21 Apr 2022


Ethics and Social Responsibility of Coca Cola

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Academic level: College

Paper type: Research Paper

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Operations geared towards profit maximization are vital for the success of any organization. However, these operations are not sufficient to ensure sustained growth. In addition to focusing on profit maximization, it is also important for companies to address the needs of the stakeholders that they work with. This is the basis of corporate social responsibility (CSR). CSR encourages companies to ensure that the rights and interests of such stakeholders as employees and communities are protected (Kotler & Lee, 2011). Coca Cola Company recognizes the role that CSR plays in its operations. The firm has established a number of programs that are aimed at enhancing the welfare of various stakeholders.

Coca Cola CSR program

It has already been made clear that Coca Cola has set up CSR programs through which it serves the needs of various stakeholders. The UK branch of this company will be examined to give a general reflection of the entire company’s CSR program. Financial investment in community initiatives is among the programs that Coca Cola UK has implemented. In 2015, the company poured £1.2 million into community programs (“Being a Local Business”, 2016). This amount went a long way in creating opportunities for communities and enhancing the lives of the members of these communities.

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Financial investment is not the only initiative that Coca Cola UK undertook as part of its CSR program. In addition, the company also urged its employees to volunteer in community initiatives. For the 2015 year, the employees committed a total of 2,251 hours to volunteering (“Being a Local Business”, 2016). Coca Cola UK also understands that it is important to invest in young people. Evidence for this is found in the training program that the company put in place. Through this program, the company has trained over 100,000 young people in the UK (“Being a Local Business”, 2016). It has equipped them with workplace skills and attitudes.

Soft drinks have been identified as among the substances that are responsible for poor health. Coca Cola is primarily involved in the creation of these drinks. To ensure that its products do not compromise the health of its customers, the firm has established a program that promotes active healthy living (“Our Commitment to Wellbeing”, 2015). The company has also created special drinks that are devoid of unhealthy components such as sugars. Diet Coke is among these drinks. These drinks indicate that the company is committed to innovating in an effort to enhance the wellbeing of its customers. Investment in employee training and development, championing for human rights, providing humanitarian and disaster relief and advocating for environmental protection through the adoption of efficient processes are other CSR programs that Coca Cola has implemented.

Performance and Behaviors supporting mission

Coca Cola has developed a mission statement that captures the long-term objectives and purposes that it wishes to fulfill. The statement reads as follows: “To refresh the world in mind, body and spirit; to inspire moments of optimism and happiness through our brands and actions; to create value and make a difference” (“Mission, Vision and Values”, n.d). An examination of the company’s performance and behaviors indicates that it is fully committed to its mission. Quality is an integral component of its operations. To ensure that its product meets quality standards, the company has set up controls and subjects its processes to rigorous testing. The firm also honors relevant laws and regulations that govern its production processes. Hazard analysis, risk management and integration of overall business with product quality are other measures that the firm has instituted. The initiatives that the firm has put in place have been rewarding. In 2016, the company introduced over 500 new products (“Coca-Cola Ever”, 2016). The high number of products suggests that its behaviors have had the impact of boosting its performance. Furthermore, the company launched a marketing campaign that it dubbed “Taste the Feeling” (Moye, 2016). Through this campaign, the firm has touched the hearts of many across the globe. Coca Cola also continues to report encouraging financial performance. There is no doubt that its performance and behaviors support its mission.

Significant ethical and legal issues

Ethical and legal challenges usually affect the operations of an organization adversely. This has been true for Coca Cola. In the past, the company has faced a number of court cases that threatened its performance. In early 2017, a Nigerian court determined that some of the drinks that Coca-Cola makes could pose a threat to the health of consumers (Radionova, 2017). The court added that these drinks contained compounds that could be poisonous. This ruling inspired calls for Nigerians to boycott Coca-Cola’s products (Radionova, 2017). In 2014, Coca-Cola was embroiled in another court case where it was accused of misleading advertising. POM Wonderful sued the company for falsely claiming that Minute Maid was a “pomegranate blueberry flavored blend of 5 juices” (Greve, 2014). This case raised questions about Coca-Cola’s advertising practices.

It is true that the cases discussed above are of a legal nature. However, they also possess ethical components. For example, the case in Nigeria raised questions regarding Coca-Cola’s commitment to the health and wellbeing of its customers. The company has faced other cases where it stood accused of including ingredients that exposed consumers to health risks. After considering Coca-Cola’s mission, CSR programs and the legal issues that it has faced, the only conclusion that can be made is that the company is a model to be emulated. It provides lessons regarding effective CSR initiatives. The legal cases undermine the firm’s mission. However, it must be remembered that it has taken action to protect the health of consumers. For example, Diet Coke is among the numerous products that contain no sugars, thereby posing no threat to the health of consumers.

In conclusion, Coca-Cola is one of the largest companies in the world. Innovation and understanding the needs of customers are the key factors behind the company’s position. The CSR programs that the firm implements have also played a role in propelling it to the position that it holds today. Coca-Cola has invested in environmental conservation, employee empowerment and youth education. These programs are clear indication that the company cares about its stakeholders. Other firms that wish to achieve the level of success that Coca-Cola enjoys should also set up CSR programs.


Being a Local Business. Coca-Cola in GB in 2015. Retrieved 19th July 2017 from http://www.coca-cola.co.uk/content/dam/journey/gb/en/hidden/PDFs/Coca-Cola-Commuinty-Report-2015.pdf

Coca-Cola Ever Expanding Portfolio. Around the Globe. (2016). Retrieved 19th July 2017 from


Greve, J. E. (2014). Supreme Court: POM Wonderful can Sue Coca-Cola . Retrieved 19th July 2017 from http://time.com/2865058/supreme-court-pom-coca-cola/

Kotler, P. & Lee, N. (2011). Corporate Social Responsibility: Doing the most good for your Company and your Cause. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Mission, Vision and Values. (n.d). Retrieved 19th July 2017 from http://www.coca-cola.co.uk/about-us/mission-vision-and-values

Moye, J. (2016). ‘One Brand’ Strategy, New Global Campaign. Unite Coca-Cola Trademark. Retrieved 19th July 2017 from http://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/taste-the-feeling-launch

Our Commitment to Wellbeing. (2015). Retrieved 19th July 2017 from http://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/our-commitment-to-well-being

Radionova, Z. (2017). Coca-Cola’s Products Sprite and Fanta may be ‘Poisonous’, Rules Nigeria Court . Retrieved 19th July 2017 from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/coca-cola-poisonous-spirit-fanta-court-nigeria-nigerian-bottling-company-vitamin-c-health-warnings-a7655766.html

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