You might not expect someone from Marketing to spend much time contemplating the working and living conditions of migrant workers as they toil at building stadiums for football matches and celebratory entertainment.

And you might not think that someone from the Global Workplace Rights team, which spends its days working to protect human rights throughout our value chain, would fully appreciate – and even embrace – the company’s reasons for sponsoring colossal sporting events.

But we do.

The human rights and mega sports journey we’ve been on the past couple of years has given us an opportunity to more clearly see things from each other’s perspective. The result is that we have coalesced around actions and ideas aimed at improving the lives of those who are touched in some way by the world of mega sports, while still celebrating the passion and the enthusiasm that the sports evoke among fans. We don’t mean to imply that all of these ideas were ours – certainly not.  But we recognize that there is a role for The Coca-Cola Company in developing, promoting and advancing ideas that can bring meaningful change and relief where it is needed.

For Human Rights Day 2016, Dec. 10, we thought we would share some information on one such idea – a proposed center for Mega Sporting Events that is beginning to take shape as a result of the vision of John Morrison, chief executive of the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB).

The purpose of the international center will be to develop more comprehensive, consistent and accountable approaches to managing social risks and adverse human rights impacts arising from major sporting events. It will be part knowledge-sharing, part oversight, part capability-building.

To be successful, the center will need the support of sports bodies (such as the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games, etc.); host cities, governments and organizing committees; sponsors and broadcasters; and NGOs (such as the International Labour Organization) representing affected groups. A steering committee was formed with representatives from all of these groups, and we are privileged to be among those who have a seat at the table. The committee is led by Mary Robinson, former U.N. high commissioner for human rights and former president of Ireland.

It’s a bold idea. And bold ideas can take some time to fulfill as careful consideration must be given to how they will be established, implemented and maintained. This proposed Mega Sporting Events center is an idea worth taking the time needed to get it right. More information about human rights and Mega Sporting Events can be found here, on the IHRB website.

We are grateful that our company’s leadership recognizes the value in the proposed center and is supportive of our efforts to help make its vision a reality. At The Coca-Cola Company, we all want to see a world where Mega Sporting Events are built on respect for human rights and where our sponsorships contribute to both the thrill of the sport and to the protection of human rights.

Peter Franklin

Peter Franklin

Peter Franklin is group director, worldwide sports,
at The Coca-Cola Company.

 

 

 

Brent Wilton

Brent Wilton

Brent Wilton is director of global workplace rights
at The Coca-Cola Company.