Sodastream, the Israeli company manufacturing devices producing soda gas beverages in reusable bottles (which sold to Pepsi Co for 3 billion last December), has been on a continuing upswing since featuring actress Scarlett Johansson to be its anti-BDS advertising queen in 2014.
Since then, the company has been a rising star in Israel’s manufacturing community, as well as being a friend of the environment and an advocate of peaceful co-existence between peoples.
RELATED: See Sodastream CEO gets into cannabis.
Sodastream manufactures devices producing CO2 gas beverages in reusable bottles. The company’s new plant in the Bedouin town of Rahat, outside of Beersheba hires a diversified workforce of 2,000 including Israeli Arabs, Jews, Druize and Palestinians.
Following the company’s purchase last year by Pepsi Cola for $3.2 Billion, company CEO Danny Birnbaum gave a bonus of NIS 18,000 ($5,000) to all Sodastream employees who had been working at the company for at least one year.
The plant in Rahat has 84 specialized injection machines to assemble and fill its unique sparkling water devices. Since the plastic bottles used can be refilled over and over again, the environmental benefits are enormous as this results in less disposable bottles being sent to trash dumps or finding their way out to sea.
(Israel is the world’s largest user per capita of one-time use plastics – Andreas Weil, EcoOcean)
SodaStream’s fortunes since inception have been a long roller coaster process with the company sometimes on the verge of bankruptcy due to economic and political concerns (the company was once located in the West Bank, near Jerusalem).
Birnbaum’s feelings pertaining to peaceful co-existence and equal opportunities can be partially attributed to his father, Rabbi Erwin Birnbaum, a Holocaust survivor and partisan fighter who brought his family to Israel in the late 1970’s after serving as a Conservative Rabbi in the USA for many years.
Rabbi Birnbaum has long advocated peaceful co-existence between peoples in the region and elsewhere; an attitude that has certainly influenced his son Danny in his position as CEO of SodaStream.
When interviewed on Israel’s Channel 12 in Israel we caught Birnbaum saying: “this is one of the best ways to promote peace by giving people in Gaza more economic opportunity. We don’t talk politics here; we only talk peace. Birnbaum recently took 30 journalists from all over the world on a media tour of the SodaStream plant in Rahat.
Joint manufacturing projects between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza have been tried in the past; with less than satisfactory results. Birnbaum hopes to change this with establishing the new plant in a “peace zone” between Israel and Gaza.
“This project is for the benefit of everyone, including my own family. I have two sons in the army now and don’t want them or any other Israelis to have to be living in Gaza,” says Birnbaum.
Read more on SodaStream and issues regarding disposable plastic wastes: