The Israeli company SodaStream, which makes units for sparkling water, is getting in on the festivities surrounding the upcoming royal wedding in Britain of Prince Harry to American actress Meghan Markle this coming Saturday.
SodaStream announced on Tuesday that it was launching a series of limited-edition bottles sporting miniature “hats,” adornments which are typically worn at royal events. The bottles will be auctioned off as a donation to the plastic-free charity, Surfers Against Sewage, approved by the royal couple.
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“As a driving force behind the removal of single-use plastic from the world, SodaStream is thrilled to shed light on this global hazard by donating all proceeds to Surfers Against Sewage, a charity chosen by the royal couple,” SodaStream said in a statement.
The set of miniature hats on the bottles were “created using state-of-the-art 3D printing and [are] 100 percent recyclable,” SodaStream said. Each of the five exclusive hat designs was inspired by an iconic look previously sported by female royals and the concept was developed by the Israeli innovation agency, Gefen Team, in partnership with SodaStream’s Global Marketing Team.
The 50 bottles will be auctioned off on Tuesday at Royal SodaStream, and bids are open to royal wedding enthusiats worldwide.
SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum said, “I take my hat off to the royal couple and wish them all the best in their marriage. I applaud them for embracing the cause of creating a plastic bottle free world and choosing Surfers Against Sewage as one of their official charities. I hope others will be inspired and join the cause.”
Chief Executive of Surfers Against Sewage Hugo Tagholm said “tackling ocean plastic pollution should be a top priority for governments, brands and people.”
“SodaStream’s commitment to eliminate plastic and promote reusable bottles is a great step in the right direction towards plastic free coastlines and sends a strong message to the beverage industry. This fun and quirky project to celebrate the royal wedding further highlights the importance of stopping the single-use plastic epidemic,” he added.
SodaStream, which produces easy-to-use carbonation machines for consumers to make their own soft drinks at home, has often been associated with celebrities worldwide, inviting the attention of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement.
SodaStream was the subject of a fierce BDS campaign in 2014 following the hiring of American actress Scarlett Johansson as an ambassador for the organization. Johansson submitted her resignation to Oxfam, a British NGO for which she also served as an ambassador after the latter demanded that Johansson cut all ties with SodaStream over a factory it previously operated in the Mishor Adumim industrial zone of the settlement Ma’aleh Adumim.
Mishor Adumim is at the edge of the Judean Desert, and the factory employed hundreds of Palestinian Arabs, but BDS caused Sodastream to close that factory and move to the Negev desert area instead, where it now employs hundreds of Israeli Bedouins. Oxfam later admitted that it had lost “thousands of donors” over its quarrel with Johansson.
Last year, the company decided to begin displaying a large Israeli flag with the words “MADE IN ISRAEL” on all of its packagings. Below the flag a note reads, “This product is made by Arabs and Jews working side by side in peace and harmony.”
“Israeli industry is a symbol of entrepreneurship, innovation and technology,” Birnbaum said in a statement at the time. “As a proud Israeli company, we make sure to keep our Israeli identity at a high profile, even if it means fighting on the home front across the EU and against the economic terrorism of the BDS movement. In recent years, we Israelis have found ourselves attacked, forced to apologize, and [our products] seized around the world. We Israelis may not be perfect, but we have much to be proud of, and we decided to show it – both for ourselves and for the world.”
Birnbaum said that the Israeli flag would be placed on all of the company’s products, 50 million of which are on store shelves worldwide at any given time. “We hope that every Israeli company does the same for the products they sell, whether it is a microchip, a tomato, or a watering system. We wish that everyone would feel comfortable being an ambassador for Israel.”
SodaStream products are available at more than 80,000 retail stores across 45 countries, according to the company.
The other Israeli connection
The wedding will take place on Saturday, May 19 at St George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle at 12:00 pm local time where 600 guests are expected. As with the nuptials in 2011 of Prince William to Catherine Middleton, watched by an estimated 2 billion people across the world, this upcoming wedding will also be closely watched – from the wedding dress, to the guests’ attire, the shoes, the hats, and the hair.
In December, NoCamels reported that Markle may be walking down the aisle in an Israeli designer’s wedding dress as rumors swirled that Israeli haute couture bridal fashion designer Inbal Dror received an official request from the British royal family to provide a dress sketch. Dror later denied the reports but her sketches were leaked to American gossip magazine TMZ.
The Israeli designer’s bridal fashion is world renown for its silhouettes, sheer overlays, lace and tulle. Dror is perhaps best known for dressing superstar Beyonce at the 58th Grammy Awards, where the singer presented Record of the Year.
Middleton’s wedding gown, by English designer Sarah Burton of the luxury fashion house Alexander McQueen, generated record attention – and replicas.
Yonatan Sredni contributed to this report.
The top image is a collage of one of the official photographs of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle from their engagement, by Alexi Lubomirski, and a photo of SodaStream’s royal edition bottles, by PRNewsfoto/SodaStream.