The Killer Coke Campaign website, www.killercoke.org, was viewed by Ethical Consumer in August 2017 which confirmed that the campaign and the Coca Cola boycott were still current. The website stated:
"The Campaign to Stop Killer Coke originated to stop the gruesome cycle of violence against union leaders and organizers in Colombia in efforts to crush their union, SINALTRAINAL. Since then, violence, abuse and exploitation leveled against Coke workers and communities have been uncovered in other countries as well, notably China, El Salvador, Guatemala, India, Mexico and Turkey."

Reference:

killercoke.org (11 July 2016)

Feeling Blue Seeing Red's website (www.feelingblueseeingred.org) said it was calling a boycott of Coca Cola when it was viewed by ECRA in January 2007, and checked again in May 2009. Feeling Blue said this boycott would continue until Coca Cola's stock reached a level of 22 or it revised its policies and actively protected workers being persecuted for supporting the unionisation of Colombia's bottling plants.

Ethical Consumer conducted an internet search in August 2013 and again in July 2016. No information or update about the boycott could be found on either occasion.

Reference:

Boycotts (7 May 2009)

In October 2018 Ethical Consumer searched the Costa website. While the company did not have a food menu online, the terms and conditions page of various Costa promotions listed a number of items containing meat and dairy that were not certified organic or free range. In absence of a statement stating otherwise, Ethical Consumer assumed it highly likely that these products were derived from factory farmed animals. The company therefore lost marks in the Animal Rights and Factory Farming categories.

In addition, in March 2015 the British government website, www.food.gov.uk, stated that the EU animal feed industry imported 70% of its maize, soya and rapeseed requirements; that "almost all" of the soya from the major producers Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and the USA was genetically modified and that "much of" the maize imported from the USA was genetically modified. Costa had no policy or statement regarding GMOs in products or animal feed. Ethical Consumer therefore felt it highly likely that Costa animal products were raised with the use of GM feed and it therefore lost half a mark in the Controversial Technology category.

Reference:

www.costa.co.uk (4 October 2018)

When viewed in August 2017, the FAQ section of the company's UK website, www.coca-cola.co.uk, stated "we don't use any genetically modified ingredients in our drinks". However the US website, www.coca-colaproductfacts.com, stated "GMOs can be found in some of our beverages, along with hundreds of other items in the grocery store. Many of the most influential health organizations and regulatory agencies have determined GMOs to be safe. There are no negative health effects associated with GMO use."

The Coca Cola company therefore lost a mark under Controversial Technologies for its public statements in favour of the use of GMOs.

Reference:

www.coca-colaproductfacts.com (23 August 2017)

In June 2018, Ethical Consumer viewed a report on the Environmental Working Group’s website, which had been published in February 2016, and looked at lobbying by groups opposed to GMO labelling laws.

The report stated that “Big food, farm and biotechnology companies and trade associations working to prevent labeling of food containing genetically engineered ingredients reported spending $101.4 million on lobbying last year.”

The report looked at the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association, a trade group that represents food manufacturers, as well as specific companies. It stated that the GMA filed disclosures reporting $10.5 million in lobbying expenditures in 2015 for the anti-labelling battle and other GMA legislative priorities. It also stated that since January 2014 the GMA had hired 34 lobbyists and spent $2.8 million on lobbying that went exclusively to advocate anti-GMO-labelling legislation.

The report also discussed the DARK Act, which had passed the House of Representatives and was being discussed in the Senate, in February 2016. The act would bar states from enacting laws to require GMO labelling and make it harder for companies to make voluntary GMO disclosures. The Act had been passed in August 2016.

The report stated that 9 out of 10 Americans supported GMO labelling laws, and some 64 other nations had imposed them.

Coca-Cola was said to have spent a total of $17,980,000 on lobbying between 2013-2015, including $8,670,000 in 2015. It therefore lost half a mark under both Political Activities and Controversial Technologies.

Reference:

https://www.ewg.org/research/lobbying-anti-labeling-groups-tops-100m#.Wx-IjtVKjcs (25 February 2016)

In August 2017 Ethical Consumer viewed the Coca-Cola Co's page on the website www.opensecrets.org. The website stated that Coca-Cola had made contributions of $2,286,320 in the 2016 election cycle.

The website also stated that Coca-Cola had spent $7,930,000 on lobbying in 2016.

Reference:

www.opensecrets.org 2017 (2017)

An article in The Guardian on the 7th of October 2015 reported on Australia's CHOICE annual 'Shonkys' awards which named and shamed products and companies who had taken advantage of Australian consumers. Shonky was an Australian slang word meaning unreliable, unsound, dishonest or of poor or dubious quality.

Coca-Cola was one of the companies named.

Coca-Cola was criticised for giving an “unrestricted gift” to the Global Energy Balance Network, an organisation which claimed it was dedicated to using energy balance to end obesity.

“We think funding an organisation that suggests we should keep drinking sugary drinks and just exercise more is a load of fizz,” Choice said.

Coca-Cola rejected the claim. “The Choice Shonky Award is an inaccurate representation of the relationship between the Global Energy Balance Network and the Coca-Cola Company,” a spokeswoman said. “The Coca-Cola Company has a long history of supporting evidence-based scientific research. We fully recognise moderation and diet play a pivotal role in managing health and weight, alongside physical activity.”

The organisation was careful to point out that not every Shonky winner was breaking laws or breaching regulations.

“We hope the Shonkys encourage consumers to look critically at the goods and services they use, question poor service, hidden costs and the fine print beneath claims that seem too good to be true,” Choice chief executive had said.

Reference:

Samsung, Arnott's and Ikea among brands shamed in 2015 Shonky awards (7 October 2015)

According to the organisation's website www.weforum.org, viewed by Ethical Consumer in April 2017, The Coca-Cola Company was a member of the World Economic Forum. This was regarded by Ethical Consumer as an international corporate lobby group which exerted undue corporate influence on policy-makers in favour of market solutions that were potentially detrimental to the environment and human rights.

Reference:

members list 2017 (2017)

In August 2017 Ethical Consumer viewed The Coca Cola Company's page on the corporate website hoovers.com. 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. These included holding companies based in the Cayman Islands, and Hong Kong. The company's 2016 10-K SEC filing also gave the company's juridiction of incorporation as Delaware. The company therefore recieved Ethical Consumer's worst ranking for likely use of tax avoidance strategies.

Reference:

Generic Hoovers Ref (2017)

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) published a report in March 2017: The 35 Percent Corporate Tax Myth; Corporate Tax Avoidance by Fortune 500 Companies, 2008 to 2015.

The report documented just how successful many Fortune 500 corporations had been using loopholes and special breaks over the past eight years, in order to have paid less than the 35% federal income tax on their U.S. profits - with many having paid nothing at all.

ITEP stated: "As lawmakers look to reform the corporate tax code, this report shows that the focus of any overhaul should be on closing loopholes rather than on cutting tax rates."

The report included only corporations which had been consistently profitable every year between 2008 to 2015. By leaving out corporations that had losses in any one year (which means they wouldn’t have paid any tax), the report provides a straightforward picture of average effective tax rates paid by the 258 biggest and most consistently profitable U.S. companies.

The report found that one hundred of the 258 companies (39 percent of them) paid zero or less in federal income taxes in at least one year from 2008 to 2015.

The sectors with the lowest effective corporate tax rates over the eight-year period were Utilities, Gas and Electric (3.1%), Industrial Machinery (11.4%), Telecommunications (11.5%), Oil, Gas, and Pipelines (11.6%), and Internet Services and Retailing (15.6%). Each of these industries paid, as a group, less than half the statutory 35 percent tax rate over this eight-year period.

Coca-Cola was one of the companies in the report. Over the eight year period covered by the report, the company was found to have made US$23,845.9 million profit, on which it paid US$4,853.8 m tax. This worked out at a rate of 20.4%.

Reference:

The 35 Percent Corporate Tax Myth; Corporate Tax (March 2017)

In an article dated 13 November 2015, Computer Business Review reported that Coca-Cola was among a number of large corporates to be investigated by EU regulators over its allegedly paying insufficient taxes. This began after documents were exposed by a group of investigative journalists which contained evidence that the company had made secret fiscal deals with Luxembourg which enabled it to pay low taxes.

Reference:

EU parliament to grill US tech giants on Luxenbourg tax fraud (13 November 2015)