New Orleans Something just does not smell right about the protestations from Save the Children that they are dropping out of the point position in the fight to impose higher taxes on soda drinks as part of the campaign against childhood obesity. The R.J. Johnson Foundation had given them $3 million for their advocacy work in the US, which they were regranting to groups on the ground, but despite their protestations it all seems especially sketchy when one looks at their corporate partnerships and willingness to “greenwash” a lot of outfits that make one wonder what’s going on with Save the Children and their willingness to damage their “brand.”
The Times notes that SCF had received a $5 million donation from Pepsico in 2009 for work in India and Bangladesh before they started on the soda tax thing, which the reporter seemed to let go, but contribution worried me as well. SCF would have been joining with Pepsi in India at the very time that the fight led by Amit Srivastava and a large coalition of Indian NGOs around the water usage and contamination of Coca Cola and to some degree Pepsi bottling plants in India was at its most fierce, including mass demonstrations around construction , and outright bans in Kerala and other south India states. On its website SCF touts its work in India “since independence” but Pepsi would have been desperately looking for a BFF in India to clean up its image in this critical market. Both Pepsi and Coke are huge foreign players in the bottled water market in India as well. This is big business, and I could not help thinking that SCF had been either voluntarily or unwittingly recruited as a cat’s paw here.