Coke’s public dimplomacy and global climate change

The behemoth MNC has adopted the view of climate change as a very real and tangible economic threat.  The bottom line of any corporation is always going to be economic. However, recent comments by Coke VP Jeffrey Seabright helped draw a stark line between their bottom line and how they go about pursuing it. 

Coke’s objective:  As the VP expressed in so many words,  the primary concern of the company is to prevent economic disruptions from climate related causes, namely water shortages. 

Coke’s p.d. method:

In addition to lobbying the governments of its supply locations for sustainable environmental policies, Coke has done its best to ingratiate itself with various publics through social empowerment and sustainability projects. When visiting the environmental section of Coke’s website, the language is in stark contrast to the to the cold economic language of their bottom line. Instead of the language of supply chains, lower GDP, commodity costs, or financial risk, we’re given the three W’s: Women, Water, and Well-Being. Words like empowerment, commitment, and responsibility are thrown in too. That always helps as who would be against any of those things? It makes for a much more relatable goal.

Regarding bottom line diplomacy, just as Sonenshine emphasizes economic statecraft to free up markets by working with various institutions, Coke has worked on its own brand of “economic -craft”, collaborating with IGO’s and NGO’s to promote better conditions for economic growth on an institutional and personal level.

Coke’s obstacles: Governments wary of initial costs of implementing environmental policy in current economic context and the coal lobby framing environmental policy as having unacceptable social costs. Coke needs to show it has the public good in mind, and any change it calls for will have an acceptable cost/benefit ration. This is why Coke is taking such a comprehensive approach to educate people and change their minds on energy and climate, while simultaneously aligning itself with the public’s best interests in empowerment campaigns. 



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