Is SodaStream an Irresponsible Corporate Citizen

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Over the last few months I received quite a bit of hate-mail regarding SodaStream’s inclusion in this website. There have been boycotts in its largest markets including Sweden and the United States, and more recently TIAA-CREF removed it from its Social investment portfolio.

Essentially the company presents itself as a socially responsible organization helping the world reduce soda bottle waste, as well as promoting health & wellness as its syrups don’t use high-fructose corn syrup.

However, at the same time, SodaStream’s main production site is in Mishor Edomin, the industrial park of Ma’aleh Adumim, an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank. The main arguments against SodaStream are then:

  1. its use of illegal land
  2. its mislabeling of origin
  3. treatment of workers

I believe the most important of these is actually the last.  Israel motivates companies like SODA to invest facilities in these illegal settlements with tax rebates, etc.  The positives are that jobs are created for people that desperately need them.

Unfortunately, it is not certain if Sodastream’s employees are treated fairly with Israeli citizens as they may be exploited as is done in Bangladesh. In fact, there are some workers in the Mishor Edomin facility that claim they are working in “slave labor” like conditions including 60 hour work-weeks.

We will watch this issue closely and revert back to our readers when we receive further clarity.

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