Wednesday, July 2, 2008

and the answer is...

Below is the response I received from Coca Cola. I'm working on a reply, which I'll post when I've got it done.

Thank you for your email to The Coca-Cola Company, Melissa. We take your concerns very seriously, and are glad you took the time to contact us. We want to assure you that the Coca-Cola system does business around the world honestly, ethically, in compliance with applicable law, and with respect for the basic principles of human decency and justice.
In connection with our operation in India, concerns have been raised about the amount of groundwater used to produce Coca-Cola beverages, solid waste disposal, and product quality. I want to assure you that we have one set of environmental standards that we follow throughout the world, including India.
Groundwater: An independent study commissioned by the High Court of Kerala found that under normal rainfall conditions, the Coca-Cola bottling facility would not adversely affect ground water levels. The High Court determined that the primary cause of the water shortage in the local Kerala area was reduced rainfall for several years and ruled that the Coca-Cola plant has the right to use water from the local aquifer. Additional steps have been taken throughout our operations in India for rainwater recovery systems and water efficiency gains in the production process.
Solid Waste Disposal: The Coca-Cola Environment & Water Resources Department has reinforced standards with our plant managers in India in connection with the generation, composition and management of biosolids, which are the organic and inorganic materials that remain after the wastewater treatment process. Even though our biosolids are not hazardous, since 2003 we no longer distribute biosolids for agricultural purposes to any area farmers. We also are furthering our work with industry associations and the Indian government to encourage the development of additional solid waste disposal sites and clear government policies regarding disposal.
Product Quality: Pesticides are widely used in agriculture in India, and if misused, have the potential to contaminate water sources and agricultural products. However, we constantly monitor our ingredients and products for quality control and continue to strengthen our processes and procedures to ensure that involuntary contamination by pesticide residues is reduced to a level well within safety limits. Water used in our products is passed through a multi-barrier water treatment system which includes an activated granular carbon filtration and purification process designed to ensure every drop is safe for use in our beverages. We test for traces of pesticide residues in water to the level of parts per billion, which is equivalent to one drop in a billion drops. Other ingredients used in our soft drinks are also safe and meet applicable regulations.
In closing, let us assure you that we are committed to ensuring the quality of our products, adhering to rigorous environmental standards, and responding decisively when our exacting standards are not being met.
Again, thank you for the time to contact us. If you have further questions, please visit
LesleyIndustry and Consumer Affairs
The Coca-Cola Company

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