Is Coca-Cola ethical?
Our research highlights several ethical issues with Coca-Cola. The company has therefore been marked down in our rating system in a number of categories, including: climate change, habitats & resources, palm oil, pollutions and toxics, human rights, workers' rights, irresponsible marketing, animal rights, controversial technologies, anti-social finance and political activities.
Below we outline of some of these issues. To see the full detailed stories, and Coca-Cola's overall ethical rating, please sign in or subscribe.
In November 2017 it was reported that a Coca-Cola subsidiary, Coca Cola Amatil, was using structures from the overturned Suharto dictatorship in Indonesia, to prevent workers' right to organise.
In August 2017 we issued Coca Cola with a worst rating for palm oil policy and practice. Palm oil is a key ingredient used to produce its products. While it is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, it doesn't report on figure usage and certification. Therefore it is not clear whether all the palm oil ingredients the company group used were certified.
In August 2017 Cocoa Cola received a middle ranking for environmental reporting. Its 2016 Sustainability Report discusses packaging, sustainable agriculture and climate protection. It therefore has a reasonable understanding of its environmental impacts.
The report included two quantified environmental targets for 2020, including improving water efficency in manufacturing operations by 25% compared to its 2010 baseline. The other is to recover and recycle the equivalent of 75% of the bottles and cans introduced into developed markets, from a 61% current recovery rate.
According to the company’s website, some of Coca-Cola’s drinks contain small traces of fish gelatine.
According to SHARK, a campaign group against animal abuse, Coca Cola is a major sponsor at many of the world's largest rodeos. SHARK documented abuse, injuries, and deaths at rodeos around America.
Coca Cola made contributions of over $2million in the 2016 cycle. It also spent $7,930,000 on lobbying in 2016.
Coca Cola receives a worst ranking for likely use of tax avoidance. In August 2017, the company had more than two high risk company types registered in jurisdictions considered by Ethical Consumer to be tax havens at the time of writing.