Many thanks to Rupert Allman of the BBC for his work contacting Coca Cola over the last few days.
This is just in via Rupert from Salvatore Gabola, Global Director Stakeholder Relations at Coca-Cola. I’ll be taking him up on his offer of a chat. We will get there a step at a time.
"This is an extraordinarily interesting discussion. And it is one
which goes to the heart of the key question of how we can make better
use of the successes of business to serve the development needs of the
world in general and of Africa in particular. The recent Millennium
Development Goal Call for Action by Prime Minister Gordon Brown stems
from this simple starting point.
It is also something we take very seriously at Coca-Cola. We are
proud of what we are already doing through the Africa Foundation – for
example, providing safe drinking water to communities throughout the
continent. But we are also asking ourselves how our core business
operation can do more. And this includes whether we can use our
distribution network to deliver other goods which will help improve
lives in local communities.
The challenge, of course, is to do this without undermining the
successful model which helps explain why you can get a Coke across
Africa. Because the very success of this network rests on the fact that
it is not owned by Coca-Cola but made up of many small independent
Our bottlers do help these small firms get started with training and
start-up capital. But the system works so well because the better they
distribute our drinks, the more money they make. It taps into Africa’s
entrepreneurial spirit of and gives people the means and the incentive
to develop their business and create more jobs.
So what we are considering is if, and how, this system can be tweaked
so it remains economically successful but can be extended so it does
more to help the common good.
We don’t have the answers yet. As often happens, it is not as
straightforward as it looks at first glance. But I can promise we are
working hard to find solutions.
This summer, we are beginning a research project and pilot in Tanzania
to analyse in depth our distribution model and examine how it can be
used to enhance its development potential. The Harvard Kennedy School
of Government and the International Finance Corporation are helping
Our hope is that this research will come up with concrete measures we
can then apply to our distribution systems across the African continent
Together I hope we can come up with the right solutions. And I am happy
to have a chat on this subject with Simon in the near future."
Salvatore Gabola, Global Director Stakeholder Relations, Coca-Cola.
I am really pleased. Thanks to everyone for signing up and posting resources to the Facebook Group this MUST keep growing if we are to make things happen so please keep spreading the word.