The aim of the report is to provide an overview of the management related aspects of Coca Cola in regard to its failure in maintaining ethical behavior. The report primarily focuses on the Plachimada Coca-Cola struggle that finally led to the closure of the firm. This issue of Coca Cola is explained with the help of Caroll’s pyramid. The report starts off with a description of the company, its products, ownership and revenue. The report also puts forward a description of the event that led the company to face criticism. It also put across the economic impacts of the event along with a discussion of the resolution of the event and the value added. The report ends with the mention of recommendations.
The report aims at providing an insight into the management aspects of Coca Cola and their failure in maintaining an ethical behavior. Coca Cola is an American corporation that is the retailer, manufacturer and the marketer of non alcoholic syrup and beverage concentrates (cocacola.com 2019). The company is known for the flagship product called Coca Cola that is invented in the year 1886 by a pharmacist in Atlanta, Georgia. Over, the years, the company had many franchises across the world. Here the report primarily concentrates on the Plachimada
Coca-Cola struggle that represented series of protest for closing the factory of the company in Plachimada village in the district of Kerala since its presence led to the drying of wells and contamination of water thereby making it toxic. The report here mentions about Caroll’s pyramid in explain Coca Cola’s failure in maintaining ethical behavior. The report commences with a snapshot of the company, its revenue and ownership. It then mentions the summary of events for which the company faces criticism. The report also puts forward a discussion on the events were resolved and how they influenced the company’s long term value. The report ends with recommendations based on the company action and the future behavior.
The Coca Cola represents one of the largest beverage companies of the world that refreshes consumer with over 500 sparkling and 3900 choices of beverages (McGrath 2017). The recognition of most recognizable and valuable brands motivated the company in putting forward a portfolio of 21 brands worth billion dollars amongst which 19 of them remained available in low or reduced calorie options. These brands included Coca Cola Zero, Diet Coke, Sprite, Fanta,
Dasani, Vitaminwater, Minute Maid, Del Valle, Gold Peak and Georgia (coca-colacompany.com
2019). According to one of the largest distribution system, Coca Cola ranks No.1 in putting across sparkling beverages. Close to over 1.9 billion servings of the beverage of Coca Cola is enjoyed by the consumers in over 200 countries on a daily basis.
. Coca Cola was found in the year 1892 with headquarters in London and three hundred bottling partners across the world. In the year the revenue of the company stood at US$35.41 billion. However for the same year the operating income of the company stood at US$7.501 billion while the net income of the company stood at US$1.248 billion(statista.com 2017).
Figure 1: Diagrammatic Representation of the Financial Figures of Coca Cola for 2017
Source: (statista.com 2017)
The company bears two kinds of relationship one represents the public shareholding and the other represented the institutional shareholding (Karnani 2014). The Coca Cola Company trades its shares as public company in New Year Stock Exchange whose shares are owned by various investors and shareholders across the world. The shareholders owns close to 5 million shares that represented close to 24.6 percent of the total shares of the company. As far as the institutional share holding is concerned, the company remains owned by FEMSA, a Mexican multinational retail and beverage company. It owns close to about 10 million shares that roughly comprises 50 percent of the total shares of the company. Other institutions that own Coca Cola are its entirely owned subsidiaries operating under the brand name Coca Cola. These subsidiaries owns close to about 6 million shares thereby representing 36b percent of the total shares.
In the year 1999, a subsidiary of the Coca Cola Company established for its license for establishment of a factory in the Plachimada village of Kerala(Berglund and Helander 2015). The company was however granted permission in the year 2000 for opening the factory. The company purchased close to about 34.64 acre of land that had earlier been used for cultivating peanuts rice and vegetables. In addition the company employed close 250 temporary laborers and
130 permanent employees. The Plachimada factory produced Limca, Fanta, Sprite, Kinley, Thumps up, Maaza and Soda.
Within a short while, the villagers however began to take notice that the well not only ran dry but the water available is toxic and contaminated (Mohan and Routray 2015). The waste from factory passed off as fertilizers to the farmers. It was however confirmed through the laboratory test that the sludge had higher percentage of lead and cadmium.
A protest movement was launched in the year 2002 by the Anti-Coca Cola Peoples Struggle Committee after sufficient evidence that the factory was not only polluting the environment but was causing harm to the local citizens (Panicker 2013). The movement blocked the entrance to the factory. Close to 1300 people took part in the movement that even included women. It has also been proved through various scientific tests that the water of the well is neither fit for human consumption, nor for the domestic use nor irrigation. The results of these test has been supported by the primary health center of the government.
The above instance can be explained in respect of Caroll’s Pyramid of corporate social responsibility Caroll put forward the concept of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) that states that organizations possess four responsibilities of the business that includes, economic, legal, ethical and discretionary(Suliman, Al-Khatib and Thomas 2016). These four components are not mutually exclusive but complement each other. It is represented as follows:
Figure 2: Diagrammatic Representation of Caroll’s Pyramid of Corporate Social
Source: (Nalband and Kelabi 2014)
In regard to the events of Coca in this particular case, the report considers the aspects of ethical responsibility of the Caroll’s Pyramid. The philanthropic and ethical aspect of Carol means good behavior is the one that is perceived the society. It also mentions that organizations should include expectations and norms not mentioned in the law. This primarily refers to the rights and the moral values (Visser, McIntosh and Middleton 2017). The firms also remain obligated for acting voluntarily beyond the scopes of the business and the ethical rational acts. This referred to also the social and philanthropic responsibility that would serve as the guideline for business in future. In this regard it can be said that Coca Cola did not maintain the ethical aspects while operating in Plachimada village of Kerala. It is not only disrupted the norms of the ethical aspects but also caused immense harm to the villagers by contaminations the water with poisonous chemicals.
The Plachimada struggle of Kerala against the Coca Cola raised issues about not only the mindless destruction of the groundwater by the multinational but also provide an exposure to the gross inadequacies in the governance laws and the rights to the water. This led to the immediate closure of the factory outlet. The productions halted thereby resulting in huge financial loss. Besides, the shutdown also made people jobless. In addition to this, the Plachimada struggle against Coca Cola also witnessed violations of the human right and resulted in the loss of the landscape.
The Hindustan Coca-Cola Plant, the subsidiary of Coca Cola at Kerala had remained nonoperational since 2004. The Company put a halt in its operations at the concerned plant due to the violation in spite of possessing the license for operating the company. Despite the halted operations, the plant continued in distributing drinking water to the neighboring villages for close to four years even after the discontinuation of the operation (Carroll 2013). The plant gave away close to 60,000 litres of pure drinking water to the villages without any charges on a daily basis through dedicated tankers. The company did so without any obligation to do so.
On a concluding note it can be said that the a review of the history of the Plachimada struggle made out a point towards the entry of Coca Cola and destructions that resulted from the subsequent operation of the plant. It has been found that after even 10 year of the occurrence of the incident, the people at Plachimada village stills struggles for the freshwater, water resource remain overtly contaminated, existence of legal disputes in relation to ground water governance and the mass movement of the people in still continuing for the compensation of the company.
Berglund, H. and Helander, S., 2015. The Popular Struggle against Coca-Cola in Plachimada, Kerala. Journal of Developing Societies, 31(2), pp.281-303.
Carroll, A., 2013. Have a Coke and a Smile: Is the Aqueduct Alliance Coca-Cola's Solution to Escape Future Liability for Groundwater Depletion. Pac. McGeorge Global Bus. & Dev. LJ, 26, p.475.
coca-cola.com 2019. [online] Available at: https://us.coca-cola.com/ [Accessed 8 Feb. 2019].
coca-colacompany.com2019. [online] Available at: https://www.coca-colacompany.com/brands/ [Accessed 8 Feb. 2019].
Karnani, A., 2014. Corporate social responsibility does not avert the tragedy of the commons. Case study: Coca-Cola India. Economics, Management and Financial Markets, 9(3), p.11.
McGrath, M. 2017. World's Largest Food And Beverage Companies 2017: Nestle, Pepsi And
Coca-Cola Dominate The Field. [online] Available at:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/maggiemcgrath/2017/05/24/worlds-largest-food-and-beveragecompanies-2017-nestle-pepsi-and-coca-cola-dominate-the-landscape/#19bd659e3a69 [Accessed 8 Feb. 2019].
Mohan, N.S. and Routray, S., 2015. Sharing blue gold: Locating water conflicts in India (NIAS Books and Special Publications No. SP6-2015). NIAS.
Nalband, N.A. and Kelabi, S.A., 2014. Redesigning Carroll’s CSR pyramid model. Journal of
Advanced Management Science, 2(3).
Panicker, A., 2013. Neoliberalism, Counter-Hegemony And Politics Of Civil Society: A Study
Of The Plachimada Movement In Kerala, India. International Journal of politics and Good Governance, 4(4).
statista.com 2017. [online] Available https://www.statista.com/statistics/264423/revenue-andfinancial-results-of-coca-cola/. [online] Available
Suliman, A.M., Al-Khatib, H.T. and Thomas, S.E., 2016. Corporate social
responsibility. Corporate Social Performance: Reflecting on the Past and Investing in the Future, p.15.
Visser, W., McIntosh, M. and Middleton, C., 2017. Research on corporate citizenship in Africa:
A ten-year review (1995–2005). In Corporate Citizenship in Africa (pp. 18-28). Routledge.
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