Why Is the CEO of CARE Joining the Board of Coca-Cola?

from civileats.com: In its continuing frenzy to silence potential critics, Coca-Cola issued a press release recently that announced the following: “Helene D. Gayle, M.D., M.P.H., has been nominated to stand for election to the Company’s Board of Directors at its Annual Meeting of share owners in April. Dr. Gayle, 57, is President and CEO of CARE USA, a leading international humanitarian organization whose poverty fighting programs reached approximately 122 million people last year in 84 countries.

Why in the world would Dr. Gayle want to sit on the Coca-Cola Board of Directors when Coca-Cola’s export of non-nutritious, sugary drinks to the world’s poorest countries is causing a new set of chronic health problems for those living in poverty — including obesity, heart disease, diabetes and dental caries (cavities)? The U.S. is already dealing with the phenomenon of food insecure families suffering from obesity, thanks in good part to overconsumption of cheap soft drinks that are heavily marketed in our poorest communities.

When it comes to understanding curious corporate partnerships, you need to follow the money. Not surprisingly, Coca-Cola is listed as a “key partner” on the CARE website. Here is CARE’s description of their corporate partners: “CARE’s corporate partners demonstrate their commitment to finding victories over poverty through their generous support of CARE. Through annual contributions of funds or services, CARE’s corporate partners help bring hope and opportunity to families and communities around the world. CARE is grateful for their support.”

And also not surprising – a Coca-Cola executive sits on the CARE board – Alex Cummings, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of the Coca-Cola Company. From her bio on the CARE website, we learn more details about Dr. Gayle, a well-educated medical doctor and Master of Public Health, who runs this respected global anti-poverty organization: “She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Public Health Association, the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Gayle currently serves on the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships and the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board.

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