Climate change is one of the most serious issues of our day. Take the Arctic sea ice, which covers an area about the size of the U.S. Between 1978 and 1996, Arctic sea ice decreased by an estimated six percent, losing an average of 345,300 square kilometers a year, an area larger than the Netherlands, according to Worldwatch Institute. The average thickness of Arctic sea has thinned also.
From the 1960s to the mid-1990s, Arctic sea ice thickness decreased from 3.1 meters to 1.8 meters, a 40 percent decrease in less than 30 years. The Arctic Greenland Ice Sheet, the largest land-based ice mass outside of Antarctica, has thinned over a meter a year on average since 1993 along parts of its southern and eastern edges. Loss of Arctic ice means polar bears lose their habitat.
Enter the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Coca-Cola Company which launched a partnership in 2011 to help preserve an area of the Arctic sea ice. The WWF created a management plan for an area in Canada and Greenland that has a “safety net” of ice that many scientists think will last longer than other places. The WWF calls this place the “Last Ice Area,” which covers about 500,000 square miles, or twice the size of Texas. The management plan covers many needs, including:
- Conserving the habitat for Arctic ice-dependent species, including polar bears
- Protecting the cultural heritage of local people
- Improving livelihoods
Coca-Cola launched the Arctic Home campaign in 2011 to raise awareness and funds. In the fall of 2011, Coca-Cola launched a limited edition Arctic Home Coke can, and added white bottle caps on Coke and other Coca-Cola products. The limited edition Coke cans and white bottle caps, in stores from November 1, 2011 to February 2012, featured a mother polar bear and two cubs trekking across the Arctic. The company re-launched the Arctic Home campaign on December 1, 2012. As part of the second phase of the Arctic Home campaign, Coca-Cola has brought back the memorable Coke cans with the mother polar bear and her two cubs. The cans will be on store shelves until February.
As part of the first phase of the Arctic Home campaign, Coca-Cola invited its customers to donate to WWF by texting the package code. Through its customers’ donations, and its matching funds, almost $1.8 million was raised. The company is doing the same thing this year, and is committed to matching up to $1 million in donations through February 15, 2013. Coca-Cola almost committed to donating $2 million over a five-year period.
This is not the first partnership between WWF and Coca-Cola. Since 2007, WWF & Coca-Cola have worked together to improve the company’s water efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions within its manufacturing operations. The company set the goal of reducing GHG emissions five percent in developed countries by 2015, a goal it has already exceeded. In 2011, the GHG emissions levels from the company’s operations in developed countries were nine percent below 2004 baseline emissions.
Image source: World Wildlife Fund