Newsweek ranked Coca-Cola as the ninth greenest company in the world. Coke earned this recognition by doing things like pioneering bioplastic bottles. But one has to wonder how Newsweek’s recognition reconciles with the company's signature soda being “…considered a major contributor to health conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay.”
This begs the question: Should we applaud companies like Coca-Cola that take leadership in reducing their environmental impacts? Or should we recognize that 'less bad' is no longer good enough?
But the volume of sustainability successes, while considerable, still pales in comparison to the size of the challenge.
For the first time in recorded history, the earth has reached levels of 400 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Our hotter planet is creating food and water scarcity on a scale that the U.S. Department of Defense projects will increase the threat of war around the world.
Approximately half of our food is sourced from the largest food companies. This Big Food diet has damaged our health. Thirty-seven percent of Americans are either diabetic or in a pre-diabetic condition. The health care costs tied to eating Big Food threatens our national solvency including the ability to fund Medicare.
We confront a future where incremental change cannot deliver meaningful solutions. We have passed the “Band Aid stage” of sustainability’s maturation. The path to sustainability now requires disruptive change.
We are approaching the tipping point where the consumer/voter will not accept as authentic a company like Coca-Cola being recognized as a top-10 green company when its principal products are linked to a national (and global) health crisis. Driven by pain, consumers/voters will increasingly demand of businesses and government:
Image credit: Flickr/Mike Mozart
Bill Roth is a cleantech business pioneer having led teams that developed the first hydrogen fueled Prius and a utility scale, non-thermal solar power plant. Using his CEO and senior officer experiences, Roth has coached hundreds of CEOs and business owners on how to develop and implement projects that win customers and cut costs while reducing environmental impacts. As a professional economist, Roth has written numerous books including his best selling The Secret Green Sauce (available on Amazon) that profiles proven sustainable best practices in pricing, marketing and operations. His most recent book, The Boomer Generation Diet (available on Amazon) profiles his humorous personal story on how he used sustainable best practices to lose 40 pounds and still enjoy Happy Hour!