The Coca-Cola Co. has teamed up with the World Wildlife Fund to support polar bear conservation as part the drinks giant's commitment to climate protection in the US.

The company said today (4 December) that consumers can directly support WWF-led polar bear conservation projects through its North America Coca-Cola stores and the website www.polarbears.thecoca-colacompany.com.

The site includes external links to WWF that allow users to donate directly to the charity or to symbolically adopt a polar bear. At the four Coca-Cola stores in North America, shoppers will be able to add US$1, $3 or $5 to their purchase at checkout for donation to WWF. "In addition, for every plush bear sold at Coca-Cola retail stores, The Coca-Cola Co. will contribute $1 to WWF for polar bear conservation", the company said.

Coca-Cola's environment and water resources vice president Jeff Seabright said: "The polar bear has been an icon of Coca-Cola holiday marketing for nearly a century. As its habitat declines with accelerating polar ice melt, the polar bear is now also a symbol of climate change. With this effort we hope to help WWF protect an animal that means so much to our company and our consumers around the world."

WWF senior vice president John Donoghue added: "WWF is grateful for the support provided by The Coca-Cola Co. to advance polar bear conservation. Since the impacts of climate change are most immediately felt throughout the Arctic where polar bears reside, it is imperative that we act quickly to increase scientific understanding of these impacts and take action to reduce threats to polar bear populations and their habitat."

The Coca-Cola Polar Bear Support Fund will support expansion of these efforts in the Bering and Chukchi Sea region of Alaska and Russia, as well as the Canadian Arctic, the company added.