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No, Costa Coffee, it’s not OK



For a long time I haven’t been watching any of Greta Thunberg’s speeches, partly because I know what she’s up to and partly because I’ve seen it all before: young girls pouring their heart and intellect out in front of politicians and businessmen. Today, I relented and I watched her speak at the UN Climate Summit. Yes, Greta, speak for all of us, “we’ll be watching you.” 


Before I first took on a role in public service, I met with then CEO of the organization I was going to join, and during the interview it got too emotional for me and I teared up. The CEO alluded to me getting all emotional as if in mockery. In one of his speeches to us employees he said that it was important not to be emotional and instead to be professional. I begged to differ but I didn’t communicate my thoughts out loud. Later that day I anointed myself with the title of “The Emotional Professional.” 


Before I went to college, I wanted to understand how our brain works, and after researching a bit, I thought taking up Neuroscience as a major in college would help in that. It did a bit, but I concluded that if we are to affect any positive change in this world, we have to address one another without looking at each other as mere species that exist and whose brains can be manipulated by manipulating neurological signals, even if the latter is what is effectively happening most of the time. 


I still stand my ground, despite the disapproval I encounter on a daily basis, and the condescension I face when communicating how the way business is done needs to change. I still stand my ground despite the fact that reaching out to businesses with advice and concerns without a product or service to sell meant not being taken seriously. Business as usual and adult men who cannot differentiate between a professional interaction and a romantic proposition when they see an attractive woman, stand in the way. 


In our advocacy work, we have reached out to a number of companies with our concerns, and I will be discussing our interaction with Costa, primarily because yesterday morning, I encountered another defeat. Yesterday morning while waiting for the bank to open I checked out the nearby Costa for evidence of disposables used by those dining in, like I usually do, and I found something worse, a bandaid. Costa decided to partner with a company which in my humble opinion is capitalizing on the disposables situation. 


No, Costa Coffee, it’s not OK to put a bandaid on the problem instead of encouraging your dine in customers to go for a reusable. No, Costa Coffee, it’s not OK to place a green box and print out partnership ads and place them on your tables. Are your customers aware that regardless of your segregation efforts, PET is sorted out of the mall collection anyway because of the value waste companies see in it? Are your customers aware that when clothes are made out of PET, clothes that need to be regularly washed like uniforms, this is in effect aiding in the release of micro plastics into the water system? 


If there is any time to be emotional, it is now. We’ll keep watching you. 

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