Ninjas for Health is “a team of creatives inventing new ways to do public health.” Today, the group published a wonderful open letter to health organizations funded by Coca-Cola.
- “You are part of [Coca-Cola’s] corporate healthwashing strategy. They use donations to health organizations to boost their corporate image and deflect negative attention that their product is void of nutrition and causes disease. They use the health halo of your partnership to slow action on health policies aimed to decrease soda consumption during a rising obesity epidemic.
- “You probably didn’t realize at the time that their plan actually didn’t have the best of intentions. You probably didn’t realize that soda is pure sugar. You probably didn’t realize sugar was so bad. You probably didn’t realize how big a problem this was. You probably didn’t realize Coke targets poor kids. You probably didn’t realize they aren’t being honest. You probably didn’t realize their exercise campaigns are sleight of hand. You probably didn’t realize they’re actually fighting against health policy. You probably didn’t realize philanthropy is a common corporate PR tactic.”
- “It’s time to act. Return the money. And sign an organizational policy to no longer accept soda industry funding. Divest from disease. Write a press release celebrating your healthy decision. Host a press conference dumping a 2 liter down the drain. Invite local funders to support your stand by writing a check to replace the Coke funds you’re rejecting. Call on partner organizations to also join you in your effort. By standing up, you can be a role model. You can change the norm of health organizations partnering with corporations who cause disease.”
We couldn’t agree more. As we have said on numerous occasions, AND has missed countless opportunities to emerge as a forward-thinking organization. Its staunch defense of industry partnerships has not only damaged the RD credential, it has also unfortunately cast the entire organization in a tone deaf and unprogressive light.