In a fascinating story about environmental politics and ecological extortion, Advertising Age reports that American icon Coca-Cola™ is being pressured to change its historic formula to satisfy concerns about greenhouse gases.
Neither spokespersons for Coca-Cola™ nor the others named in the investigation would comment for the record, but what is known makes for a fascinating look behind the scenes at how companies wanting to open global markets are being pressured by governments, a story reminiscent of the recent revelations about Google’s operations in China.
Coca-Cola™ is the iconic American refreshment. Sold in more than 200 countries, its history stretching back more than 120 years, Coke™ has maintained its dominance by continually updating its product line to suit changing tastes.
To the basic Coca-Cola™ lineup the company has responded to consumers by bringing out Diet Coke™, Caffeine-free Coke™ and Coke Zero™, not to mention flavored varieties like Vanilla and Cherry Coke™.
Now anonymous company sources confirm work on a radical new Coke product designed to calm the environmental fears of the European Union. After intense pressure by Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and lobbyists with ties to former Senator Al Gore, Coca-Cola is about to release a product that does not contain carbonation.
Referred to as “Green Coke” or “Coke Minus” by company insiders — and as “flat Coke” by detractors — the new product is said to be a response to EU concerns that carbonated beverages are a major source of CO2 emissions. Ever since the company’s fizzy products were named in Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth as a major cause of greenhouse gases, embarrassed company officials have engaged in secret talks with environmental groups to reform its image.
EU officials, speaking off the record, revealed that friends of Senator Gore encouraged them to punish Coke for its products’ environmental pollution. After a recent UN report found that cow flatulence contributes more to greenhouse gases than automobiles, Gore began looking for a way to shift the blame back on human causes.
Spurred on by EU threats that it might ban its products from European distribution, insiders claim that Coca-Cola has decided to phase out all carbonation from its products by the year 2012, beginning with the introduction of “Green Coke” before the third quarter of 2007.
Coke’s stock price fell 2 points in heavy trading on the news.
Meanwhile, aides to Speaker Nancy Pelosi have hinted at plans to re-open recent hearings on the link between carbonated beverages and obesity, to consider the even more alarming evidence that soft drinks are a major cause of global warming.
Senator Barack Obama has already called on the other presidential candidates to take a “no-belch” pledge, swearing off carbonated beverages for the duration of the campaign.
Clinton campaign aides tried to one-up Obama by revealing that they had returned all campaign contributions from Pepsi and Coke over a year ago when accusations about their roles in climate change first came to light.
Speaking anonymously, a spokesman for the perpetual Al Gore campaign claims the Senator is working on a sequel to his popular docu-drama, tentatively titled “An Inconvenient Burp.”