Coca-Cola Company: Business Environment Challenges

The Coca-Cola Company Code of Ethics

Coca-Cola is one of the American companies producing and distributing non-alcoholic beverages and syrups, generally known as the soft drinks. The firm is based in Atlanta, Georgia. Currently, the firm is selling over nine brands of soft drink beverages not only in the US but also around the globe. Besides, the firm has greatly expanded its operations since its inception in 1886 to capture the largest global market share and register its presence in most of the regions around the globe. Today, the Coca-Cola Company is considered the largest manufacturer of non-alcoholic beverages and syrups across the globe. The largest market share and presence around the globe are attributed to its enormous marketing strategies and distribution networks. In addition, the firm is also the most sorted out company dealing in non-alcoholic beverages and syrup. The firm became publicly listed on the New York Stock Exchange, enabling the public to become part of the shareholders.

The firm’s success in the industry is also attributed to its ethical conduct and actions, as well as strategies that are geared towards attaining its social responsibilities initiatives, particularly to the communities in which it operates (Isdell, 2011).

The firm is committed to acting responsibly and with integrity within all its operations around the globe. The responsible actions and maintaining integrity to the people and communities in which it operates, as well as the stakeholders have contributed hugely to the success of the firm. Essentially, key issues within the code of conduct that have contributed to the success of the firm include being ethical in its conduct on environmental issues, honesty in business dealings, and non-acceptance of corruption as well as achieving active, healthy living to all in the society (Isdell, 2011). The three areas encompass the important pillars of good corporate citizenship and responsibility critical in maintaining a good relationship with all stakeholders.

Comparing the Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Snapple Group’s Codes of Conduct

The PepsiCo and Snapple Group’s codes of conduct are similar to that of Coca-Cola on many fronts. All the codes of conduct emphasize on business integrity and the importance of maintaining accountability and honesty in the business dealings (Foster, 2008). While the competitors codes emphasize the businesses and their ethical conduct, the code of conduct of the Coca-Cola Company tends to focus on issues that directly affect the societies in which the firm is operating. Generally, the code of conduct of Coca-Cola calls for the firm’s accountability to the society through its accomplishments. Essentially, the firm’s sustainability programs that have been put in place to ensure compliance emphasizes on the benefits of the firm to society. In fact, the codes of conduct of the competing firms provide a framework through the firms can attain the desired outcome. In fact, the major aim of any business entity is to be involved in the provision of products that satisfy the needs of the customers (Lawrence & Weber, 2014).

The Coca-Cola Company adopted the sustainability program to enhance adherence of the code of conduct and attain the social responsibility in areas identified as critical to the society. Compared with the identified competitors, the sustainability program attached the company’s system right from production through packaging to distribution (Foster, 2008). While PepsiCo has also identified critical areas to help improve its sustainability issues such as the community maintenance, beverage benefits, the workplace, active healthy living, energy and climate, water stewardship and sustainability practices, Coca-Cola’s conduct is still perceived as the originator of the activities.

Essentially, all employees of Coca-Cola must adhere to a set code of business conduct that guides their actions on a number of issues and policies. In addition, the firm incorporates international ethical standards and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) guidelines into its system. However, such guidelines are not directly part of the firm’s code of conduct.

The Extent to which Identified Issues are Tackled by Competing Firms

The environmental sustainability, honest business conducts and attaining active healthy living remain critical priority areas for not only the firm but also the competitors. In fact, these areas increase the competitive advantage to the firm (Elmore, 2013). While Coca-Cola Company has outperformed the competitors in these priority areas, the firms have attained significant number of outcomes. The firm’s codes of conduct provide a framework that ensures employees’ compliance to the code of conducts and are accountable for their actions.

Besides, the competing firms have applied various strategies to ensure that the sustainability programs have attained their goals. For instance, PepsiCo performs annual audits on its business conducts that cover a wide range of acceptable practices including compensation, working and living conditions as well as health and safety to ensure that the priority area concerned with active healthy living is attained. In the circumstances that the minimum conditions have not been met, the firm re-strategizes on how best to achieve the desired outcomes. Apart from audits to ensure compliance to the business code of conduct and the level at which the firm has attained the sustainability programs, the firm can also conduct wide industrial training on areas such as health and safety, child labor and human rights.

As indicated, addressing these key areas is critical for the firm’s sustained growth and development within the market (Lawrence & Weber, 2014). For instance, PepsiCo have realized that maintaining high levels of ethical standards and conducts would result in increased competitive advantage. Moreover, maintaining healthy living capabilities within the communities and other stakeholders are critical in ensuring positive relationship with the clientele, which in turn contribute to the positive outcome of the firm. However, attaining the desired ethical and responsibility outcome add to increased costs to the firms. Moreover, the firm’s efforts can backfire particularly in situations where the firm fails to collaborate with communities to attain the desired outcome.

The Relevancy of the Firm’s Code of Conduct

Various measures can be adopted by the firm to ensure that its code remain relevant over the years. The first strategy is to come up with a clear sustainability programs attached to the firms systems right from production through packaging to distribution, taking into consideration the needs of all stakeholders and geared towards attaining the communities sustainability. While the code of conduct provides a broad framework, the firm has to come up with clear programs geared towards attaining the expected desires of the communities (Gardiner, 2012). Secondly, the firm has to collaborate consistently with all stakeholders in order to address issues that directly affect the communities. In addition, the firm has to review its ethical conducts and social responsibility actions in order to be remain relevant amid constant changes in the market place.

Currently, the environmental sustainability issues are addressed within the broader sustainability program. Under the sustainability program, the firm has ensured that the integrity towards the utilization of important resources such as water and energy are kept constantly higher than is expected. However, the firm has been called upon to account in some areas where oversight institutions have cited faultiness in its social responsibility actions and ethical behaviors (Gardiner, 2012).

Nevertheless, the firm has responded through the provision of solutions to the problems affecting the communities. While the sustainability program has ensured better management of important environmental resources, the strategy has not been effective in ensuring that the integrity is maintained throughout the business processes. Secondly, the firm has adopted the damage control measures that address a wide range of environmental issues ranging from taking into consideration the issues raised by the communities to the production of regular reports covering important issues related to the matters that benefit the stakeholders (Gardiner, 2012).

The Approaches by Coca-Cola to Embrace Technological Advances

Technological advances affect all firms not only within the industry in which Coca-Cola is operating but also within the public sector. In fact, technological advances will not affect the products of the firm but the manner in which the firm is doing the business. The first approach through which the firm has embraced technological advances is to incorporate new technologies into the business processes (Elmore, 2013).

In fact, the firm requires a consistent and effective supply chain and distribution channels to attain the efficient production and distribution of final products to meet the global demand. The management of the complex supply chain and distribution network requires new technological advances. Adopting technological advances to increase effectiveness and efficiency in these areas is one way through which the firm has embraced technological advances, which in effect contributes to consumer satisfaction. Second, the firm has adopted new technologies to come up with novel marketing strategies that have resulted in increased presence and brand loyalty around the globe. Technology has played a critical role in the marketing and development of the firm’s brand.

However, the firm is currently facing challenges associated with privacy and patents, which is difficult to maintain amid technological advances. Currently, most of the firms secrete can easily be hacked and used by fraudsters to make new competing products (Lawrence & Weber, 2014). Secondly, new technological advances could lead to the innovation of new products that could offer stiff competition to existing products. Third, technological advances can be applied by the competitors to destroy the reputation, which the firm has built over the years, through the provision of false information. The intervention method to all these challenges is to be more innovative and adopting new technological advances relevant to the business processes (Lawrence & Weber, 2014). Being ahead in terms of technological advances and innovations is critical in understanding the challenges that come with innovations and ensuring strategies that will do away with such challenges (Lawrence & Weber, 2014).

The Lobbying Strategies Applied by Coca-Cola Company

While the firm has maintained integrity in all areas of business processes, certain conditions requires government interventions in order to operate. The firm often applies its non-corruption platform to lobby for their participation in various important projects aimed at benefitting the communities (Gardiner, 2012). For instance, in an effort to reclaim its damaged reputation in India, the firm applied the legal procedures to protect its image of wrongdoing. In fact, it was found through a legal procedure that the firm did not flout the country rules. However, the quantity of pesticides in water was above levels required by the European Union. Moreover, the firm continued to operate even after the findings indicating that the firm collaborated with some government officials.

Essentially, the firm utilized the legal procedures and non-corruption platform to lobby the authorities in order to operate. Secondly, the firm applies its social responsibility platform to lobby the authorities (Gardiner, 2012). While it was critical for the firm to continue operating and benefit the communities, the firm could have used a different strategy to respond to the allegations leveled against its activities. In fact, the firm could have accepted the mistake, re-strategize and work with all stakeholders to ensure that the problem is sorted out. As such, the lobbying procedures adopted by the firm were not appropriate.

Global Corporate Citizenship Efforts of Coca-Cola Company

The firm has been involved in various projects that are geared towards helping the global citizens. Besides being involved in sponsoring sports activities around the globe, the firm is known for its major water projects around the globe (Foster, 2008). For instance, in India the firm has ensured a sustained water supply to most of the communities. Further, in sports, the firm has been involved in nurturing talents around the globe (Foster, 2008). Moreover, the firm has applied its CSR platform to fund various community projects around the globe particularly the projects concerned with environmental conservations and energy reduction. In addition, Coca-Cola Company is greatly involved in the campaign against global warming particularly through its energy and environmental conservation policies and programs around the globe. The firm is collaborating with its partners to ensure environmental sustainability (Elmore, 2013).

References

Elmore, B. J. (2013). Citizen Coke: An environmental and political history of the Coca-Cola Company. Enterprise & Society, 14(4), 717–731. Web.

Foster, R. (2008). Coca-globalization: following soft drinks from New York to New Guinea. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Web.

Gardiner, R. (2012). The civil war origin of Coca-Cola in Columbus, Georgia. Journal of the Muscogee Genealogical Society, 23(1), 21–24. Web.

Isdell, N. (2011). Inside Coca-Cola: A CEO’s life story of building the world’s most popular brand. With the assistance of David Beasley. New York: St. Martin’s Press. Web.

Lawrence, A. T., & Weber, J. (2014). Business and society: Stakeholders, ethics, public policy. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education. Web.