COCA-COLA, SEABIN and The OCEAN CLEANUP

Yesterday, it was announced on social media, that Seabin and The Ocean Cleanup will be partnering with Coca-Cola.

Seabin says their partnership will enable a citizen science project in Australia.

This comes about a month after they started selling shares in their company and a day before shares are issued (today).

We all know that deals take time to set up, so the company was already in talks with Coke when they opened up to public investors.

Many people who invested will be like me. Not rich by any means – this is the first time I invested in a company because I thought their values to be aligned with mine.

Problem 1

I just find it sad that the company wasn’t upfront with potential investors. Good people who probably do cleanups themselves and who really want a cleaner planet.

Let’s talk about The Ocean Cleanup. I’ve been a fan since Boyan first made headlines as a kid.

I have donated money to them a few times and literally just received the sunglasses that I had to think about buying for more than 6 months.

They do GREAT work.

Problems 2-6

For many people who are environmentally active, Coca-Cola is evil, not just because it is the world’s largest polluter.

In the past, Coke has
– stolen water from communities, from the US to Mexico, South Africa to India.
– violated workers’ rights in Turkey, Colombia, Guatemala , Russia, Haiti and Indonesia.
– been known to exert soft power to influence data that shows how unhealthy their core products are to human health.
– relied heavily on lobbying to gain a foothold into governments and how manipulate how they are regulated.

I feel that it’s very naive to think that Coke will not seek to influence these two companies.

It’s a massive marketing coup for Coke – it surpasses their Christmas ads with whales and the one with the freediver picking up the plastic bottle from the sea.

They are going to piggy back on the hard work, sweat and tears of Ocean Cleanup and Seabin, use their good name to fix their tarnished image. Hopefully the small companies will come out the other side with their reputation and values intact.

I have many questions

Will Coke eventually buy out these two companies?

Will Coke have shares in Seabin that will nullify the voices of the small investors?

Will the seabins and interceptors be covered in Coca-Cola signage like just another ad billboard?

Will Coke eventually buy out the founders of these companies and then truly end transparency?

Will the Ocean Cleanup sunglasses becomes Coke red?

When will Coke stop making plastic (from oil or recycled plastic)?

Considering the massive lack of any governmental pressure on Coke in the past, through fines or regulations to ensure that anti-trust laws are upheld, this kind of partnership was always going to happen.

Only time will tell if these partnerships are for the good of the planet.

What about you? Are you excited by this development or sceptical?

Check out this great video by Greenpeace on Coca-Cola:

Please see my blog for other articles and check here for lesson plans and resources.