|Coke was invented by a pharmacist dontchaknow|
I met with one of the company historians and also a representative from the CSR team who were able to give me some interesting perspective on the role that Coca-Cola has played in the development of Atlanta. Some thoughts and perspective from other cities;
- Coke made the funding for 'Pemberton Place' available which is where the 'World' is located alongside the city's aquarium and also the future site of a museum on the history of civil rights. This was part of a commitment to the downtown area as part of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. The kind of commitment to the city is similar to that of P&G and Cincinnati.
- However, Atlanta didn't suffer from race or other riots in the 1970s as many other cities did (again, see Cincinnati and also Detroit) because, "the city was too busy making money to riot" - it's always been a very business focused place that didn't suffer so many of the issues that other places did.
- The City was apparently one of the first to integrate their businesses, schools and eating establishments - again because there was a good business reason to do so.
- The company has consistently acted as a "thought leader" and catalyst for philanthropy - not always covering 100% of the cost of projects but providing a kick start for matching fundraising. (A different model than Alice Walton in Bentonville of course).
- The company has been involved in the funding or founding of various institutions including Emory University, the Centre for Disease Control and helped saved the baseball team for the city back in the 1930s.
A useful morning and some confirmation of the sort of themes that I've been seeing in other places. It's a shame I didn't manage to see some more of downtown Atlanta - it looks like an interesting city. But I've loved being in the rural part of Georgia. Tomorrow (Tuesday) is election day and I'm going with my hosts to vote first thing which should be interesting!
|The vending machines from around the world were one of my favourite exhibits|