Sunday, May 11, 2008

13. ANALYSIS. Getting a sense of Coca-Cola's philanthropic ideas!

In a country where 70% of irrigation water and 80% of its domestic water supplies come from its rapidly depleting groundwater reserves, groundwater recharge is bound to get unstilted support. What if the recharge is funded by Coca-Cola from out of the profit it nets by extracting groundwater in the first place! That the company's expanding business eyes country's groundwater reserves is pushed aside. Not without reason as everybody is brainwashed by the corporate PR that passes for news these days, which makes everyone think that the Coca-Cola groundwater recharge model is the greatest invention to come down the pike since the wheel was invented.

It needs multiple voices and committed cheerleaders to hold aloft the corporation's water stewardship credentials. That it's bottled waterbrand Dancing was awarded with `Consumer's International 2007 International Bad Product Awards' - filtering drinkable tap water andselling it back to the market, particularly in Europe; that it faces charges for human rights abuses of union members trying to organise Coca-Cola plants in Colombia; and that two-thirds of freshwater used by Coca-Cola is converted into wastewater globally are facts that the company will see erased sooner from the public memory!

Co-opting unsuspecting civil society organisations to support corporation's green makeover comes handy. Coca-Cola's long-term partnership with the World-wide Fund for Nature; it's recent supportof $1 million to the Global Water Challenge, and its ongoing funding for more than 100 community water projects in 49 countries are designed to help the company avoid addressing reasonable questions. In India, where the privatisation of the state is nearly complete and where the idea of capitalism is fast sinking into middle-class psyche, the propaganda that a beverage company is recharging groundwater gets accepted without question....more


Rajesh said...

The article in your blog is just a juicy article put up by an unscientific and illogical person who cannot appreciate even good efforts if they come from an MNC.
For the MOTHER EARTH - depleting water table is painful (be it due to industry or agriculture) and any Ground Water Re-Charge effort is a relief (be it by the Industry or the farmer).
We would not have shared this confession had we not come across the article in your blog.
The truth of our experience will rip your article apart !


We at Chitresh & Associates were for once misled by the propaganda of Amit Srivastava, Nandlal Master, Swai Singh & Sandeep Pandey to the extent that we decided to spearhead the campaign against Coca-Cola operations in India to safe guard the interests of the Farmers.
But like any sincere honest group we first decided to investigate, for our own satisfaction - the extent of damage which Coca-cola operations were making to the interest of the communities where the plants existed.
Our first targeted location was the Kaladera Plant of Coca-Cola situated about 60 km. from Jaipur.
It was shocking to learn from the villagers that every now and then agitations against the Coca-Cola plant were organized in this area by groups coming from out side and all such programmes failed because not even 5 people from the local community ever supported such agitations.
Why was the local community not hostile if coke operations were damaging? Further probe led our team into areas which were perfect examples of outstanding CSR activities.
We were shown the huge Cement concrete roads, which were constructed by Coke in the Village for the benefit of commuters. We were taken around the Primary health Centre and Maternity hospital which were rejuvenated by coke and provided with inverters for the benefit of the indoor patients.
15 Weekly mother and child care medical camps were organized by Coke. Regular Eye camps were organized by the company .
We could see a large number of Hand Pumps put up by coca-cola all over the village for the residents to draw water.
We could see benches provided by Coke for the locals to sit and relax.
We saw fresh tree plantation being protected by tree guards provided by coke.
We saw street lights in the village provided by Coca-Cola.
We met farmers who were provided with training in organic farming by Coke. We even saw a big pilot project where farming was done by drip irrigation system and this system was put up by Coke for the other farmers to see and replicate.
Our team visited Saharia Higher Sec. School and met the Principal Mr. Narendra Arya. During our talk we gathered the information that there were about 15 schools in the area where Coke provides entire year’s fee to all students who stand first in each class from 1st to 12th.
At the end of the day we realized that probably Coca-Cola stands out amongst the Best companies when it comes to CSR.
May be the company decides its operation location according to the business interest but once it places itself in an area then it adopts the area and the community in the most desired manner.
Realizing that our aim was to find faults since we were too convinced by what we had heard from Amit Shrivastava etc. we thought that may be since the company draws water hence all this CSR was just an eye wash.
We immediately took up the issue in depth.
Our team visited the Rajasthan Ground water Department and met their Hydrgeologist Shri P.N. Mishra and Avinash Bhargava.
More was in store for our team when we were informed that Coca-Cola plant in Kaladera only has 4 borewells and each of these borewells were metered and cess was being paid for every lit. drawn. Also that the water withdrawal quantity by the plant was no secret. We were informed that such massive was the magnitude of Rain water harvesting projects implemented by the company in Kaladera area that already the company has created a re-charge potential which will re-charge the ground water by more then 10 times the quantity of water which coke withdraws.
We again visited Kaladera and requested one Local person Ram Kishore Mali to take us around . We saw more then 130 Rain Water Harvesting Shafts. Each was above 100 ft. in depth and filled with filter media. We saw Two Rain water collection Tankas. We saw roof top Rain water-harvesting systems installed by the company in 3 Schools and One Degree College.
Our team realized that there was no issue against the Coca-Cola operations but the issue was with the so-called Activists who want to create an issue when there is no issue.


S. Rajesh

Dr. Vishvas Chatterjee said...

DON'T push an emotional story of 'The saint and the wolf'
In my opinion there is no fool who will spend money on electricity bill to pull out water unless he has a LARGER commercial interest.
Water is a RAW MATERIAL both for Industry as well as for the farmer and both SELL their product and pocket the money.
Even the Government draws water and supplies to our houses at a PRICE.
So much water comes free from the sky as rain drops in the monsoon alone that it exceeds our combined annual requirement or consumption.
Most of this rainwater is allowed to 'RUN OFF' while the need is that Every drop must be honestly guided back into the under ground water aquifers.
Your contribution in this area
Mr.Sudhirendar Sharma ?