The authorities behind the annual climate conference, COP27, are under fire after the announcement of this year's sponsor.
Egypt has controversially selected Coca-Cola to sponsor COP27 2022, which understandably has environmentalists in a tizzy. The conference is meant to monitor climate change and to keep countries in check, but many feel the sponsorship selection gives the beverage giant, which as been touted as one of the world's biggest plastic polluters, a globally "unchallenged platform."
City to Sea policy manager, Steve Hynd, scolded the Egyptian Department for Foreign Affairs decision via The Independent.
“Coca-Cola pumps out billions of throw-away bottles a year, millions of tons of GHGs, and is consistently named the biggest plastic polluter in the world," Hynd stated. "To offer them an unchallenged platform amounts to the gravest dereliction of duty that the organizers have to our natural world as we enter the last chance saloon in tackling the climate crisis
“The climate crisis demands that we all play a part," Hynd continued. "When you center a company that has actively avoided engaging with trade unions, its human rights record, let alone the devastating environmental impact of its business model, you actively exclude other important voices. It’s time we stop centering corporate paymasters and start centering those communities most likely to be impacted by the climate crisis.”
Why is Coca-Cola's sponsorship of COP27 controversial?
Climate activists are floored that Coca-Cola, out of all possible companies, has been selected to sponsor COP27. The annual conference takes place in the Egyptian city of Sharm el-Sheikh, in a few weeks, at the end of November.
Although the brand claims it "shares the goal of eliminating waste and appreciates the effort to raise awareness," per The BBC, it's been one of the most notorious global plastic polluters for several consecutive years. Many calls this a blatant example of greenwashing.
In 2019, Coca-Cola admitted to using 3 million tonnes of plastic packaging annually; and in 2021, an audit named the company the world's largest plastic polluter. Fossil fuel companies were banned from sponsoring the event in the U.K. last year, but as plastics are made from fossil fuels, the promise doesn't remain true this year.
"Coca-Cola's whole business model is predicated on fossil fuels. They have made promises to improve recycling which have never been met," Environmental Justice Foundation Steve Trent stated.
A petition, that has been signed by about 13,000, accuses COP27 of spending "millions of dollars greenwashing their brand."
"COP conferences are supposed to be gatherings of national leaders, engaged in urgent negotiations to prevent climate change," Georgia Elliot-Smith, an engineer who started the petition, told The Independent. "...not a multi-million dollar jamboree for corporate polluters and their lobbyists."
Twitter's reactions to Coca-Cola sponsoring COP27 are on-point.
Many have taken to Twitter to show their disdain for this year's COP27 sponsor. Check out what people had to say, below — it goes without saying many have lost all respect for the annual climate conference, as this is definitely going against everything that COP27 represents.
Hopefully Egypt will reconsider, but the sponsor is set in stone as of publication.