Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bob Geldof's joined-up thinking

Bob Geldof is on Today at the moment, suggesting that perhaps something should be done about the problems many in the developing world have getting hold of clean, safe drinking water.

It's a very good point - everyone has the right to potable water, and it should be an easy problem to fix if the world puts its mind to it.

Strange thing, though, is that Bob is calling for this, and yet was happy to consider Coca-Cola as a sponsor for Live8 - indeed, until campaigners found out the two parties were negotiating, there were a series of "ongoing talks" to try and seal a deal. As one activist pointed out at the time:

"Coca-Cola is responsible for creating severe water shortages and pollution in India, and thousands have lost their livelihoods as a result. It is absurd to think that a poverty creating company can sponsor a poverty alleviating endeavor such as Live 8," said Amit Srivastava, director of the India Resource Centre which campaigns with Indian communities to hold Coca-Cola accountable.

We could solve the water problems in the developing world. We can, we must. And we could do it a hell of a lot faster if Geldof started holding corporations to account, instead of offering them sponsorship opportunities.

[Plug: Wateraid works in 17 countries providing water, sanitation and hygiene education to some of the world's poorest people.]


Anonymous said...

Now, I'm not a fan of either Geldof or Coke, but doesn't India have a government that should be sorting out the provision of safe drinking water?

Simon Hayes Budgen said...


The problem is not that these people didn't have water, and Coke didn't give them water.

In India, communities had water - which Coke then removed from them, either by over-use, or by polluting the watertable.

You could argue that the Indian Government should stand up to multinational corporations, but why the Indian government should be any better than the American or UK governments at doing that isn't clear.

Anonymous said...

Hi Simon, yes, that was basically my point. I'd not realised the extent of Coke's responsibility for the crisis.

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