BOSTON (Corporate Accountability International) — Corporate Accountability International took out a quarter-page ad Monday in a special national parks supplement to USA Today, calling on Coca-Cola's Dasani to stop interfering in efforts by national parks to go bottled water free.
"Bottled water has no place in our parks," says the ad, alongside a picture of a mound of trash in an otherwise pristine environment. "Support the parks in telling Coke to take a hike." (An embargoed PDF of the ad is available upon request).
The provocative ad is the latest development in a national campaign to support parks in reducing bottled water waste and marketing over the objections of Coke and its surrogates.
"Coke has long attempted to use our parks as a concession stand and billboard for its eco-unfriendly product. And now, as parks take steps to reduce the mountains of waste and provide even greater access to the tap, Coke is digging in its heels," said Erin Diaz, spokesperson for Corporate Accountability International's Think Outside the Bottle campaign. "Coke's pressure on the National Park Service has to stop. Public officials with public backing, not Coke executives, should have the final say on what's right for our most treasured wild places."
Prior to phasing out bottled water last year, the Grand Canyon found plastic bottles accounted for 20 percent of its overall waste stream. They have since joined 13 other national parks in going bottled water free, replacing harmful plastic by selling reusable bottles (a lucrative revenue source) and building accessible hydration stations. Critically, in taking these measures, they are also supporting tap water systems, from which up to 40 percent of bottled water is, in fact, derived. And such a highly-visible promotion of the tap, as well as the critical need to reinvest in it, could not come at a more important time: public water systems will require an investment of more than $300 billion over the next 20 years, according to the EPA.
Meanwhile, Coke, which plans to run a full page ad in this same USA Today National Parks guide, continues to publicly oppose the bottled-water-free movement in parks. And worse, Coke has used its relationship with the National Park Foundation to influence park policy. Parks must now overcome a series of bureaucratic hurdles in their efforts to buck the bottle. Coke is grasping for ways to hold on to the earnings potential of selling and marketing to the close to 300 million people that pass through the parks each year. And the greenwashing potential of associating eco-unfriendly Dasani with parks is unparalleled.
Millions of barrels of oil are poured into the manufacture and transport of plastic water bottles. Less than 40 percent of these bottles are then recycled. And this recycling requires an enormous amount of energy resources that could be spared by turning to the tap.
More info at: www.ThinkOutsideTheBottle.org