Lawmaker to Coca-Cola: Act on promise to 'do better'

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) wants Coca-Cola’s CEO to follow through on his promise that the company will “do better.”

Muhtar Kent, the beverage company’s CEO, wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday responding to recent accusations that Coca-Cola is deceiving the public about its investments in scientific research and suggesting that exercise is the only way to solve the world’s obesity epidemic.

“I am disappointed that some actions we have taken to fund scientific research and health and well-being programs have served only to create more confusion and mistrust,” he wrote. “I know our company can do a better job engaging both the public-health and scientific communities—and we will.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Kent said the company plans to be more transparent in the future and refocus its investments and efforts on “well-being.”

But in a statement Thursday, Blumenthal said Kent’s self-critical letter on behalf of Coca-Cola only has meaning if it’s followed by real actions that accurately inform consumers about the dangers of sugary soft drinks and the importance of a nutritious diet that includes a healthy amount of exercise

“I am pleased by Mr. Kent’s public pronouncement that the way in which Coca-Cola engaged the public-health and scientific communities was ineffective, but the company’s actions were possibly worse than that because they attempted to confuse the public,” he said. “I intend to hold Mr. Kent and Coca-Cola to account on their promises to do better, and look forward to learning more about their efforts.”

Kent said Coca-Cola will continue working to provide consumers with more choices — waters, lower-calorie and lower-sugar drinks, diet soda and zero-calorie drinks.