In August 2017 Ethical Consumer searched The Coca Cola Company's website, www.coca-colacompany.com, for information on its supply chain policy. The company's 2016 Sustainability Report and Supplier Guiding Principles were downloaded. Based on these documents and additional material found on the website, Coca-Cola was rated as follows:
SUPPLY CHAIN POLICY - RUDIMENTARY
The company's “Supplier Guiding Principles” document contained brief clauses on freedom of association, wages, discrimination, forced labour and child labour.
The clause on child labour stated only, “adhere to minimum age provisions of applicable laws and regulations”. Coca Cola's Human Rights policy stated only, "The Company prohibits the hiring of individuals that are under 18 years of age for positions in which hazardous work is required." The clause on wages stated only that employees should be compensated “relative to the industry and local labor market”. It failed to mention a living wage.
The company's additional Issue Guidance stated, "If the eight Core Conventions of the International Labor Organization establish higher standards than local law, the ILO standards need to be met by the supplier." The company's supply chain policy was considered rudimentary.
STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT - RUDIMENTARY
Coca Cola stated that it was committed to “Biannual Meetings and ongoing dialogue with the International Union of Food and Allied Workers; and Engagement with NGOs and others in a variety of forums, such as the annual UN Forum on Business and Human Rights." However it provided no details of its work with these organisations.
The company offered EthicsLine, a free reporting service for employees to report violations, administered by a third party, Global Compliance.
AUDITING AND REPORTING - RUDIMENTARY
In its webpage on the California Transparency in Supply Chain Act, The Coca Cola Company stated that "all of the bottling operations and authorized suppliers selling more than $60,000 annually to the Coca-Cola system are required to complete a third-party audit and share the audit results with The Coca-Cola Company",
"The audits are generally announced, but the Company reserves the right to conduct unannounced audits as well",
"SGP compliance is part of the supplier authorization process and progress is tracked and reported internally on a quarterly basis and reported externally on an annual basis. ... The Company’s publicly stated goal is that, by 2020, 98 percent of bottling plants and 95 percent of in-scope suppliers will achieve compliance with the Supplier Guiding Principles."
"The Company works with those sites that have not yet achieved compliance to remediate issues".
Although the company had a schedule and a remediation process, there was no detailed disclosure of audits or the results. Additionally, no commitment was made to audit the whole supply chain. It was not clear who covered costs of audits. The Coca Cola company therefore received a rudimentary rating for auditing and reporting.
DIFFICULT ISSUES - POOR
The company stated that it was commited to "Annual Company-wide employee communication and individual certification of our Code of Business Conduct and Human Rights Policy". However, as several clauses of its policy (which was in line with its Supplier Guiding Principles) were considered inadequate, this was not considered a good enough approach to difficult issues.
It also stated, "we have a strategy and action plan in place that includes conducting human rights due diligence studies focused on forced and migrant labor, child labor and land rights issues in a number of key countries...The results of the studies will give us a factual basis to engage with industry, government and NGOs to mitigate human rights impacts, as needed." It was not clear that the company had yet developed a systematic approach to dealing with problems exposed.
The company received a poor rating for difficult issues.
Overall the company received a middle rating for its supply chain management.
Coca cola website (25 July 2016)