This company alone has an annual revenue higher than that of two-thirds of the world`s countries. In total, the company reportedly spent nearly $7 million on lobbying in 2019. Our research sheds light on several ethical issues with Coca-Cola. The company has therefore been devalued in our rating system in a number of categories, including: climate change, habitats and resources, palm oil, pollution and toxins, human rights, labor rights, irresponsible marketing, animal rights, controversial technologies, anti-social finance, and political activities. Since its inception, Coca-Cola has strived to act honestly and conscientiously, instilling in every employee the traditional ethical standards in the company`s global operations. What ethical standards does Coca-Cola adhere to, what problems it has faced and how it has overcome difficulties – read our article. Coca-Cola has 500 brands and is sold in more than 200 countries and territories. This is the definition of “global reach” given that the UN recognizes only 195 states. Coca-Cola, Fanta, Sprite, Diet Coke – the names of these drinks are known all over the world. The beverage manufacturer Coca-Cola, their manufacturer, is the most powerful soft drink company.
But the creation of the company and its ethical principles was not immediate. This was preceded by many historical events. Coca-Cola is the target of several union campaigns. The company admits it wouldn`t care without water. Coca-Cola`s operations depend on access to huge water reserves, as it takes nearly three liters of water to make one liter of Coca-Cola. To meet this need, Coca-Cola is increasingly taking control of aquifers in communities around the world. These huge underground chambers contain water resources accumulated over several hundred years. As such, they represent the heritage of entire communities. Guatemalan workers have been fighting Coca-Cola since the 1970s. Between 1976 and 1985, three general secretaries of the main trade union were murdered and members of their families, friends and legal advisers were threatened, arrested, abducted, shot, tortured and forced into exile. Violations of workers` rights continue.
And Coca-Cola workers and their family members, who have links to trade unions, have reportedly received death threats. Elsewhere in countries such as Peru, Russia and Chile, Coca-Cola workers are protesting against the company`s anti-union policies. Coca-Cola claims to exist “to benefit and refresh everyone it touches,” and to try to maintain that positive image, the company spends $2 billion a year on advertising alone. But there are signs that the image is beginning to crumble. The Olympic torch relay was repeatedly disrupted by protests against Coca-Cola`s role as main sponsor, with Turin City Council effectively declaring the city a no-go zone to the company (a decision later overturned by the mayor). Throughout the company`s history, the most important political principles have been to conduct business honestly and in good faith, in accordance with moral, ethical and legal standards. To support this long-term policy, the company`s management has adopted the Code of Business Conduct and Code of Ethics, which apply to all employees in its local and foreign subsidiaries and operations. It is listed on coca-colacompany.com and prescribes many rules that govern the improvement of an ethical culture of leaders and their compliance with the requirements of appropriate behavior.
And in its decision-making, the company was guided by ethical standards. Despite the strict rules of the company code, conflicts and problems have often arisen throughout the company`s history. In recent decades, there have been significant problems with the company`s reputation and ethical crises. It has even caused some investors to lose confidence in the company. For example, due to the fact that Coca-Cola did not find the opportunity to overcome its difficulties, one of the investors and board member, Warren Buffett, resigned in 2006. The company`s activities are based on very simple ideas. It guarantees: Coca-Cola has been accused of dehydrating communities in search of water resources to feed its own crops, draining farmers` wells and destroying local agriculture. The company has also violated workers` rights in countries such as Colombia, Turkey, Guatemala and Russia. Only through its multi-million dollar marketing campaigns can Coca-Cola maintain the clean image it needs. In 1886, an Atlanta pharmacist created a new type of lemonade and changed the world forever. In May, Coca-Cola celebrates its 135th anniversary. What is certain is that the company has always understood its social responsibility and has tried to solve its problems.
In addition, Coca-Cola complies with anti-corruption and anti-corruption laws, thereby improving the company`s business ethics. To reduce emissions and increase energy efficiency, Coca-Cola has signed a United Nations Global Compact called “Caring for Climate: The Business Leadership Platform.” Coca-Cola received our worst rating for the likely use of tax evasion schemes, and its highest-paid executive received an incredible £13.9 million in 2019. In the now infamous case of Plachimada in the southern state of Kerala, the Coca-Cola plant was forced to close in March 2004 after the village council refused to renew the company`s license because it overexploited and contaminated local water resources. Four months earlier, the Kerala High Court ruled that the massive extraction of Coca-Cola from the shared groundwater resource was illegal and ordered the company to seek alternative sources for its production. In addition to these topics, War on Want`s alternate narrative about Coca-Cola also describes how Coca-Cola is wreaking havoc on water resources elsewhere. In El Salvador, the company is accused of depleting water resources over a period of 25 years. In Chiapas, Coca-Cola is positioning itself to take control of water resources. The Mexican government of Vicente Fox – himself a former president of Coca-Cola Mexico – granted the company concessions to exploit municipal water resources. Ireland`s largest union, the Services Industrial Trade and Technical Union (SIPTU), told Ethical Consumer that Coca-Cola had refused to work with representatives of the Ballina plant. Coca-Cola received Ethical Consumer`s worst rating for supply chain management.
The company and its subsidiaries have also been accused of contributing to Mexico`s water scarcity, appropriating Guarani culture and using child labor in its Mexican recycling system. In particular, Coca-Cola`s operations have been accused of exacerbating water scarcity in areas suffering from water shortages and rainfall. Nowhere is this better documented than in India, where there are now community campaigns against the company in several states. Research conducted by War on Want in the Indian states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh confirms findings from Kerala and Maharashtra that Coca-Cola`s activities have a serious negative impact on farmers and local communities.