Are Coke's Water Conservation Intentions for Real?

Coca-Cola just began their annual shareholders meeting yesterday and they were met with resistance from activists and some shareholders when it came to their environmental commitments.

"Coke is working very hard to avoid addressing reasonable questions about product quality testing and disclosure, all the while talking about its rigorous safety and quality requirements," said Gigi Kellett, national director of Corporate Accountability International's Think Outside the Bottle campaign. "People are wondering what exactly this corporation has to hide."

It seems Coke is trying to green (or blue) its image, but anyone with any real concern about the environment and our water crisis aren't buying it. Folks have been calling on the company to report on water quality, label their water sources, and stop pumping in regions that already have limited amounts of water.

One of the areas particularly hard hit has been India. As the India Resource Center reports:

A recent study funded by Coca-Cola confirmed that the company's bottling plants contribute to severe water shortages around some of its bottling plants in India. The report also recommended the closure of a bottling plant in Kala Dera in Rajasthan and cautioned Coca-Cola on the declining water tables in Mehdiganj in Uttar Pradesh.
"Coca-Cola's own report as well as government studies have confirmed what we have been saying all along -- that the company has worsened the water crisis for thousands of people," said Nandlal Master of Lok Samiti which coordinates the community campaign against Coca-Cola in Mehdiganj.

How has Coke responded? They've come up with some initiatives that don't hold much weight. Here's the rundown from Corporate Accountability International:

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