WWF-Canada Blog:
Arctic


President takes on the ultimate Canadian challenge

A few weeks ago, employees packed into the lunchroom at Coca-Cola Canada’s headquarters to hear president Christian Polge announce that he was diving into conservation — literally. At an Arctic Home lunch-and-learn presented by WWF scientists, the Coke boss committed to plunging into a frigid Lake Ontario to help raise funds for WWF-Canada’s Arctic Conservation efforts.

Christian Polge, President of Coca-Cola Ltd. with WWF-Canada’s conservation experts Pete Ewins and James Snider and a polar bear skull at an Coca-Cola employee Arctic Lunch and Learn. © Coca-Cola Canada

Christian Polge, President of Coca-Cola Ltd. with WWF-Canada’s conservation experts Pete Ewins and James Snider and a polar bear skull at an Coca-Cola employee Arctic Lunch and Learn. © Coca-Cola Canada

On Feb., 25, Christian will be amongst the leaders on our Spring Things CEO Committee kicking off our workplace fundraising campaign by leading the charge at our annual WWF Polar Dip.

Getting involved in Spring Things — and the Polar Dip in particular — is a natural extension of Coca-Cola Canada’s eight-year collaboration with WWF-Canada. There was a lot of pride in the room as Polge gave the audience a quick history of the Coca-Cola and WWF partnership, which has included investing $1 million in our Canadian Freshwater Conservation Strategy, gathering up garbage in our Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup and cutting greenhouse gas emissions as a member of our global Climate Savers program.

But the biggest component of this fabulous partnership is Coca-Cola’s support for our Arctic Home initiative. For the past eight years, Coca-Cola and Canadians from coast to coast have supported WWF’s work to protect the Last Ice Area: a crucial region of the Arctic where summer sea ice will persist the longest in the face of rising temperatures caused by climate change. Thanks in part to the resulting research and alliances, the region has been designated as an Ecologically and Biologically Significant Area by the Arctic Council, and Arctic countries have signed the first-ever global action plan to protect the polar bear.

During the lunch–and-learn, WWF-Canada’s Arctic species expert, Dr. Pete Ewins, took the stage to explain how those funds have led to the first-ever global action plan to protect the polar bear.

They also help WWF address human-polar bear conflicts in Northern communities, invest in renewable energy for Arctic communities, conserve key habitats and advocate for new marine protected areas. Together, Coca-Cola and WWF are ensuring polar bears, narwhals and other animals have the icy territory they need to thrive.

2015 Polar Bear Dip hosted by WWF-Canada © WWF-Canada

2015 Polar Bear Dip hosted by WWF-Canada © WWF-Canada

Recently transferred from Coke’s European operations, Polge joked that he was told that jumping into freezing waters was a requirement for new residents of Canada. But as his enthusiasm at the lunch and learn made clear, his interest in the Polar Dip goes far beyond checking off an item on his bucket list. “If you want to make a real impact and work with one of the best environmental organizations out there, that’s WWF,” Polge said.

When he asked who wanted to join him at Toronto’s Balmy Beach Club on Feb. 25, seven hands immediately shot up. And that number is growing as more folks warm up to the chilly challenge.

With just a one day to go until the Polar Dip, the brave team at Coca-Cola is geared up and ready for this ultimate Canadian challenge to support WWF.