Watchdog applauds Coca-Cola decision

29/12/2009 15:54

THE decision by Coca-Cola Amatil Fiji to remove all Coca-Cola full-sugar sparkling beverages in primary schools nationwide by 2010 must be commended.

The Consumer Council sincerely appreciates the decision initiated by a renowned brand company, as it displays social responsibility expected of local and international soft drink makers and distributors.

The company also has a longstanding global policy which ensures that they do not market their products to children under the age of 12. Recently, Coca-Cola responded positively to a complaint that targeted children under the age of 12 by pulling off a commercial aired on Fiji TV irresponsibly showcasing a child deliberately throwing burning fireworks inside a house. This was dangerous and it sent the wrong message to children and the public.

Again such response exemplifies a company’s duty to its social and moral obligation to the community at large. Such bold decisions are indications that many companies like Coca-Cola are beginning to realise that they must act in accordance with the norms of right and wrong.

Not only are soft drinks widely available everywhere from fast food restaurants to video stores, they are sold in almost all schools, primary and secondary. In an epic effort to tackle healthy lifestyle for our young here in Fiji, the Ministry of Education also mounted a campaign to ban the sale of unhealthy foods to students in schools. Parents and school managements were called to make every effort to supply their children nutritious meals to take or buy from school canteens.

As part of Coca-Cola Amatil Fiji support for a healthy and active lifestyle the move is in line with the country’s focus on issues of health, especially with the young generation.

The Council hopes that Coca-Cola’s decision will not be seen by other soft drink companies as an opportunity to fill the vacuum created by Coca Cola since Coca Cola is pulling out from primary schools. The Council expects other soft drink companies to spare young children getting addicted to high content sugary drinks.

Throughout 2010 the Council will monitor primary schools to gauge the action and reaction of other soft drink companies.