Here is a summary of the face to face
meeting with Salvatore Gabola at Coca Cola’s European HQ in
1 The unique and interesting elements of this campaign were
- it’s not about traditional Corporate
Social Responsibility (CSR) but about the Commercial Sector working with other
sectors (Gov and NGOs), with each working to its strengths, to achieve
something that neither could achieve by themselves
- Coca Cola support many projects in
Africa aimed at getting community access to
fresh water and sanitation but they are traditional CSR-type projects, so this
idea is different.
- the fact that it is a positive campaign
based on practical action
There have been other attempts by Coca
Cola at distribution of non-Coca Cola products in the past but these have not
been successful for different reasons. The distribution of medication for
HIV/AIDS did not work because the medicines need special storage conditions,
needed to arrive in a predictable manner, needed specialist medical personnel
to prescribe them etc etc. The distribution of condoms did not have the same
problems but suffered from others, including the usual issues that arise around
the subject of birth control. The benefits of connecting to recycling
initiatives were also not evident, in countries mostly using refillable bottles
and where the rare cans are already picked up as valuable recyclables.
However, this idea, on the face of it,
would appear to be relatively free of controversy. >>more
2 How to take things forward
It was our view that in order to take
this idea forward we need to identify an appropriate NGO (or NGOs) to take up
this idea with a view to this NGO working with Coca Cola to trial and
2.1 SB to pursue links with
WaterAid through Global Tolerance and his own links (as a supporter)
2.2 SG to check existing
relationships that Coca Cola has with NGOs working on such issues in
(where the pilot may take
We only identified one significant risk
to Coca Cola in pursuing this project but there may be more. This was that in
order for Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) to be used safely, non-infected water is
required. If ORS were used with infected water then this could do more harm
Could sanitation tablets (or a powder
version of the same ingredients) be mixed in with ORS safely?
3.1 SB to make enquiries starting
with The Rehydration Project in
supporters of this campaign.
4 Using the Tanzanian Research Project as a springboard to trial
SG again suggested that this research
project be used to start to test this idea. My only concern is that this idea
was not part of this trial and so may be sidelined. However, the research
project is about exploring new ideas and may provide a vehicle for some
relatively quick trialing of the idea.
4.1 SG to dig out documentation
relating to the Tanzania Project and to check which parts can be shared with
4.2 That there is a meeting after
the first phase of the Tanzanian research to discuss ways forward. This would
include the NGO(s) in 2.1 and 2.2 above and possibly a member of the Facebook
4.3 SG to advise on the
feasibility of such a meeting, date (Aug/Sep?), venue etc
5 The importance of ‘local’
At several points during the meeting we
returned to the issue that anything that is done needs to be defined by the
local conditions (local organisations, local structures and processes etc). It
may be, therefore, that the successful implementation of this idea is broken
down into four or five key functions and that these would then be implemented
by different people/organsations in different localities depending on local
circumstances. ie not a ‘one size fits all’ solution.
6 SG’s role
SG will not be the person who will make
the decision on whether this project goes forward or not. That will depend on
several others within Coca Cola coming on board. Key among these will be the
head of Coca Cola in
marketing team. We’d need the support of their colleagues in the other
territories to make this happen outside of
. However, I think we have a real
advocate in SG who has already engineered joint working relationships with WWF
and Greenpeace during his time at Coca Cola.
6.1 SG to spread the word about
our campaign and discuss with the appropriate people within Coca Cola.
7 More collaboration like this
SG was really interested on the online
element of this campaign and thought that there should be more places where
businesses and not-for-profit organisations can discuss matters of societal
interest online. I can’t believe that this isn’t already happening but having
said that, I don’t know of anywhere where it is. Anyone fancy taking this on?!
8 Next Business Call for Action
SG mentioned that there was a follow-up
to the Business Call to Action in
Wouldn’t it be great if this idea got a mention by the Coca Cola CEO there?!
So, once more, trust has been built and
now specific actions have emerged. I will keep members posted on progress with
these action points through the Facebook group and my blog.
Onwards and upwards
All of the Coca Cola campaign posts