Ethics and Social Responsibility in the Coca-Cola Company

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Freshman (College 1st year) ・Business ・APA

Introduction

The world's largest soda corporation, the Coca-Cola Company, was founded in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1892, but is now headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. While known for its signature drink, Coca-Cola is also a maker, retailer, and marketer of many other non-alcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups. The Coca Company offers aerated beverages such as coke, fantasies, sprites, etc (Associated Press, 2011 ). Pepsi Cola is the largest rival to this American beverage brand. However, thanks to the outstanding application of ethical principles and the code of ethics across the globe Coca-Cola despite some ups and downs has been able to secure its top brand label.

The Coca-Cola Company has very strong  ethical and social values that are implied not only on employees but also on other stake holders such as board of directors, suppliers etc. The main reason behind this is to lead by example and learn from past mistakes that led to almost downfall of Coca-Cola’s image. The ethical standards are set for all employees within the organization at different levels and they are motivated to consistently meet them. Coca Cola’s well-structured business practices and sound guidelines help in fostering a strong and collaborative culture, which is transparent and ethics driven. The decision making within the organization is driven by the established standards of corporate governance and ethics. These policies are reviewed from time to time to have similar practices across the globe that fosters accountability.

According to Coca Cola’s (Code of Conduct Report, 2016) the most important work policy within the organization is to build an ethical business culture to ensure the conduct of honesty and integrity. We are committed to building an ethical business culture throughout the entire Coca-Cola system.

General ethics in the organization (Coca-Cola FEMSA Code of Conduct, 2016)

Coca- cola is a huge organization with diverse workforce including people from different nationalities, religions, caste, gender etc. In the past Coca-Cola has been a part of many controversies due to doubtful quality of its products and unethical code of conduct. This led to serious downfall in Coca-Cola’s productivity and a blot over its brand name. To overcome these challenges Coca-Cola has developed a nexus of world-class ethical policies and code of conduct considering the importance of all of its stakeholders. It believes in having a respectful, loyal and honest conduct that recognises human dignity freedom and privacy.

An organization is from its employees and Coca-Cola understands this well. One of the main points in the code of conduct is to take care of its employees by have a no discrimination work environment that respects diversity and forbids all types of harassment. Satisfied and motivated employees help in creating a positive brand image and lead to better productivity.

Coca-Cola’s customers are spread across the globe and they expect same taste and quality of products everywhere. To ensure this coca cola has a committed quality and assurance department that aims at giving the customers quality and fair treatment every time. Suppliers are chosen fairly on the basis of quality and service standards. To make sure that business in Coca-Cola systems is done in fair and legal manner by avoiding corruption and bribery, anti-corruption is all pervasive.

Coca- cola understands its responsibilities towards society and hence it has a corporate and social council that addresses social issues and challenges. Environmental safety and sustainability is one of the key missions of the Coca-Cola Company.

Conclusion

The major stakeholders of the Coca- Cola Company are its customers, employees, shareholders, suppliers and board of directors. By having proper ethical values within the organization a strong employer brand is build that helps in retaining the key talent and maintains a pleasant work environment. To have long term sustainability and competitive advantage it is important for the Coca- Cola Company to come up as a brand that nurtures values, prosperity and productivity and this is taken care by the Coca-Cola’s code of conduct. This helps in enhanced profitability of the company that leads to good relationships with the shareholders and Board of directors.

Social responsibility has helped coca cola in retaining its value amongst the customer as a brand that nurtures happiness and positivity.

For an organization to gain competitive advantage and have a long term growth it is highly important that it has certain ethical guidelines at place that contribute towards social and community development. This is how corporates will be able to survive in this 21st century volatile and complex business environment.

References

Associated Press 2011, Diet Coke passes Pepsi at No 2 soda in the US, NBC news. Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/id/42132603/ns/business-consumer_news/#.U4veSmQmlSY

Coca-Cola FEMSA business Code of ethics, 2016. Retrieved from https://img.coca-colafemsa.com/assets/files/en/Investor_Information/Code%20of%20Ethics/Coca-Cola-FEMSA-Business-Code-of-Ethics.pdf

Code of Business Conduct, 2016. Retrieved from http://www.coca-colacompany.com/content/dam/journey/us/en/private/fileassets/pdf/our-company/2016-COBC-US-Final.pdf

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