Coca-Cola's Business Practices: Facing the Heat in a Few Countries

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Case Details:

Case Code : BECG061
Case Length : 20 Pages
Period : 1989-2006
Pub. Date : 2006
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : The Coca-Cola company
Industry : Beverage (Softdrink)
Countries : USA, Columbia, India, Mexico

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Coca-Cola's Business Practices

Coca-Cola had always believed that it conducted its business with responsibility and ethics. The company's business practices were aimed at creating value at the marketplace, providing excellent working conditions, protecting the environment, and strengthening the communities in the places of operation.

Commitment to quality and a code of business conduct were evolved to ensure good business practices. According to Coca-Cola, its commitment to quality was reflected in every facet of its business. These included commitment to product quality, quality in business processes, and in its relationships with suppliers and retailers.

The quality system was reviewed constantly so that the performance bar for these standards was always kept high. The quality guidelines were communicated to all business units and their implementation reviewed. The company introduced the Coca-Cola Quality System (TCCQS) to achieve these quality objectives (Refer to Exhibit V for details on TCCQS)...

Labor Practices in Colombia

Colombia is widely considered as one of the most dangerous countries in the world for trade union activists and union leaders. The country was in the midst of a four-decade-old civil war involving leftist guerrillas, right-wing paramilitary groups, and government forces.

The civil war claimed approximately three thousand lives a year including those of many trade union leaders and workers. It was reported that in 2000, three out of every five trade unionists killed in the world were from Colombia. In 2001, SINALTRAINAL, a Colombian labor union, charged that Coca-Cola and its bottlers Panamerican Beverages (Panamaco), Bebidas y Alimentos De Uraba, and Coca-Cola Femsa, were linked to the violence against its union members in Colombia. Around eight union leaders of Coca-Cola's plants in Colombia had been murdered since 1989, and many others had been abducted and tortured. Coca-Cola was accused of hiring paramilitary death squads to kidnap, torture, or kill union leaders and intimidate worker union activists at its bottling plants...

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