UPDATE: Russell Greene contacted with this update: “A helpful reader brought it to my attention that the current Coke database does list one $10k donation to the CDC in 2015. So over $2 million of CDC funding disappeared, but the CDC is technically still on the list once.”
Hmmm. Remember Coca-Cola’s “commitment to transparency” last year, which resulted in the soda giant revealing what companies and scientists it had funded between 2010 and 2015?
It now appears that lens of transparency may be murkier than originally thought, as “The Russells” (Russ Greene and Russell Berger) report on their blog.
- “The soda company has dramatically increased the amounts declared to some organizations while lowering or entirely removing other payments and organizations. These changes affected payments from 2010-2015. And Coca-Cola made these changes without a single explanatory note on the site.”
- “One significant difference is in Coca-Cola’s reporting of its donations to the National Foundation for the Centers for Disease Control. The current Coca-Cola database has entirely removed Coca-Cola’s relationship with the CDC. The initial disclosure admitted to paying them $2,144,862. The CDC is now completely and conspicuously absent from the Coca-Cola database.”
- “In contrast, the new Coca-Cola figures nearly double the amount of money the soda company admits to giving the American College of Sports Medicine, raising the total figure from $865,000 to $1,526,000. Again, we are inclined to believe the higher figure, but the ACSM changes raise questions as well. For example, Coca-Cola lowered its claimed funding for ACSM’s “Exercise is Medicine” program in 2013 from $80,000 to $26,000. Was the initial $80,000 figure a mere mistake?”
- “Coca-Cola confined its Transparency to North-America-based entities that consented to the disclosures. So the list excludes scientists or institutions that were too embarrassed to be listed next to the American College of Sports Medicine, or who happen to live in other parts of the world.”
- “Given the massive scale of these changes, both sets of Coca-Cola revelations cannot be correct. Therefore, Coca-Cola unveiled false and misleading funding statistics in its Transparency database at least once. Until Coca-Cola explains its wavering Transparency database, however, we are left to speculate as to its motivation.”