Coke Funding for Anti-Obesity Charity a Tainting Embarrassment

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July 11, 2011; Source: | When the core business of a funder directly conflicts with your mission, it is probably time to stop and think about the tainting possibilities, but when you deride others for their lack of integrity in taking similar funding while still accepting it yourself . . .

This is the case for a U.K. charity, the National Obesity Forum, which took £50,000 from Coca-Cola in January to promote low calorie sweeteners. The donation was accepted just shortly after the organization had expressed that it was horror struck over the government’s policy of accepting funding from companies for its national health program. The NPQ Newswire has documented a number of such “charitable” endeavors on the part of junk food companies in the area of obesity prevention.

It is worth repeating what many of you have heard over the years from study after study –not only are some sweeteners in use by Coca-Cola suspected to carry health risks of their own, but a more recent study suggests that those who drink two or more diet sodas a day actually gain waistline inches at five times the rate of those that do not.

It is also worth repeating that your reputation is a huge and sometimes unrecognized part of your asset base. Guard it well.—Ruth McCambridge

We ask readers to finish this statement: Coca Cola funding obesity prevention is like…

  • Karen Graham

    An organization lost my support over a similar issue – a youth organization that chose to participate in the Pepsi Challenge. I felt it was in conflict with their mission of promoting health and self esteem for girls, and told them so. They didn’t respond.

    Short of withdrawing from the program, I think they still could have won me back by acknowledging my concern and explaining the rationale for their decision. Damage control, and a bit of humility, can go a long way to repair situations like the one the National Obesity Forum is facing right now. (Of course, using good judgment from the start is even better.)

  • Emile Paradis

    “Coca Cola funding obesity prevention is like

  • Kathy Clark

    Coca Cola funding obesity prevention is like

  • Karen Bassler

    The bigger issue here is the inconsistency between statement and action. The nonprofit said it was “horror struck” at government accepting anti-obesity funding from companies like Coca-Cola, and then turned around and accepted funding from … Coca-Cola. Regardless of issues with Coke funding anti-obesity campaigns – and I support Emile’s point above – a nonprofit loses much credibility if it does not adhere to standards it insists for others.

  • Andrew L.

    Interesting case linked below which profiles the American Heart Association’s quest for corporate sponsorships that “feel right.”

    Essentially, each potential corporate partnership is evaluated based on their mission alignment with the organization. The higher the mission alignment a potential sponsor has with the org, the tighter the polices on how the sponsor can use the affiliation.

  • Bob LaVallee

    To paraphrase Omar on “The Wire”: money doesn’t care who it belongs to. I’ll take bad money to support my good mission any time.

  • Palau Seribu

    The Playboy Foundation supports Planned Parenthood in Chicago.