Ray Rogers’ Statement Introducing Harrington Investments’ Shareholder Proposal on Sugar and Public Health & Coronavirus Concerns at The Coca-Cola Company’s April 22, 2020 Webcast Annual Meeting of Shareowners
Good morning. I’m privileged to represent Harrington Investments to introduce the Shareholder Proposal on Sugar and Public Health.
Being a world leader in promoting mass consumption of liquid sugar through its products, and knowing the colossal health problems created worldwide by such consumption, The Coca-Cola Company is fast becoming synonymous in medical circles with the likes of Phillip Morris and British American Tobacco.
The Coronavirus pandemic is placing a spotlight on how dangerous to health Coke’s sugar laden products are, especially in light of the company’s irresponsible marketing practices.
One of the sad facts being exposed in the Coronavirus pandemic is how populations in communities of color, major marketing areas for Coca-Cola, have much higher percentages of people contracting and dying from the virus.
People in these communities are more vulnerable because their immune systems and overall health have already been seriously compromised due to their high rates of obesity, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.
All these chronic diseases have been linked to the over consumption of liquid sugar found in Coca-Cola’s flagship beverages which the company continues to aggressively market worldwide to children and communities of color.
Evident by the shameful low scores Coca-Cola receives in the ATNI index, it is clear that Coca-Cola executives, board members and large institutional shareholders like billionaires Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway and Larry Fink of BlackRock simply don’t care as long as profits keep rolling in.
Coca-Cola will eventually pay a high price for refusing to adequately address the sugar/health issue especially as it relates to undermining children’s health as Corporate Accountability notes in its report “Partnership For An Unhealthy Planet.” And let us not forget the use of illegal hazardous child labor in the dangerous harvesting of sugar cane by Coca-Cola’s sugar processors, and Coca-Cola’s complicity in deadly violence against union leaders and family members in Colombia and Guatemala.
When you look at Coca-Cola’s proxy statement, it’s sickening the many pages dedicated to justifying the outlandish compensation paid to its money-grubbing executives and board members whose policies are making the world sicker and sadder.
Our products, irresponsible marketing policies, and the junk science and political interference we deploy through groups like ILSI should cease being leading causes of the worldwide health crisis. Our company should work with real, not phony, health experts in diet and nutrition to help effectively address the health crisis due in large part to Coca-Cola’s fueling the obesity and related diseases epidemics.
This proposal requests that the board issue a report on sugar and public health with support from a group of independent and nationally recognized scientists and scholars providing critical feedback on our company’s sugar products marketed to consumers, especially those Coke products targeted to children and young consumers.
So Mr. Buffett, Mr. Fink and other large institutional shareholders, show you have a conscience and support this resolution.
For Release 8:30 am EST
Contact Pat Clark or Ray Rogers, Director Corporate Campaign/Campaign to Stop Killer Coke