Sunday, May 14, 2006

Soda agreement

I guess Colorado's Governor Bill Owens was right: if asked, corporations will do the right thing.

Those that know me know I was being a bit sarcastic. For good reason, I think!

Organic Consumers Union is reporting that the agreement the soda companies announced is completely voluntary. So, despite the grand pronouncement that most sodas will be removed by the 2008/2009 school year, with the remainder removed the following year, it may not happen.

We don't even know all the details of this secretly-negotiated deal because the Clinton Foundation hasn't made the actual agreement available on its website. (However, you can download the photo opportunities from the press conference.) What we do know is that this new policy is completely voluntary, which means it's unenforceable, with no accountability.

I guess we'll see what happens. The soda companies are allowing schools to renegotiate their contracts, but if the renegotiated terms aren't favorable enough, or if the schools aren't motivated enough, the schools won't do it. And things will remain as they are. And ...

Not a word is mentioned about the ubiquitous marketing children are subjected to daily in the form of branded score boards, school supplies, sports bags, and cups (just to name a few), which is required by exclusive Coke and Pepsi contracts. It's no secret that branding is the main purpose of these arrangements. Big Cola may shift a few products around or serve up fewer calories with this new deal, but what's most important to them is maintaining access to young and impressionable consumers in a captive environment.

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