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Coke, BPA, and the Limits of 'Green Capitalism'

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Politics and Democracy page, Environment and Climate Resource page, Organic Transitions page, and our Food Safety page.


"Coca-Cola goes green," announced  a 2010 Forbes article. Indeed, the beverages giant maintains partnerships with Big Green groups like Conservation International and World Wildlife Fund. It recently even completed its takeover of Honest Tea, an organic bottled-tea company. It would clearly like to be seen as a paragon of "green capitalism" -- the idea that doing good and doing well go hand in hand.

Let's put aside questions over what can possibly be "green" about a business model geared to sucking in huge amounts of drinking water, blasting it with what are probably toxic sweeteners and other dodgy substances, and then packaging it in little aluminum cans and plastic bottles and sending them far and wide, to be chilled (using fossil energy) before consumption.

OK, so within those tight constraints, Coca-Cola says it wants to be a "green company." So ... WTF? Last week, Coca-Cola shareholders voted by a 3-to-1 margin to continue using BPA, a toxic industrial chemical, in the lining of its soft-drink cans.

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