Coca-Cola is a beverage company founded in 1892 that is best known for carbonated soft drinks. The original Coca-Cola drink contained trace quantities of cocaine. Today the company's products are far more controversial because many contain large quantities of sugar like Coke which has 10.6 grams per 100 ml, which has been directly linked to weight gain. The company is also notorious for marketing these drinks to children and paying scientists to promote the idea that lack of exercise is the cause of obesity rather than sugar. Coca-Cola was ranked the world’s No 1 plastic polluter after its beverage bottles were the most frequently found discarded on beaches, rivers, parks and other litter sites in over 50 countries. Coca-Cola has been accused of over-extraction of groundwater in India and Mexico and of abusing workers's rights in Colombia, Guatemala, Russia and Turkey.
Carbonated soft drinks
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(July 7, 2023)
- Agrifood Atlas: Facts and figures about the corporations that control what we eat by Heinrich Böll Foundation, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation & Friends of the Earth Europe (2017)
- Citizen Coke by Bartow J. Elmore (2014)
- Coca-Cola: The Alternative Report by War on Want (2006)
- The Coke Machine by Michael Blanding (2010).
- The Coke Machine: The Dirty Truth Behind the World's Favorite Soft Drink by Michael Blanding (2010)
- Belching Out the Devil: Global Adventures with Coca-Cola by Mark Thomas (2008).
- The Real Thing: Truth and Power at the Coca-Cola Company by Constance Hays (2004).
- Blue Gold: The Battle Against Corporate Theft of the World's Water by Maude Barlow, Tony Clarke (2002)
- For God, Country, and Coca-Cola: The Unauthorized History of the Great American Soft Drink and the Company that Makes It by Mark Pendergrast (1993).
- Refreshing Pauses: Coca-Cola and Human Rights in Guatemala by Henry J. Frundt (1987).
- Soft Drink, Hard Labor: Coca-Cola Workers in Guatemala by Miguel A. Reyes (1987).
- The Cola Wars by J.C. Louis and Harvey Z. Yazijian (1980).
- Coca-Cola: An Illustrated History by Pat Watters (1978).
- The Big Drink: The Story of Coca-Cola by E.J. Kahn Jr. (1960).
Other Key Sources
- Business and Human Rights Resource Centre's profile on Coca-Cola - UK-based Business and Human Rights Resource Centre is an NGO that employs researchers on five continents who work with activists, companies and governments alike to advance human rights in business by eradicating abuse.
- Corporate Rap Sheet on Coca-Cola - Corporate Rap Sheets, which detail corporate wrongdoing by some of the world's largest companies, are written by Philip Mattera, who heads the Corporate Research Project of Good Jobs First in the U.S.
- Mirador's profile on Coca-Cola - Mirador is a project of the Belgium-based NGO Research Group for an Alternative Economic Strategy (GRESEA), which monitors abuse carried out by the largest multinational corporations in Belgium and the world.
Federica Marsi | Al Jazeera | November 16, 2022
Eighteen years after their popular uprising shut down a Coca-Cola bottling plant accused of discharging toxic waste, Plachimada’s residents have taken to the streets again to denounce the company’s sponsorship of this year’s UN Climate Change Conference.
Andrew Kerr | Washington Examiner | March 5, 2022
Three Ukrainian supermarket chains announced they would remove Coca-Cola products from their shelves, and #BoycottCocaCola became the No. 1 national trending Twitter topic Friday afternoon after a spokesperson for the beverage company's exclusive bottler in Russia reportedly told a Russian state-owned news agency that it would continue all business operations in the country.
Waltham Forest Council of Mosques | May 31, 2021
Buying from companies which work in settlements such as Coca Cola means we as consumers are turning a blind eye to the illegal occupation of Palestinian land.
Modern Ghana | January 11, 2021
Angry workers of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company Limited in Ghana have protested at the premises of the company following the alleged dismissal of about 30 of their colleagues.
Roxanne Elias | WTOL 11 | November 3, 2020
Workers at the Coca-Cola Bottling Company in north Toledo are on strike, already planning for the days ahead after they walked off the job just after midnight Sunday.
Plastic Pollution Coalition | February 27, 2020
“The Coca-Cola Company and our other defendants churn out millions of tons of plastic packaging each year and want us to believe that it is all being recycled. It’s a misinformation campaign, similar to those used by Big Tobacco, Big Oil, and Big Pharma. Now is the time to hold Big Plastic similarly accountable.”
Alexia Fernández Campbell | Vox | March 28, 2019
Dozens of workers at one of Coca-Cola’s largest bottling and distribution plants have refused to go to work for almost two months, demanding the same 20 percent increase with a $32,000 peso bonus.
Greenpeace | October 2, 2017
Greenpeace has begun a worldwide campaign against Coca-Cola. It is high time that the soft drink multinational acknowledges responsibility for its contribution to plastic soup and sets a sustainable course.
Denis Campbell | The Guardian | May 7, 2016
Liverpool city council is to start naming and shaming heavily sugared drinks, such as Lucozade and Coca-Cola, in a hard-hitting drive to warn parents about the health dangers they pose to their children.
Ground Views | August 30, 2015
On 17th August 2015, local authorities discovered a leakage of diesel into the Kelani river, the source of drinking water for millions of Sri Lankans. Water supply in several parts of Sri Lanka including its commercial capital Colombo had to be suspended.
Steve Stecklow | The Wall Street Journal | June 7, 2005
Amid the NGOs' campaign, Coca-Cola has been forced to fight legal and legislative battles all across India -- including challenging a court order in the northern state of Rajasthan that would require soft-drink makers to list pesticide residues on their labels.
Matthew Gruchow | Minnesota Daily | November 15, 2004
A group of demonstrators gathered Friday at Coffman Union to protest what it believes is The Coca-Cola Company’s harmful foreign water practices.
- Break Free From Plastic
- Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO)
- Kick Big Polluters Out!
- Corporate Accountability International
- International Labor Rights Forum
- International Union of Foodworkers (IUF)
- International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF)
- Campaign to Stop Killer Coke
- Center for Science in the Public Interest
- Commercial Alert
- Teamsters Brewery & Soft Drink Conference
- Plastic Pollution Coalition
- Earth Island
- Center for Science in the Public Interest
- American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
- Center for Political Accountability
- Food and Water Watch
- Sierra Club
- Natural Resources Defense Council
- Union of Concerned Scientists
- Georgia Coalition for Divestment in South Africa
- India Resource Center
- Plachimada Solidarity Committee - India
- Anti Coca-Cola Struggle Campaign - India
- Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA) - UK
- War on Want - UK
- CONNECTAS - Mexico
- Union of Workers in the Food Industries of Campinas and Region (SITAC) - Brazil
- Plastic Soup Foundation - Netherlands
- Ground Views - Sri Lanka
- Central Swiss Anarchist Action - Switerland
National Post | April 12, 2023
One of the world’s biggest beverages companies once added cocaine to their offering, now Coca-Cola sells the narcotic byproduct to Pharma.
France 24 | February 17, 2022
They sent a letter to the multinational corporation, a copy of which AFP has seen, giving it 10 days to explain its "non-consensual use" of the word "Coca" in Coca-Cola -- the world's most popular fizzy drink. If the company fails to reply, the communities threatened "judicial and commercial measures"...
Ryan Felton | Consumer Reports | July 10, 2020
Coca-Cola churns out a number of beverages here, including Dasani bottled water, which generated more than $1 billion in U.S. sales in the past year, according to market research firm IRI.
Elaine Watson | Food Navigator-USA | June 20, 2019
High-protein milk brand Fairlife has been hit with a second wave of proposed class action lawsuits – one of which names JV partner Coca-Cola as a defendant - following the release of videos showing animal abuse at Fair Oaks Farms in northwest Indiana, its “flagship farm,” which used to supply some of its milk.
Ali Abunimah | Electronic Intifada | October 26, 2017
It had already been reported that about 150 companies have been warned by the office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein that they could be named on the list, which is expected to be published in December.
Union of Concerned Scientists | October 11, 2017
Coca-Cola quietly funded a research institute out of the University of Colorado designed to persuade people to focus on exercise, not calorie intake, for weight loss strategies.
The Hindu | July 15, 2017
The protracted legal battle between the tribals of Plachimada and the beverage behemoth, Coca-Cola drew to a close on Thursday as the latter made a submission before the Supreme Court that it had no intention of restarting operations at its contentious facility in central Kerala.
Nina Lakhani | The Guardian | December 19, 2015
Coca-Cola has been accused of using legal manoeuvres to delay an official investigation into a misleading advertising campaign in Mexico by accusing the government agency of acting unconstitutionally.
Anahad O'Connor | The New York Times | August 9, 2015
Coca-Cola, the world’s largest producer of sugary beverages, is backing a new “science-based” solution to the obesity crisis: To maintain a healthy weight, get more exercise and worry less about cutting calories.
Lisa Skeen | Nacla | April 7, 2010
Coca-Cola isn’t just a product, it’s an institution and a corporate behemoth. And right now it is facing a lawsuit in New York brought by two bottling plant workers from Guatemala.
Center for Science in the Public Interest | January 15, 2009
Coke markets VitaminWater as a healthful alternative to soda by labeling its several flavors with such health buzz words as "defense," "rescue," "energy," and "endurance."
BBC | November 17, 2005
A small shopkeeper in Mexico City has won a David versus Goliath legal battle against the US drinks firm, Coca-Cola. When Coca-Cola's Mexican subsidiary told Raquel Chavez to get rid of a rival cola product or else they might stop selling her Coke, she took action.
Tim Gallagher | EuroNews | November 18, 2022
This is especially embarrassing given the food and drinks company’s sponsorship of COP27, currently being held in Egypt.
India: Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Bisleri fined tens of millions of rupees for violating waste disposal rules
Akchayaa Rajkumar | The News Minute | February 10, 2021
Beverage manufacturers Coca-Cola and PepsiCo and bottled water manufacturer Bisleri have been fined by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for not filing statutory returns to government bodies with regards to collection and disposal of plastic waste.
Erin McCormick | The Guardian | February 27, 2020
Coke, Pepsi, Nestlé and other large companies are being sued by a California environmental group for creating a plastic pollution “nuisance” and misleading consumers about the recyclability of plastic.
Laura Lerner | The Intercept | October 18, 2019
Audio obtained by The Intercept reveals how Coca-Cola’s “green” philanthropy helped squelch an important tool in fighting the plastic crisis.
Gabrielle Canon | The Guardian | June 6, 2019
Undercover footage showing young dairy calves being kicked, violently thrown, having their heads stamped into the ground and suffering from heat exposure at a US farm known as the “Disneyland of agricultural tourism” was published this week.
The case against Coca-Cola: How the world’s biggest soft drinks company is failing to address ocean plastic pollution
Greenpeace | April 6, 2017
Our findings show that almost 60% of Coca-Cola’s global packaging is singleuse plastic bottles.12 With a plastic footprint of this size, Coca-Cola needs to accept responsibility for the damage its products are causing to the marine environment.
India: 13 years after shut down of bottling plant in Kerala, villagers allege they don't have clean drinking water, waiting for justice for effects of pollution
Business and Human Rights Resource Centre | April 24, 2016
In March 2000, Coca Cola, under its Indian subsidiary Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages Private Limited (HCCBPL), commenced operations at its bottling plant at Plachimada, in the southern state of Kerala. Over the next few years, the area surrounding the plant allegedly began to feel the plant’s hazardous effects, as groundwater was contaminated and toxic waste released.
Shane O'Halloran | Food Engineering Mag | March 19, 2014
EPA alleged 27 violations at a Minute Maid juice processing facility in Michigan.
Australia: Coca Cola takes the Northern Territory Government to court for trying to improve recycling
Greenpeace | February 18, 2013
Environment groups including Take 3, Greenpeace, Clean Up Australia, The Total Environment Centre and Two Hands Project held a court-side vigil at the Federal Court in Sydney this morning protesting Coca Cola’s legal challenge to the Northern Territory’s ‘Cash for Containers’ scheme.
War on Want | November 19, 2007
Coca-Cola is one of the most recognizable brands in the world. The company claims to adhere to the "highest ethical standards" and to be "an outstanding corporate citizen in every community we serve". Yet Coca-Cola's activities around the world tell a different story.
Philippines: Unions accuse Coca-Cola of using COVID-19 as pretext to target & dismiss union leaders; Company denies allegations
Business and Human Rights Resource Centre | July 7, 2020
Coca-Cola management in the Philippines is using COVID-19 as a pretext to target and dismiss union leaders at the San Fernando plant in Pampanga province, according to the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF).
Lisa Burden | HR Drive | August 23, 2018
Coca-Cola Refreshments USA has entered into a settlement agreement with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), promising to pay $2.25 million to settle nine disability discrimination charges alleging that the company failed to properly accommodate employees with disabilities.
Peniley Ramírez | Univision | March 13, 2017
The company is aware that children participate in the garbage collection. However, it does not appear that it has taken strict measures to avoid it, even though the company in principle opposes the direct or indirect use of child labor in its supply chains.
Agence France-Presse | Industry Week | November 24, 2016
More than 600 workers go on strike after Coca-Cola announced it was selling its bottling interests in China.
Business and Human Rights Resource Centre | March 11, 2015
The strikers said that their salaries range from 500 to 1200 Egyptian pounds ($65-$157) only, which according to the workers is an insufficient amount that is incompatible with the price hike in Egypt and the effort put by distribution workers in the job.
John Kirby Spivey | Georgia State University | September 8, 2009
It will be shown that, despite the public relations campaigns of both Coke and Pepsi, far more importance was placed on their products’ profitability than the well-being of the black Africans who produced, delivered, or consumed the soft drinks.
Reuters | November 17, 2005
Turkish union workers sued the Coca-Cola Co and Turkish bottling partner Coca-Cola Icecek on Tuesday, claiming human rights violations and saying the soft-drink giant used Turkish secret police to perpetrate a tear gas attack at a local labor dispute.
Stefan Armbruster | BBC | April 2, 2003
A US court has ruled that Coca-Cola's main Latin American bottler can stand trial for allegedly hiring right-wing paramilitaries to kill and intimidate union leaders in Colombia.
Sarah Schafer | Washington Post | November 17, 2000
Coca-Cola Co. agreed yesterday to pay a record $192.5 million to settle a racial-discrimination lawsuit brought by black workers and agreed to make significant changes in the way it manages, promotes and treats its minority employees.
Jea Yu & Kimberly Overcast | Investopedia | May 15, 2021
Coca-Cola (KO) soda began in 1886 when Atlanta pharmacist Dr. John S. Pemberton created the now-famous soft drink, which was sold in the soda fountain of a pharmacy.
Open Secrets - Tracks corporate lobbying of US politicians.
David Smith | The Guardian | February 13, 2023
Amazon, AT&T, Coca-Cola, Comcast, DoorDash, General Motors and Walmart have all made public statements in celebration of Black History Month. Google posted online on 1 February: “Learn how Google is recognizing and celebrating Black voices, joy and success this Black History Month.” But the Center for Political Accountability found that each of these companies donated significant sums of money to political groups that prominently supported DeSantis.
Corporate Accountability International | April 26, 2022
Today at the corporation’s annual meeting, after years of half measures and inaction, investors representing 562,900,000 shares or 13% of Coca-Cola share ownership voted to compel the corporation to fully disclose its political activity and spending globally.
Food and beverage industry interference in science and policy: efforts to block soda tax implementation in Mexico and prevent international diffusion
Andrea Pedroza-Tobias, Eric Crosbie, Melissa Mialon, Angela Carriedo & Laura A Schmidt | BMJ Global Health | August 19, 2021
In late 2015, Coca-Cola and its Mexican bottlers began lobbying for reductions in the tax on lower-sugar beverages to create ‘an incentive based on the reduction of the caloric content to effectively impact the fight against obesity’.
Brett Puley | Bloomberg | January 13, 2021
Coca-Cola Co. has ended its long association with the International Life Sciences Institute, a blow to the powerful food organization known for its pro-sugar research and policies. The beverage giant ended its membership at the “global, regional and country level” as of this month...
Ana Swanson | The New York Times | November 29, 2020
Nike and Coca-Cola are among the major companies and business groups lobbying Congress to weaken a bill that would ban imported goods made with forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region, according to congressional staff members and other people familiar with the matter, as well as lobbying records that show vast spending on the legislation.
Andrew Jacobs | The New York Times | September 16, 2019
After decades largely operating under the radar, ILSI is coming under increasing scrutiny by health advocates in the United States and abroad who say it is little more than a front group advancing the interests of the 400 corporate members that provide its $17 million budget, among them Coca-Cola, DuPont, PepsiCo, General Mills and Danone.
Jacqueline Howard | CNN | January 29, 2019
The paper, published Tuesday in the journal The Milbank Quarterly includes excerpts from emails and suggests that current and former Coca-Cola staff tried to influence the CDC by attempting to frame the debate around whether sugar-sweetened beverages play a role in America’s obesity epidemic, as well as trying to lobby decision-makers.
Yotam Berger | Haaretz | May 7, 2017
Im Tirtzu, which led campaigns against marking the Nakba and accused human-rights activists of being 'moles,' wanted to cover up the $14,000 donation.
Genna Reed | Union of Concerned Scientists | January 19, 2017
Coca-Cola contributed the maximum amount ($50,000) to Perdue’s first gubernatorial campaign in 2003. Then, they remained close.
Import & Export Data
ImportYeti - Shipping Tracking Tool - Bill of ladings are public information that are too cost prohibitive, challenging to obtain and difficult to use for the average joe. ImportYeti's goal is to solve that problem.
Online Khabar | March 11, 2022
The department’s chief Prakash Paudel says the case lodged at the Patan High Court demands the company pay the remaining taxes, plus the same amount in fines.
Cliff Taylor | Irish Times | December 10, 2020
The Government points out that the tax rules here have changed – but with corporate tax receipts soaring as the big players move more assets here, there is no doubt that Ireland remains firmly in the spotlight.
Pan Demetrakakes | Food Processing | November 19, 2020
Coca-Cola has been evading taxes through accounting practices that allow the company to shunt profits overseas, a tax court judge has ruled.
Moriti Neto | O Joio e o Trigo | October 18, 2018
When Coca-Cola benefits from “tax gifts” earned in the Free Economic Zone of Manaus in Brazil, as we have shown, and it remits profits to the United States to the “administrative” head office registered in Delaware, the transnational beverage company benefits twice from billionaires tax maneuvers.
Kevin Drawbaugh | Reuters | April 1, 2018
Coca-Cola Co KO.N thought it had a deal with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service on how much the company charged foreign affiliates for the rights to make and sell Coke products abroad.
Khadija Sharife | 100 Reporters | December 3, 2015
The Cayman-based Conco is one of more than 25 entities located in tax havens – just over 30 percent of the company’s total “financial” subsidiary disclosures, exposing a strategy explained by the company in the annual report as “tax planning.”
Nikolas Leontopoulos | The Press Project | November 7, 2014
Between the largest Greek multinational’s excellent tax avoidance performance, and most of the Greek media’s silence over companies implicated in the LuxLeaks, one is left to wonder which is the bigger scandal.
Kristoffer Tigue | Inside Climate News | October 25, 2022
Activists are calling on the United Nations to remove Coca-Cola as a sponsor of the year’s most significant global climate summit, calling the partnership “pure greenwash” and pointing to the soft drink giant’s outsized contribution to the global plastic waste crisis and its role in perpetuating climate change.
Shruti Tomar | Hindustan Times | March 25, 2022
The Madhya Pradesh government has cancelled the allocation of 110-acre land to Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Private Limited (HCCB) citing a delay in setting up a plant worth ₹750 crore on it at Mohasa in Hoshangabad district, said an official.
Plastic Soup Foundation | February 18, 2022
The drinks giant said that it intends to sell at least 25% of its brands in refillable and returnable glass or plastic bottles by 2030. Environmental organisations, that have pressured Coca-Cola for years to invest in refill systems and deposit systems, responded with cautious optimism. Not only is 2030 still far off and the target only covers one-quarter of the bottles, but there are also other reasons for scepticism and concern.
James O'brien | The Verge | May 31, 2018
When Coca-Cola announced plans earlier this year to recycle the equivalent of 100 percent of its packaging by 2030, the company touted the effort as building on its success with sustainable water use.
Rosemary Stanton | The Conversation | May 30, 2018
No nutritionist is going to knock reductions in sugar content, but even a single can of the new Coca-Cola with Stevia has 37% of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommended maximum daily intake of sugar for an adult.
Perry Wheeler | Greenpeace | January 19, 2018
Greenpeace today criticized Coca Cola's new global plastics plan for failing to address the urgency of ocean plastic pollution.
Jacob Kushner | The World | September 29, 2014
Last year, Coca-Cola announced a $100 million partnership with the International Finance Corporation to provide business skills training and micro-loans to “empower” women — those who sell Coca-Cola products, that is.
Jacob Kushner | The World | September 29, 2014
Some here call the Mlalakua River by a different name: the Coca-Cola River. The nickname comes from the red-brown hue of the water. But it may also reflect the fact that among those factories that line the river’s banks is a Coca-Cola bottling plant, one of three in Tanzania.
India: Activists claim Coca Cola forced to abandon expansion plans due to their efforts, company cited inordinate delay in approvals
Business and Human Rights Resource Centre | August 24, 2014
Coca Cola has decided not to pursue the expansion of its bottling on grounds of inordinate delay in receiving environmental clearances, however, activists campaigning against the expansion said the Coca Cola was "forced to abandon".