You may have seen a series of articles in The Times this morning which are highly critical of, amongst other things, Coca-Cola’s funding of scientific research and relationships with experts.
These articles follow our decision in the US to publish a list of health and well-being partnerships and research activities we fund there, dating back to 2010. Both of these events may have led you to ask why we fund this sort of work. I want to explain why.
We do it because, like many organisations, we need the evidence that scientific research produces to make business decisions about our drinks and the ingredients we use, as well as to better understand aspects of health, like calorie intake and hydration, that are very relevant to a soft drinks company.
The European Hydration Institute is an example of this – a foundation established with the objectives of advancing and sharing knowledge of matters relating to human hydration and its effects on health and performance. It is guided by its scientific advisory board and part of its work involves collaborating with renowned scientists and experts to improve the scientific understanding of hydration.
Commissioning scientists to conduct research is important, as is working with third party experts. Listening to their views helps inform the actions we take as a business. In Great Britain, we have reformulated 27 drinks since 2005 to reduce their sugar and calorie content, as well as introducing colour-coded nutrition labels on all of our packs to provide clear information about their nutritional content.
I know that, as a major food and drink manufacturer, Coca-Cola has a role to play in tackling obesity. We are taking action and doing so necessitates meetings and partnerships with a range of third parties, including academics, healthcare professionals, NGOs, charities and the Government.
In Great Britain we always aim to be transparent about the organisations we work with. We are compiling details of the projects we have supported dating back to 2010 and we will publish this information so it is accessible to anyone who wishes to see it.
Read the full statement we issued to The Times.
Jon Woods is General Manager of Coca-Cola Great Britain & Ireland