Green groups are not happy that Coca-Cola is sponsoring COP27 – which stands for “Conference of the Parties” – and they’re clapping back at the United Nations for this decision. The 27th annual event, which is taking place next month along the Red Sea in Egypt, is aimed at addressing the various issues related to climate change.

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The organizers of this year’s event have assured the public that Coca-Cola is working on “reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” yet this only provoked online commentators. Many activists note the hypocrisy of the company’s supposed focus on climate issues when Coca-Cola is one of the biggest polluters and producers of plastic worldwide. 

Ambassador Achraf Ibrahim, who introduced the sponsorship, explained how Coca-Cola would be contributing to the COP27 conference. Furthermore, Michael Goltz, Global Vice President of Public Policy & Sustainability at the company, said that COP27 gives them an “opportunity to continue engaging with experts, nonprofits, industry, and governments to support actions toward sustainable change across” the company. In addition, Marcel Martin, Chief Corporate Affairs & Sustainability Officer at Coca-Cola, claims that the company has been recognized as “a leader in sustainability.”

Plastic pollution, as it turns out, produces over 380 million tons of material in a year, which exacerbates the climate crisis. Last year’s conference came under fire for serving carnivorous meals, so this isn’t the first time a COP event has clashed with the public. Fortunately, COP27 will “host a plant-based pavilion for the first time.”

However, the hypocrisy of Coca-Cola sponsoring a climate-centered event should not go unnoticed, and the company has been accused of greenwashing — this refers to companies that exaggerate “exaggerating climate credentials to mask polluting behaviors.” So, why does Coca-Cola insist that they care about the world’s oceans, considering the negative effect that plastic pollution has on wildlife and human health?  

Earlier this year, it was discovered that companies like Coca-Cola are taking — or rather, stealing — billions of gallons of water from public reservoirs in Mexico, where there has been a drought for quite some time. After the public outrage, the company offered individuals to collect free water from their factory in Topo-Chico, but this was not accessible by many residents of the drought-stricken towns.

Also, the company’s methods of manufacturing plastic with petroleum are detrimental to the environment, as this emits vast amounts of carbon dioxide. And, unfortunately, many of Coca-Cola’s products are sold in countries and areas with rarely recycle, thereby adding to the ever-increasing littering problem.

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