $2.5 million in 2008-2010 for humanitarian work. This has raised some concerns regarding Oxfam’s impartiality towards Coca Cola.
The Oxfam Poverty Footprint Report describes the work Coca-Cola and SAB Miller are doing in Zambia and El Salvador to empower and promote sustainability. It highlights Coca-Cola’s sustainability initiatives.
It does include some telling recommendations for follow-up. For example: