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Environmentalists launch different kind of cola war

Environmentalists launch different kind of cola war

Sierra Club/ForestEthics taste like tar sands

The Sierra Club and ForestEthics have teamed up to try to put pressure on North America’s two largest soft drink manufacturers to stop using fuel derived from the Athabasca oil sands (AKA “Tar Sands”) to run their massive fleets of delivery vehicles:

I’m not sure how effective this prank-style video will be in recruiting new activists to the cause, since it feels like “preaching to the choir”, but the campaign site lays out a pretty powerful strategy to activate its existing support network to use the target corporations’ powerful rivalry as a PR wedge:

Each of these companies has taken steps to reduce their carbon pollution, from buying high-efficiency vehicles to changing delivery, production, and packaging. But there is enormous potential to lead the nation in further reducing fuel use and driving fuel-efficient technology and practices.

These companies care deeply about consumer feedback, so when consumers ask them to lead on climate solutions, we know they will listen. Washington, D.C., remains gridlocked, and oil companies continue their multimillion-dollar climate-denial PR campaign. But these companies have three great reasons to act without delay: First, to protect and strengthen their brand by being climate leaders; second, to reduce fuel usage and save money; and third, to do the right thing for their next generation of customers.

To date, the climate movement has largely given big corporate oil consumers a free pass. Those days are over. With the Future Fleet Campaign, the Sierra Club and ForestEthics will shine a bright spotlight on the need for corporate leadership to head off a climate crisis, starting with oil consumption.

The site has a petition, and even lays out a side-by-side Coke vs. Pepsi social media lobbying tool, in the spirit of The Pepsi Challenge:

Sierra Club/ForestEthics taste like tar sands

Will this campaign have an effect? The jury’s out. But the strategy of pitting brand behemoths against each other with an ethical challenge will make for an interesting campaign to watch.

Sierra Club/ForestEthics
Sierra Club (via Twitter)

I am Creative Director at Acart Communications, a Canadian Social Issues Marketing agency. Read more