Big Food and Soda have a big sway over everything from what our children eat at school to whether essential workers get paid sick leave to how the world’s food systems can withstand a pandemic.
And massive corporations like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and PepsiCo spend millions on electing and lobbying public officials, and on science, charity, and trade groups in attempts to influence policy and the politics of food, in many cases, misleading us about the harms of their unhealthy products. But here’s the thing: we don’t know how much these corporations are spending and on what, because in many cases and across vast regions around the world where they do business, they don’t disclose that information.
Here’s just one example. These corporations use the United Nations’ ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs) — a long list of initiatives designed to address issues like poverty, access to water, plastic pollution, the climate crisis, public health, and more — to polish their image and position themselves as part of the solution to many crises that are exacerbated by the actions of corporations. Participation in such “multistakeholder” initiatives also allows corporations to gain access to policymaking spaces and influence the politics of food, nutrition, and public health. But our investigation, like many before, continues to show that corporations don’t track or disclose how much they are spending on these SDG projects, or what the real impact is on the communities deeply affected by their business practices.
That is why we are calling on the world’s largest food and beverage corporations — starting with soda giants Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, and the biggest fast-food chain, Mcdonald’s — to open their books on their global political spending and activities. These corporations operate in up to 200 countries, so it is about time they adhere to the highest standards of political transparency across all these regions
We’ve gotten resolutions onto the official agendas of the shareholders’ meetings of Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and McDonald’s, and with our allies, we’ll be at the meetings, organizing to garner shareholders to vote in favor of global political transparency. Will you add your voice and demand that Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and McDonald’s get their political activities and spending out of the shadows?
Transparency is the first step toward curbing toxic corporate influence and holding corporations accountable. By signing this petition, you will be joining the movement for greater accountability and transparency. We need to make sure that these corporations level with their shareholders and the public about their activities.
Our food systems demand sunlight from the fields to the board rooms. We need to take action now to demand full global transparency from these corporations and make sure they are held accountable for their actions.