Coke vs. Pepsi Results in CSR

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Both Coca-Cola and Pepsi agreed to stop selling sugary drinks in schools back in 2006. Now amidst new pressures, Pepsi earned itself a bit of good will today by making the policy global, and Coke isn’t completely following suit. Pepsi announced they will pull all “full sugar” beverages from secondary and primary schools by 2012–a massive undertaking if you consider the complicated nature of their manufacturing and distribution.

Coke is drawing a line at secondary kids. “We believe school authorities should have the right to choose what is best for their schools,” said spokeswoman Crystal Warwell Walker in the USA Today story about Pepsi’s new policy.

PepsiCo’s press release is chock full of corporate social responsibility, including props from the World Heart Foundation, and the partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation) to change the mix of beverages in American schools.

The preemptive CSR move benefits kids, and knocks Coke on its heels for a moment, as the corn syrup backlash gains momentum, propelled in the news by a variety of things like sin taxes, documentaries, books, Oprah, and armies of weight loss gurus.

Both global companies also sell water and sports drinks.