Omaha, USA, 7th May 2017. “Do you know what Coca-Cola is doing in India, Mexico, El Salvador and other countries of our blue planet?” was the first question of Sibylle Arians to Buffett. The activist had travelled together with two colleagues from the German ethecon foundation to present the CEO with the negative prize. But he evaded the critical questions. The remark caused some upset, but also lots of applause.
Last autumn the Coca-Cola executives Muhtar Kent and James Quincey as well as the major shareholders Herbert Allen and Warren Buffett were vilified by the foundation with the ethecon Black Planet Award. The latter is Coca-Cola's largest shareholder, and thus jointly responsible for numerous crimes of the corporation against the environment and human rights.
“We had many more questions,” reported ethecon activist Anabel Schnura, “but they just turned off the microphone. We made it to the front of the stage with the prize and certificate.” The members of the foundation were holding up the ethecon banner, but they were already surrounded by security and police. They got evicted from the venue and barred for life. Online media reported on the award presentation immediately after it happened.
The first stop of the ethecon US tour for the presentation of the negative prize was the AGM of the Coca-Cola shareholders in Atlanta on 26th April. However, the activists were prevented from attending by security and police while still in public space outside. Despite owning Coca-Cola shares they were denied entry to the meeting with threat of imprisonment. Thus, a personal presentation of the prize to the executives was not possible. That is why the Black Planet Award was publicly placed outside the corporate HQ on the next day.