The Coca-Cola Company, the world's largest beverage company, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the world’s largest humanitarian organization, today announced a global partnership to expand their collaboration. The Coca-Cola Company will invest $2 million to support the IFRC’s work in disaster response and preparedness and public engagement in communities that both organizations serve.Separately, The Coca-Cola Foundation will donate $1 million to the IFRC’s Disaster Response Emergency Fund to provide immediate financial support to help Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies quickly respond to disasters around the world.
“Our partnership with The Coca-Cola Company has the potential to become one of the world’s leading business and civil-society collaborations,” said BekeleGeleta, Secretary General, IFRC. “It will enable us to extend our reach even farther in communities worldwide so we can be of greater service to vulnerable people. In this era of increasing natural disasters, imagine the magnitude of what we can accomplish together in disaster response and preparedness.”
Together with Coca-Cola bottling partners, The Coca-Cola Company and the Red Cross Red Crescent already work together in over 50 countries. This new partnership, which employs the capabilities and expertise of local bottling partners, aims to increase collaboration between the Red Cross Red Crescent and the Coca-Cola System in even more areas around the world, and build on the foundation both partners have developed over nearly a century. For example, immediately after the earthquake in Haiti last January, the Coca-Cola System joined the American and Mexican Red Cross to deliver on-the-ground relief and raise public awareness. In 2010, a donation was made to the Pakistan Red Crescent Society to provide immediate relief including food and shelter of displaced persons following the floods..In 2009, the Coca-Cola System provided relief support to the Palestinian Red Crescent in purchasing an ambulance, emergency relief material, and provided vast amounts of bottled water. Coca-Cola Algeria partnered with the Algerian Red Crescent in Ramadan to distribute Iftar meals from 2007 until 2010. The Coca-Cola System also provided humanitarian relief operations to Red Crescent and Red Cross societies after clashes in Lebanon in 2006.
Additionally, in 2009, the Coca-Cola System supported the Italian Red Cross response to the Abruzzo earthquake by providing warehousing, trucks and in-kind supplies. The Coca-Cola System also worked with the Chinese Red Cross after the Sichuan earthquake in 2008, with the Kenya Red Cross throughout the past few years in response to the on-going drought and with the Pakistan Red Crescent in the aftermath of the earthquake in 2005, as well as last year’s devastating floods.
The Coca-Cola Company and the IFRC also aim to better engage the public in disaster response, preparedness and the ongoing development and disaster management activities of the Red Cross Red Crescent network. For example, since 2000 the Coca-Cola System in Spain has undertaken a series of innovative marketing communications campaigns to raise funds and awareness for the Spanish Red Cross, and since 2007, The Coca-Cola Company in Netherlands has run a Christmas radio promotion for the Red Cross to raise funds for response to the many ‘silent disasters’ (e.g. malaria and mining accidents) that are critical but receive less attention than disaster events such as earthquakes and tsunamis.
The potential humanitarian impact of this partnership is significant. The Coca-Cola Company and its bottler partners operate in more than 200 countries with 700,000 employees; and the IFRC represents 186 National Societies with over 100 million volunteers, members and supporters.
“We are proud to partner with an organization that is as effective and globally respected as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies,”said Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company. “The marriage of our respective skills and expertise will enable us to make a positive difference when we are needed.”
The Coca-Cola Company and its bottling partners consistently respond to disasters across the globe, offering cash, beverages, logistical support and the time and effort of employees and other stakeholders.Since 2000, the Coca-Cola System has contributed nearly $40 million in donations to various organizations to aid communities and respond to disasters.