HEALA’s memorandum delivered to Coca-Cola
Memorandum delivered to Coca-Cola
Johannesburg, 16 October 2018
We, as HEALA, are marching to Coca-Cola to tackle the direct advertising, supply and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages in school settings. Empirical research has shown that in South Africa obesity rates are increasing drastically. About 40 % of women and 13% of men are obese. In addition, the presence of sugar-sweetened beverages has also contributed to the 13% prevalence of overweight and obesity in children.
In 2014, a study revealed that of all SSBs brands in South Africa, Coca-Cola accounted for 86.58% of this advertising and branding. It also discovered advertising for SSBs is pervasive throughout the community, seen everywhere from shops and schools to transit stops and on street sides. In 2018, HEALA conducted an audit research in 61 schools in East Rand and Soweto and found that the highest consumed beverages are coca cola products.
Both in 2009 and 2012, Coca-Cola made a pledge to stop advertising to children, however, this pledge has not been honoured, meaning children are still exposed to Coca-Cola’s mass advertising billboards in schools. The consequences of this is that South Africa’s children are developing life-threatening diseases.
In 2017 the Sunday Times reported that Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) is no longer supplying primary school outlets with sugary drinks, but will instead supply alternatives from its range of low- and no-kilojoule products, as well as plain bottled water and 100% fruit juice. However, recent research has shown that some of the alternatives provided by Coca-Cola are equally high in sugar as the average coke beverage thus the main problem is.
- Coca-Cola has, in fact, aggressively increased its advertising to children in and out of the schools’ environment, going against the European Union (EU) commitment made in 2012, following the initial one made in 2009.
- Coca-Cola has continued to supply unhealthy juices which are being consumed by children within the schools’ environment.
HEALA LIST OF DEMANDS:
- HEALA urges Coca-Cola to honour their pledge to stop advertising its products to children in and out of schools.
- Corporate Social Responsibility should not be used as an advertising platform in and out of schools. Therefore, HEALA demands the removal of billboards and mass advertising targeted at children immediately.
- HEALA, as per the school nutrition policy, demands that Coca-cola stops the supply of sugar beverages in schools settings.
- The supplying of items such as fridges or vending machines to schools must remain unbranded. Instead, should carry positive health messages and images in line with the Food- Based Dietary Guidelines.
- Coca-Cola must ensure that marketing should not undermine the promotion of healthy balanced diets.