Coca-Cola earns respect for progressive leadership

It’s often difficult for progressives to acknowledge corporations, like Coca-Cola, for the good decisions they make.

Too often, we have a knee-jerk reaction to bash companies for being too focused on their bottom line and accuse them of neglecting their community and their workers.

This tight focus on “bad corporations” leaves us open to criticism from radical, right-wing politicians like Rep. Buzz Brockway who pulls out tired, old talking points to say “the Left is anti-business.”

With this in mind, Better Georgia would like to thank Coca-Cola for being a strong leader in Atlanta, in Georgia and globally. We’re not thanking them for their business acumen but for their leadership on a long list of issues that progressives care about deeply.

It’s a powerful list:

  • Coca-Cola earns a perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign for LGBT equality issues.
  • Coca-Cola has been recognized for its Hispanic diversity and for its overall diversity.
  • Coca-Cola joined the Obama administration’s National Clean Fleets Partnership.
  • The Coca-Cola Foundation awards millions of dollars in grants for water stewardship, healthy lifestyles, community recycling and education.
  • The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation supports a diverse group of more than 1,400 college students each year with $3.4 million in scholarships.

The list could go on for pages but then we would be accused of being a corporate shill. The truth is that Coca-Cola has worked tirelessly for decades to be a good corporate partner in Georgia.

I wasn’t surprised to find out that Coca-Cola was the first company to publicly announce that it would leave the radical, right wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). While Coca-Cola is a multi-national corporation with quarterly profit projections to meet, the company has always presented a brand of openness and inclusiveness.

Progressive values can be profitable.

Coca-Cola’s resignation from ALEC fits with the long track record of progressive achievements the company has earned.

Even though we may receive negative mail from the harshest anti-corporate Left, Better Georgia isn’t afraid to stand up and acknowledge good deeds when and where they are done.

Now let’s hope that UPS, Cox Communications and the Southern Company will follow Coca-Cola’s lead.