IF YOU BECAME THE CHAIRMAN AT COCA-COLA, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR FIRST MOVES?  WHAT CHANGE WOULD YOU MAKE?


These and other tough questions were made to Tomas de Lara and me on December 16th, on a beautiful sunny morning filled with many powerful insights in the headquarters of Coca-Cola Brasil, in Rio de Janeiro.

When we joined the meeting room, Tomas, the founding curator of Porto Alegre’s hub, and me, the current curator, saw a room filled with important people from Coca-Cola: all the VPs plus Xiemar Zarazúa, the president of Coca-Cola Brasil. To complete the circle, there were two white chairs, where we should sit to have this awesome talk that was just starting.

The chat was part of a two-day workshop with all the company's stakeholders and us, the representatives of the Global Shapers in Brasil. Since the beginning, we were asked to be brutally honest with all our answers. That was the only way to find true issues about the steps that Coca-Cola must take to make sure that this company generates shared value in all levels of its business, gets more sustainable in its distribution and production chain, and becomes a truly committed company that can build a better future for everyone.

The meeting was offered by the World Economic Forum in order to share what kind of paths we, as young social entrepreneurs, suggest for the future of the brand. We talked a lot about the quality of the product, health concerns on sugar-rich products and damages caused by excessive consumption, hierarchical management models, distributed networks, transition from a tangible to an intangible economy, brand value, sense of community and shared value.

After that, we had lunch with all the vice presidents. In our table were Xiemar, the Business Unit president, Claudia Lorenzo, the VP of Social Business, Tomas and me. We had some laughs and talked about projects like Coletivo Coca-Cola and the engagement with the community opportunities through social impact projects.

Immediately after the session we posted on Facebook about the experience and we had more than 200 likes and 50 comments. People from different backgrounds commenting and giving their opinions about the topics that we’ve discussed. It was a very good start to what looks like being an open dialogue and a journey in this new relationship.

It is very nice to see that most of the guys from Coca-Cola Brazil are willing to listen, understand and make changes in search of a better future. The dialogue is always a positive experience. Always.

Those who want to drive real change must know how to engage in dialogue with the 'new' and 'old' companies and to find a balance in which both sides achieve positive results. Whatever the definition of young and old companies is, we understand that the world is walking along a path of collaboration, civic activism, social impact, shared value and horizontal companies, and as some people say ¨from an EGOcentric to an ECOcentric vision of the world¨. There is no turning back. And they are aware of that.

The experience was amazing. For real. We loved it! I believe that the type of attitude and energy we brought have made dialogue emerge, reflection and mainly the possibility of concrete actions about the gradual and possible changes that Coke must do to get closer to a truly transformative vision.

Our next big interaction with the Coca-Cola team will be in the beginning of February this year.  This time 10 Global Shapers from Brazil will be talking with other 200 invitees from all walks of life, companies, government and so on about Shared Value driven business.

Global Shapers Brasil and Coca-Cola Brasil will definitely build something great together, and this meeting will be always remembered as the moment that we sat together for the first time to imagine a better future socially, economically, and ecologically.

And you, if you were the Chairman at Coca-Cola Worldwide, what would be your first moves to start this change?

Gab Gomes, World Economic Forum Global Shaper in Brazil and founder of Múrmura, an open innovation platform focused on urban problems (www.murmura.cc).