The New Dawn (Monrovia)

Liberia: Coca-Cola Bottling Company Reacts to Media Reports

The Management of Liberia Coca-Cola Bottling Company: We are aware of recent and wholly unsubstantiated allegations in the local and online media of environmental pollution and bad labor practices leveled against the Liberia Coca-Cola Bottling Company (LCCBC).

These allegations are completely false, without merit and are directly contradicted by independently audited review of our plant operations conducted within the last month. These allegations appear to be the work of individuals deliberately attempting to destabilize the operations of LCCBC in the Paynesville Community.

LCCBC is a model and exemplary corporate citizens of Paynesville, employing over 280 full time and part time employees, and with an unblemished operational record.

The Coca-Cola Company mandates the safe operation of its facilities and the preservation of the health and wellbeing and workplace rights of its associates in every plant worldwide, without exception and to a universal global standard.

In 2009, the Liberia Coca-Cola Company constructed a Waste Water Treatment Plant at a cost of over $1.7 million to safely treat waste water for recycling use in our garden and our sanitary facilities. We vigorously reject the allegation of pollution of the environment in Paynesville by waste water from LCCBC as completely false.

Furthermore, we invited delegations from the Ministry of Labor and the EPA, sent by Vice-President Boakai, to investigate these allegations. Both institutions are currently carrying on inspection on these allegations.

A Workplace Rights audit of the plant was conducted by an external audit firm on December 5, 2013 and was passed without exemption.

We reject the suggestion that numerous legitimate complaints had been made to the plant management and that they had not responded. In the recent months these managers have, however, received threats of illegal action against them and the bottling plant. Properly, the management refused to yield and referred the matter to the authorities.

The reporting of such baseless allegations does no service to the public and undermines responsible Liberians who take pride in their work at our plant and support their communities with programs that include:

a. Health initiatives donating over $800,000 in medical supplies and equipment to several hospitals including JFK, Redemption and J.D Memorial and health centers in Clara Town, Dupont Road and Rock Town.

b. A newly constructed Model Science & Technology High School in Paynesville worth over US$500,000 soon to be commissioned by the Ministry of Education;

c. Education assistance to 15 primary schools, benefiting over 2,100 pupils;

d. Women's empowerment programs with more than 4,000 beneficiaries earning profits of over $75 per month; and

e. Providing clean water access to more than 17,000 citizens by constructing mini water treatment plants in Tubmanburg, Caldwell and New Georgia at a cost of over $300,000, with a fourth plant under construction in Gorbachop Market.

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