Coke’s largest U.S. bottler joins the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council
by Perry Wheeler
December 1, 2020
Greenpeace reacts to Coca-Cola Consolidated ALEC membership
Washington, DC – Coca-Cola Consolidated, the largest independent Coca-Cola bottler in the United States, has joined the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), according to a new report from Documented. The Coca-Cola Company ended its support for ALEC in 2012 following pressure from Color Of Change and others around the conservative front group’s work to disenfranchise people of color and its advocacy for “stand your ground” gun laws across the country — the law used as a defense in Trayvon Martin’s murder.
ALEC has also worked closely with the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) to lobby against plastic bans across the country. The Coca-Cola Company left PLASTICS in 2019 following the industry group’s advocacy for preemption laws meant to “ban plastic bans” and undermine statewide progress against plastic pollution.
According to Documented, The Coca-Cola Company owns about 35 percent of the shares in Coca-Cola Consolidated.
In response to the news, Greenpeace USA Senior Plastics Campaigner Kate Melges said:
“No company affiliated with Coca-Cola should be going anywhere near the American Legislative Exchange Council, especially with all that we now know about its years of lobbying for an oppressive and discriminatory agenda. ALEC has been at the forefront of pushing laws that harm communities of color, weaken our democracy, and undermine environmental protections. Coca-Cola claims to care about these things, and even went so far as to leave ALEC in 2012, but does not seem to care enough to demand that its largest bottler stay away from the front group’s destructive agenda.
“ALEC has long spearheaded a racist agenda that hurts people of color and Coca-Cola should be ashamed to be affiliated with it again. Not only has ALEC lobbied for dangerous stand your ground, tough on crime, anti-free speech, and voter identification laws, it has worked side by side with the plastics industry to undermine efforts to tackle plastic pollution, which disproportionately harms communities of color. As one of the worst plastic polluters in the world, Coke should be working to end its reliance on single-use plastic, not supporting groups that want to undermine reduction efforts. It’s time for The Coca-Cola Company to put in a call to its largest bottler and demand that it leave ALEC as quickly as it joined.”
Contact: Perry Wheeler, Greenpeace USA Senior Communications Specialist, P: 301-675-8766