True leaders present energetic responsibility. Investing in sugary Coca Cola is not responsibility, in any form.

When the Wizard speaks, the investing world and the financial media listen carefully.

The Wizard of Omaha is none other than Warren Buffett, probably considered to be the world’s canniest investor.

He is also known for being a mate of Bill Gates and they collaborate to redeploy their combined billions of dollars wealth into philanthropic projects. He is reportedly worth over $60 billion and has pledged to give a large proportion of that to worthy causes.

His investment vehicle is known as Berkshire Hathaway and is capitalised at a mere $345 billion (May 2016).

The Wizard is hugely respected – about 40,000 attended the 2015 Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders’ Meeting in his hometown of Omaha where he speaks about business trends, opportunities and avoidable pitfalls. Warren Buffet is considered to be the undisputed heavyweight champ of the investing world. Very few would invest counter to his principles; in the world of investing he carries as much influence as any. When he decrees a business or sector is toast, then it really is well and truly shunned by Wall Street.

In recent times he has been in the headlines for the wrong reason: Berkshire Hathaway owns 9.3% of Coca Cola, the conglomerate which is primarily known for producing and marketing poisoned water on a ginormous scale. Coca Cola distributes 1.7 billion products every day.

An evolved world will one day be free of adulterated water because ultimately, if we want to evolve, which is our Will, then we will choose not to drink anything other than made–for-purpose water. Anything else makes us less. No flavourings, no sugar and no fancy marketing spin.

The demise of the beverage industry in its current form is inevitable. But in the same way it might take another century yet to rid the world of the tobacco habit, it will take a long time to ditch Coca Cola and its grubby industry. But it will happen, gradually. On the back of the current health crisis we are facing, both in developed and developing nations, it is not hard to predict, that there will emerge an acute understanding of the place of true well-being in our evolution as a global community.

In this new era the best investors are going to be those who pick the long-term sustainable businesses. So when the Wizard of Omaha invests in Coca Cola and then defends that investment, it may be time to reassess his 'Wizardry' reputation. In the long term, he has this one wrong.

When someone of the fame, wealth and reputation of Warren Buffet speaks, he does so with the responsibility of a President. People listen, they follow and copy. So when he makes inane statements as below, it beggars belief that he really is a Wizard:

“I elect to get my 2,600 or 2,700 calories a day from things that make me feel good when I eat them,” Buffett, 85, said at his company’s 2016 annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. “I have not seen evidence that convinces me that it’ll be more likely I reach 100 if I suddenly switched to water and broccoli.”

“If you're looking for a wonderful business, it's hard to beat Coca-Cola," said Buffett. Seeking to counter claims by advocates that Coke's products have too many calories, the folksy Buffett added, "One-quarter of all the calories I've consumed come from Coca-Cola, and I tell you I feel healthy.”

Everyone knows how damaging these beverage companies are to the health of the global population; we don’t need to deal with the statistics here other than to acknowledge the health cost and the financial cost of this industry is devastating.

Imagine for a moment that the Wizard, addressing the loyal faithful and the media at his annual gathering in Omaha, instead of saying the above, would say, “This past week you may have noticed a large block of Coca Cola shares being sold on market. I have managed to liquidate my entire shareholding in Coca Cola. I will play no further part in investing in that which is so damaging to humanity. I am now seeking to invest in sustainable, responsible and evolutionary ventures only.”

Imagine the headlines. Imagine the mini-crash on Wall Street from the beverage sector fall out. Imagine the influence on all other investors. Imagine the effect on the Board and Directors of Coca Cola. Imagine the media headlines and the attention being brought to bear on the health issues. Imagine the chat around the suburban dinner table about beverages and the changes that ordinary citizens will start to introduce into their lives. That would be wizardry.

Coca Cola and the likes of Pepsi Cola and their many industry associates should be treated as pariahs rather than afforded the respect of a 'Wizard' shareholder. In investment market jargon, these beverage companies should be trading at very low price earnings multiples due to the ultimate lack of sustainability. The reason they remain valuable is because we, the indoctrinated and poorly educated public, are addicted to their sugar and are bamboozled by their marketing spin. We use these sugary drinks to feed our raciness in our uncomfortable worlds and to dull our senses. It is only when we, the consuming public, en masse, reject these products, will these beverage companies become the investment dogs they deserve to be.

We need leaders who set examples and influence the inevitable change ahead. We need the likes of Warren Buffet to change sides and act responsibly.

After all this not about being 85 years old and seemingly likely to be around for many a year yet. It is about the general population where these soft drinks are causing havoc.

It is about responsibility.

This investment of Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway in Coca Cola unzips all of the so-called 'good' philanthropy work he is so often recognised for. Energetically this ‘Wizard’ is unpicked for his irresponsible choice. The resistance to this kind of behaviour is growing. What will be the legacy of Warren Buffet?

Just in case he ever reads this, here are some facts for him to consider:

  • Sugar provides zero nutrition
  • It rots your teeth
  • It packs on weight
  • It is at the core of many diseases – it is inflammatory as it causes AGEs (Advanced Glycation End Products), these trigger inflammation
  • High blood sugar makes cells insulin resistant which means the sugar is stored as fat (unsightly) and that visceral fat again churns our pro-inflammatory chemicals
  • Sugar is seriously addictive
  • Sugar makes us racy, and in raciness we cannot connect to others in the way we should. Being racy keeps us less than who we really are. We cannot evolve back to our natural joy and vitality, by being less. A significant proportion of the world is addicted to sugar which means a significant proportion of the world is racy without solid foundation

There is nothing good about investing in sugar or its ugly cousin, the beverage industry. It is highly irresponsible.

It was Einstein himself who said, “Concern for Man himself and his fate must always form the chief objective of all (technological) endeavours”. Make that all business endeavours too.

The world is starting to wake up to the corruption that we have collectively allowed to proliferate through the sugar and beverage industries. And at some point, it is those left holding the coke bottle, those who still wilfully and actively promote it, who will be called to account by the masses. Is Warren Buffett really the Wizard of Omaha? Or is he more Wizard of Oz? A man whose seeming formidability is merely smoke and mirrors compared to the substance we will ask of the financial leaders of the future.

In truth, Buffet is like many leaders: they have lost sight of purpose and what truly matters to society, and whilst he may be known for his philanthropic activities, his defence of the indefensible – when it comes to the sugar industry – brings all of that 'good' work into disrepute.

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  • By Neil Gamble, Chairman & Director of Companies, Retired CEO

  • Photography: Dean Whitling, Brisbane based photographer and film maker of 13 years.

    Dean shoots photos and videos for corporate portraits, architecture, products, events, marketing material, advertising & website content. Dean's philosophy - create photos and videos that have magic about them.