Coca-cola Company is one of the largest companies in the world which it deals mainly with non-alcoholic drinks. The company has branches in more than 200 countries and licenses the sale of over 3,500 drinks in other countries (Yahoo Finance 2012). The company’s headquarters is in Atlanta, Georgia, in the US; and it was incorporated in September 1919.
The company is primarily engaged in the marketing and the manufacture as well as the sale of the non-alcoholic beverages around the globe. The company mostly deals with consumer goods and has around 146,200 employees. The company has a range of products some of which include Fanta, Coca-Cola, Sprite and mineral water. The company has subsidiaries in over 200 countries both developing and the developed. The company serves at least 1.6 million drinks in one day.
The Coca-Cola Company is committed to providing the health and safety standards as stipulated by the US safety rules and guidelines for companies. In addition, the company is a party to the international health and safety standards that guide the operations of business across the globe. The company has a comprehensive safety management system that strives towards protecting all the company employees and does everything possible to prevent the life loss (Coca-Cola Company 2012). The company in an effort to promote the safety of the employees and the public at large has aligned its safety strategy with the international safety management systems. The quality team at the company incorporates the issues of quality products, sustainability in terms of environmental protection, the health and safety of the employees as well as the prevention of life loss into a single framework. The company is committed to providing quality products that are above the expectation of the US customers and those around the globe.
The company has been on the spotlight, however, in the US, Africa and other European countries in regards to their products, health safety especially in the obesity issues among the young children is the isssue of great concern. The company’s products have been known by the scientists as major contributors of obesity especially among the young children who consume them in excess.
In the developing countries, the company has played a vital role in promoting and enhancing international commerce and trade. The company has created numerous employment opportunities, especially in Africa. The company though a pillar of major economies in Africa has resulted in destructive damages in the health and safety of the people in those countries. The company’s partner in Africa, that is SABMiller’s bottling plant, has been criticized for not providing health and safety standards for the farmers who supply it with sugarcane.
The farmers who supply sugarcane are often complaining about the health and safety in the sugar cane farms. Many farms who supply the company (SABMiller) with sugarcanes for use by the Coca-Cola Company complain of the injuries, burns, and the inhalation of hazardous chemicals in the farms. The company also does not indicate the nutritional content on most of its products, and this could pose risks of diseases such as obesity among the children who may take it in excess (Joshi, Retana and Smith 2002).
In 2003, a Non Governmental Organization in India which is a major centre for science and environment asserted that it had found some cancer causing compounds in one of the company’s drinks. The company has also been criticized for the overuse of water in countries such as Zambia, thus depleting the water needed by the farmers in that country to carry out farming. The water used to make the Coca-Cola sodas is also feared that being a major health and safety concern as it may contain pesticides as well as other harmful chemicals. The human safety is further undermined by the fact that the Coca-Cola drinks contain some harmful acids that lead to tooth decay.
The company has been involved in numerous unethical practices such as the use of monopolistic power to dominate markets especially in the developing countries. This has seen the company make outrageous profits at the expense of the consumers. The company has also been accused of bribing lobby groups such as the dentist associations in the US.
Policies and guidelines together with sanctions should be put in place by the various governments and stakeholders around the world. Consultations with Non-Governmental Organization’s representatives of the various businesses and the various employee representatives should be comprehensive in order to lay proper health and safety policies as well as the various sanctions that will accompany their violations especially in developing countries.
All companies with subsidiaries around the world should be involved in sustainability reporting. This is where they will not only provide financial reports to their stakeholders but will be required by law to provide an integrated report on their contribution to the environment as far as the interest of the stakeholders is concerned.
The Coca-Cola Company has been criticized for many years for the lack of health and safety standards and the lack of adherence to the US safety rules especially in the developing countries. Today, the company is working towards improving its public image as far as health and safety is concerned. Many people, however, feel that the company is not doing enough and that it is merely trying to hide its tainted image. The company has received numerous critics especially by the Word Health Organization on the nutrition aspects of the products it introduced to the developing countries which are said to have no nutritional value (Ferrell, Fraerich and Ferrell 2012 pg 463).
It is the responsibility of all countries to harmonize their rules on safety and health issues as the benefit of the multinationals may out-way the risk measures in terms of safety to the country’s citizens. Companies should be controlled and punished if they pose threat to the society.