Coca-Cola's Ethics and Business Secrets of Success

By: Tasha Kolesnikova

6 min



Coca-Cola's Ethics and Business Secrets of Success

Since its inception, Coca-Cola has striven to act honestly and conscientiously, instilling in every employee the ethical standards that have been traditional in the company's operations on a global scale. What ethical norms does Coca-Cola adhere to, what problems did it face, and how did it overcome difficulties - read in our article.

📚Principles of Coca-Cola Ethics

Throughout the history of the company, the most important policy principles have been to conduct business with honesty in good faith in accordance with moral, ethical, and legal norms. To support this long-term policy, the company's management has adopted the Code of Business Conduct and Code of Ethics, which applies to all employees in its local and overseas subsidiaries and operations. It is listed on and prescribes many rules governing the improvement of a culture of ethics of managers and their compliance with the requirements for appropriate behavior. And in the decision-making process, the company was guided by ethical standards. 

Like most global companies, Coca-Cola has its own Compliance Office. For example, a Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan Holding Group has set up an Ethics & Compliance Hotline that can be contacted directly by phone or e-mail.

As for the company's values, they can be divided into several points:

  • Always be true to your own principles. Based on values, do the right thing, and do what is right, not the easiest;
  • Improving in everything that is produced. Carrying out work quickly and with joy;
  • Learning and developing. Listening to the opinions of others, learning with enthusiasm;
  • Taking care of employees. Belief in them helps to trust and ensures mutual development;
  • Coca-Cola is one team. And the only strength of team action and everyone's contribution to achieving the goal will give the maximum result.
  • Win with customers because they are the basis of all actions.

The company's activities are based on a few very simple ideas. It guarantees:

  • Pleasant taste;
  • High-quality products;
  • First-class service.

The main goals of the Coca-Cola company can be described in several points. Each of them plays a significant role in the company's productivity and large-scale development. This is what ensures a great future for the brand:

  • Building partnerships and trusting business relationships with all customers;
  • To quench the thirst of the consumer;
  • To raise the living standards of people in the country where the company operates;
  • Paying employees decently and providing a decent reward to shareholders.

What are the results of compliance with the Code? Obviously, Coca-Cola has clearly demonstrated what power can be achieved if not only to produce quality products but also to act in accordance with ethical and moral norms. For over 100 years, the company has been successfully implementing new techniques ahead of its time.

Coca-Cola Company Ethics Problems

Despite the strict rules set out in the Company's Code, conflicts and problems have often arisen throughout its history. In recent decades, it has experienced significant problems with the company's reputation and ethical crises. This has even led to a loss of faith in the company by some investors. For example, due to the fact that Coca-Cola did not find an opportunity to overcome its difficulties, back in 2006, one of the investors and board member Warren Buffett resigned.

Since the 90s of the last century, the company has been accused on many counts. Includes:

  • Conflicts with distributors. In 2006, Coca received a lawsuit from 54 American bottlers. The purpose of the lawsuit was Coke and the Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) block. The goal was to boycott the expansion of beverage supplies directly to Walmart warehouses. Bottlers saw the problem in breaking the tradition of the direct delivery of beverages to stores. A year later, opponents reached an agreement, the details of which were not disclosed. Deliveries to the warehouse were considered acceptable only in part. Coca-Cola's relationship with distributors, partners, and suppliers is not the focus of media attention when resolving conflict issues. The main thing is the company's reputation and strategic partnership. If the reputation suffers, it negatively affects everyone in the supply chain. The crisis of Coca-Cola has in some way affected their business partners, stakeholders, and their bottom line.
  • Health problems. For example, the company has been accused of contributing to the growing problem of obesity due to its high sugar content. Another challenge was criticism of the possible influence of certain ingredients of Coke on the development of cancer. The Center for Science in the Public Interest claimed that the disease could be caused by a caramel dye-containing Coca. However, CSPI did not provide concrete evidence of this fact. To avoid further problems, Coca-Cola and Pepsi made changes to the composition of the company's product and eliminated the problematic ingredient.
  • Unethical behavior towards trade union workers. Coca-Cola was seriously accused in Guatemala and Colombia. Eight workers were killed at a bottling plant in Colombia. About 50 workers went into hiding, and another 65 were threatened with physical violence. There was evidence of intimidation of union members. Coca denied all allegations and explained the deaths of workers by the outbreak of civil war in Colombia. These problems led to protests in New York. They were initiated by human rights activists, environmentalists, and student activists. 

Among other problems of the company - accusations of improper business practice, lack of competitiveness, excessive depletion of natural resources, racial discrimination, environmental issues. Each of these issues can be a separate topic for an essay on economics.


Coca-Cola, Fanta, Sprite, Diet Coke - the names of these drinks are known around the world. Coca-Cola beverage company, their manufacturer, is the most powerful soft drink company. But the formation of the company and its ethical principles did not happen immediately. This was preceded by many historical events.

In 1886, a pharmacist from Atlanta created a new type of soda and changed the world forever. In May, Coca-Cola will celebrate its 135th birthday. What can be said for sure is that the company has always understood its social responsibility and tried to solve its problems. In addition, Coca-Cola follows anti-corruption and anti-bribery laws, improving the business ethics of the company. To reduce emissions and increase energy efficiency, Coca-Cola has signed a United Nations Global Compact called "Caring for Climate: The Business Leadership Platform."

The history of brand development can be a good topic for a college assignment. If you are interested in this topic, but you have difficulties with it, it's better to use the Do my assignment writing service.

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I studied sociology and marketing at Europa-Universität Viadrina (Germany) and Universidade da Beira Interior (Portugal). When I was a sophomore, back in 2018, I decided to put what I've learned into practice, so I got my first job in digital marketing. I currently work in the content marketing department at Studybay, building strong, effective, and respectful communication between the platform and our clients.

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