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Coca-Cola CEO interview shows world has changed

In my last post “Gillian Tett of the Financial Times misunderstands CSR” I tried to point out that the rather depressing “It’s all up to government” argument of economists on the left and right is really very outdated.

On my way home tonight I chanced upon this interview on my IPhone which I think makes the point rather well. In this interview “Shaking Things Up at Coca-Cola“, CEO Muhtar Kent makes some eloquent points on the need for collaboration.

It’s clear top CEOs understand this need, but journalists and economists seem to feel they have ‘sold out’ if they discuss it.

It reminds me of the debate about globalisation over a decade again, when someone said: “It’s not about whether you are for or against it, it’s what we do about it”.

That line is just as true on the topic of government/business/civil society sustainability collaboration.

I know in the interview Kent the Coke CEO is talking about solving obesity when he mentions collaboration, but it’s clear he understands the sustainability agenda well.

My bet would be, particularly given Coke’s work with WWF on water, his views on the need for government/business/civil society collaboration apply elsewhere.

Decide for yourself. CEO interviews can often be bland, but he’s really quite good.

The former IKEA CEO seems to agree. He says:

“Contributing to less poverty, more equality and a better environment are changing perspectives on the purpose of business. Such fundamental questions cannot be solved by governments alone.”

Here’s a podcast I taped with him a few years ago.

1 Comment

  1. Kat

    Hi Toby,

    Jamie Oliver just posted this water forward scheme on twitter: http://www.waterforward.org/faq and I thought it was in interesting strategy for using a social movement. I just wondered if you'd heard of it and what you think?

    Kat, from your Thursday lecture.

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