Coca-Cola is all set to fund a campaign that will emphasise the discussions relating to obesity in Australia, the importance of exercise and taking in proper diet for a healthy body and mind.
In August 2015, the softdrink giant’s global head vowed to publish all about the company’s health funding after the New York Times revealed its ‘astroturfing’ activities. Within six weeks of the revelation, the company disclosed that it gave US$21.8 million (AU$30.5 million) to finance research, while US$96.8 million (AU$134.6 million) was allocated to aid its “health and wellbeing partnerships” in the US.
The company made those revelations in the US that stated it funded research and health aspects in Australia, but the company was not found releasing any such statement in Australia even after six months of US revelations. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the disclosure indicated Coca-Cola offered an “unrestricted gift” of US$100,000 (AU$140,000) to the professor of University of Queensland’s school of human movement and nutrition sciences, Jeff Coombes, in 2014. The aid was offered to foster research on how to exercise to treat metabolic syndrome.
Although the fund offered to the professor did not appear on his university’s grants page, he said that it was used for undertaking relevant research. He added that the soft drink giant did not enjoy any influence over his research. “A quick look at my recent publications would provide several examples where the outcomes did not support the funding industry’s products,” Coombes claimed.
Coombes approached Coca-Cola for financial support. He said that the government provided a clear message that researchers require obtaining more funds from the industry. “Corporate philanthropy has become more important as less and less taxpayer money has been allocated in this area,” he added.
Coca-Cola South Pacific’s spokeswoman confirmed that the company will reveal the details about its Australian grants and gifts in the coming months. “This is a lengthy process as we are currently compiling details of the projects we have supported dating back to 2010,” she said as quoted by Food Mag.