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


Top 5 Offense Groups (Groups Defined)Penalty TotalNumber of Records
employment-related offenses$239,554,64127
safety-related offenses$866,10970
environment-related offenses$600,44718
consumer-protection-related offenses$325,0001
financial offenses$136,5001

(April 25, 2022) 

Number of Records
Total Penalties
$241,482,697 (April 25, 2021)
Information in this section is drawn from the Violation Tracker database produced by the Corporate Research Project of Good Jobs First in Washington DC. It is the most comprehensive source of data on business violations of laws and regulations in the United States. For specific examples of misconduct, please click on the links.


Article Archive

The Case Against Coke

Published by
The Nation
Michael Blanding

The ballroom at the Hotel du Pont in Wilmington, Delaware, is the picture of opulence. Paintings of Greek gods and goddesses peer down from the walls, lit by two crystal chandeliers the size of Mini Coopers.

Read more

Coca-Cola yet again top global plastic polluter

Published by
Down to Earth

The Coca-Cola Co has emerged as the No.1 global plastic polluter for the second consecutive year, according to a report on the top 10 plastic polluting companies in the world. The beverages brand was followed by Nestlé SA and PepsiCo In.

Read more
Videos & Podcasts
Protesters call for boycott of Coca-Cola
Staff of Coca Cola protest dismissal of 30 of their colleagues
Plachimada vs Coca-Cola: Residents still fight for justice, 15 years after the coke plant shut down
Mexico’s deadly Coca-Cola addiction | Unreported World
The challenge of Coca-Cola, identified as the biggest plastic polluter in the world


  • 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.


Recent & Ongoing Campaigns
Coca-Cola workers in Ghana protest unfair dismissal of colleagues

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.

Coca-Cola plant employees protest, demanding better health care agreement in midst of pandemic

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.

Earth Island Institute and Plastic Pollution Coalition Take On Big Plastic

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.”

Thousands of workers at US factories in Mexico are striking for higher wages

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.

Major Investigations
& Lawsuits
'Coca' pits indigenous Colombians against soft drink giant

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"...

Did Coca-Cola Ever Contain Cocaine?

National Institute on Drug Abuse | November 9, 2020

Scientific research is constantly discovering new things about drugs, such as the health benefits and risks of using (or misusing) them. Sometimes, these discoveries lead to changes in the way a drug is used.

How Coke and Pepsi Make Millions From Bottling Tap Water, as Residents Face Shutoffs

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.

Fairlife, Coca-Cola, hit with second wave of lawsuits over animal abuse allegations

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.

Coca-Cola to pay $2.25M, update return-to-work policy to settle ADA charge

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.

Coca-Cola ads suggesting soda is made from apples lead to legal battles

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.

Coca-Cola Sued for ‘Campaign of Violence’ in Guatemala

Lisa Skeen | Nacla | April 7, 2010

All over the world, tabletops, football stadiums, and corner shop windows are branded with its iconographic white-on-red, swirling text. 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.

Coke bottler faces death suit

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.

Environmental Impacts
Coke and Pepsi sued for creating a plastic pollution ‘nuisance’

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.

Leaked Audio Reveals How Coca-Cola Undermines Plastic Recycling Efforts

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.

Secret footage exposes abuse of calves at Coca-Cola affiliated dairy farm

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.

Greenpeace campaign “Coca-Cola is flooding our oceans with plastic”

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.

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.

Coca-Cola: Apologise and pay compensation for contaminating drinking water

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.

Coca-Cola: drinking the world dry

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.

Protest at U starts campaign against Coca-Cola’s water use

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.

Employment Practices
Nike and Coca-Cola Lobby Against Xinjiang Forced Labor Bill

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.

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).

Recycling misery: How Coca-Cola profits from garbage collected by Mexican children

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.

Chinese Coca-Cola Workers Strike Over Asset Sale

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. Separately, Sony factory workers in Guangzhou have halted production for two weeks in protest at the sale of the Huanan subsidiary to a Chinese company.

Egypt: Coca-Cola workers strike over low wages in Alexandria

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.

Turk workers sue Coke

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.


Corporate Headquarters
1 Coca Cola Plaza, Atlanta, GA 30313, USA
Most Recent Gross Revenue
$37.266 billion (2019) | source
Most Recent Net Revenue
$8.920 billion (2019) | source
Stock Exchange Tickers

Note: Most recent list is not always the most complete list.

Croctail Subsidiary Tool using the CorpWatch API - This API uses automated parsers to extract the subsidiary relationship information from Exhibit 21 of companies' 10-K filings with the SEC.

Major Funders
Top 4 Mutual Fund Holders of Coca-Cola

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.

Major Shareholders

Click here for the latest list.

Political Influence

Open Secrets - Tracks corporate lobbying of US politicians.

Open Secrets Logo Profile of Coca-Cola

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.

Subsidy Tracker
Subsidy Tracker
Subsidy Tracker is a project of Good Jobs First in Washington DC. It is the most comprehensive source of data on state and federal subsidies in the United States. For more details, click on the links.
Click here for details of subsidies received by Coca-Cola.
Tax Havens
& Evasion
How did Coca-Cola pay a tax rate of just 1.4% in Ireland?

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.

Tax Judge Rules Against Coca-Cola

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.

Coca-Cola's tax planning is international

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.

As corporate-government tax pacts falter, Coca-Cola challenges huge U.S. bill

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.

Trade Secrets: Coca-Cola’s Hidden Formula for Avoiding Taxes

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.”

Major Projects
Coke claims to give back as much water as it uses. An investigation shows it isn’t even close

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.

Across Africa, Coke is empowering women — to sell Coke products

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.

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".

Greenpeace slams Coca-Cola plastic announcement as ‘dodging the main issue’

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.

Coca-Cola's river cleanup work in Tanzania shows mixed motives

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.

* indicates required