In line with our commitment to supporting wellness and healthy living, we recognize the health of our business is interwoven with the well-being of the communities we serve. That’s why, through our products, policies and programs, we help to inspire people to be active and make informed nutritional choices. To deliver on that promise, we are constantly promoting the benefits of daily exercise and good nutrition through our creation and sponsorship of active, healthy living programs worldwide. One example of our grassroots programs is Copa Coca-Cola, which is one of our largest, longest-running and most successful physical activity programs, reaching young people around the globe. Started in Mexico in 1998 and soon expanded to countries worldwide, Copa Coca-Cola is a program of youth football (soccer) tournaments in which teams of boys and girls ages 13 to 15 compete at the local, state and national levels to determine the top youth football (soccer) team in a given nation. The national tournaments culminate in a World Cup™–style international tournament each summer. We’ve seen great excitement and enthusiasm around Copa in the Middle East.
Another Middle East specific program is Sprite Cricket Stars, the UAE’s first grassroots cricket tournament which supports the labor community. Sprite Cricket Stars operates under the patronage of the Ministry of Labour, and in partnership with Coca-Cola Middle East, the Emirates Cricket Board, ICC Academy and SmartLife. Since its inception in 2011, Shoaib Akhtar has endorsed the program and in 2015, Kevin Pieterson also joined the fold. With more than 500,000 people engaged just this year, these kinds of programs are just paving the way for more to come, as we continue to grow stronger together.