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Coca-Cola Company

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The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC), headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, is the world's largest soft-drink company. The company owns four of the top five soft-drink brands (Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Fanta, and Sprite). Other brands include Minute Maid, Powerade, and Dasani water. In North America it sells Groupe Danone's Evian. Outside of Australia, Europe and North America, the company sells brands from the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (Crush, Dr. Pepper and Schweppes). Coca Cola makes or licenses over 3,000 drinks in some 200 countries. It owns 32% of Mexico's bottler Coca-Cola FEMSA and 23% of European bottler Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling. In late 2010, TCCC bought out its leading bottler, Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE), and renamed it Coca-Cola Refreshments USA. [1]

In the fiscal year ending in December of 2012, the company reported a total annual revenue of $48 billion and total assets of $86 billion. As of December 2012, Coca Cola Company held 150,900 employees.[2] Coca-Cola Co.'s CEO, Muhtar Kent, earned over $24 million in 2010. [3]

Political Activity

Support for the American Legislative Exchange Council

Coca-Cola was a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) until it publicly announced it would not renew its ALEC membership on April 4, 2012.[4]

A list of ALEC corporations, can be found here. A list of other corporations which have cut ties with ALEC can be found here.

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.


The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) launched its public campaign against Coca-Cola in August 2011, asking Coke "to stop funding the American Legislative Exchange Council, the corporate bill mill undermining our democracy." CMD's campaign sent emails and postcards to Coke CEO Muhtar Kent. Color of Change (CoC) launched an allied campaign targeting ALEC corporations, including Coca-Cola, in December 2011. Its petition drive resulted in over 85,000 signatures. CoC has focused on ALEC's role in so-called "voter ID" legislation ALEC approved as a "model," which will make it more difficult for citizens to exercise their right to vote. Several states have adopted bills with similar restrictions over the past two years, even though many civil rights groups, such as the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, CoC, and others -- including CMD/PRWatch -- have noted that these voter restrictive bills will have adverse consequences on communities of color, the elderly, and college students. CoC announced a public boycott of Coke on April 4, 2012, joined by other public interest groups. Coke published its statement backing out of ALEC within eight hours.[5]

Gene Rackley, the Director of Public Affairs and Communications at Coca-Cola Refreshments, had represented Coke on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) corporate ("Private Enterprise") board.[6]

Matthew Echols, Director of State and Government Affairs, had represented Coca-Cola on ALEC's corporate board as of 2011.[7]

Coca-Cola and ALEC share many right-wing views on policy: "Both love free trade and have been big boosters of free trade agreements, such as the Korea, Panama and Columbia agreements facing votes this week in Congress. Both are dubious about recycling, especially taxes applied to industry to pay for mandatory recycling."[8]

Political contributions

In 2010, Open Secrets reports that Coke spent $487,500 on federal political contributions. Federal House Democrats received $161,500 and Republicans $128,500. Senate Democrats received $41,500 and Republicans $77,500.[9]

Barclay T. Resler, Vice President Government Relations for Coca-Cola, was a Bush Ranger having raised at least $200,000 for Bush in the 2004 presidential election. [10]

Coca-Cola political action committees (PACs) gave $415,150 to federal candidates in the 05/06 election cycle - 37% to Democrats, 61% to Republicans, and 2% to third party candidates. [11]

Lobbying & public relations

Coca Cola spent $4,890,000 on lobbying in 2010. $475,000 went to seven outside lobbying firms.[12]

You can see an entire list of the company's lobbyists HERE. A list of bill lobbied for can be seen HERE.

In September 2008, Coke hired the Dewey Square Group firm "for communications work regarding climate change, trade and assorted industry issues."

The firm's Joel Johnson, ex-chief of staff to Sen. Howard Metzenbaum and executive director of the House Democratic Study Group; Melanie Nathanson, former legislative policy analyst to Sen. Bob Graham; Joyce Brayboy, ex-chief of staff to Rep. Melvin Wattand James Kimberly, one-time special assistant to Sen. Alan Cranston; worked on the Coke account. [13]

"Coke and the ABA have successfully resisted bills and overturned laws imposing taxes on soft drinks in Florida -- thanks to Agriculture Commissioner and ALEC alumnus Adam Putnam -- New York and Washington State." [14]

Corporate Practices

Marketing

"The zero movement"

The Zero Movement is an astroturf campaign by Coke to sell a new sugar-free drink called "coca cola zero" in Australia. The campaign has involved viral marketing strategies, including buying billboards and the backs of magazines for ads apparently by "The Zero Movement", as well as putting up posters in public places [1]. There is also a website which includes a manifesto. An alternative, critical site calling itself The Zero Coke Movement describes the campaign:

"They call themselves "the zero movement", but what are they?
They're a bunch of advertising wankers pretending to be a grass-roots movement.
They're spending Coca-Cola's money to try to get you interested in drinking a product called 'Coca-Cola Zero'." [2]

Marketing to Children

Coca-Cola insists that it does not market its products to children under age 12, announcing in 2003: "In keeping with a policy that has been in place for more than half a century, the Coca-Cola Company and its local bottling partners do not aim or direct any marketing activity from any source to children under the age of twelve."[15]

While "no advertising to kids under twelve" may mean that Coke doesn't advertise on cartoons, it also includes a huge exception for shows with mixed audiences, those viewed by children and adults. Coke exploits this loophole through product placement. On American Idol, the top-rated program among children aged two to eleven, and the show for which Coke is the top sponsor, the Coke logo is emblazoned all over the set. Coke readily celebrates the show's "universal appeal," ranging from kids to older adults.[16] Coke also claims not to market Coke-branded toys to kids, saying that clothing and toys fall under the same guidelines as television. Yet Coke-branded toys, including checker sets and cars, are aimed at children as young as four. Coke claims that as long as there are no commercials for these products, children are not being marketed to.[17]

Countering criticism over obesity

In March 2004, Coca-Cola announced that it was creating the Beverage Institute for Health & Wellness. According to PR Week the institute is to support nutrition research, education, and outreach. The outreach activities, PR Week wrote, will be directed to "health professionals and consumers about nutrition, physical activity, and health maintenance issues." [3] Education, as the thinking by food companies goes, "empowers" people to make the right product choices, writes Michele Simon in her book Appetite for Profit, but is really a thinly veiled jab at nutrition advocates who supposedly want to take away the rights of consumers to freely decide which foods are best for them. Food companies don't mean any education, though, but rather the kind they provide so that they can control the information people need to make dietary decisions.[18] In November 2004, PR Week reported that Coca-Cola GB and its bottling arm Coca-Cola Enterprises have combined their public affairs accounts and are seeking proposals from PR companies to include "reputation issues surrounding obesity". The companies current agencies are Lexington Communications, Burson-Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe. [4] In January 2005 PR Week reported that Weber Shandwick had won the £350,000 account. Weber Shandwick senior vice-chairman David Yelland, the former editor of the Sun, has been designated Coke Great Britain's ‘chief media officer’ with the job of "rebuilding relations with the media, after last year’s Dasani fiasco." Weber Shandwick executive Colin Byrne will lead the team handling the account.[5]

In July 2005 PR Week reported that "Coca-Cola will work with Weber Shandwick this fall to promote its new, seemingly selfless "Live It!" children's fitness campaign in schools across the country." The PR firm will "focus on generating local publicity for schools that participate in the week-long program." [6] Coke lavished $4 million on the program in the fall of 2005, providing materials for 8,500 public middle schools, including videos of famous sports figures like Lance Armstrong that encouraged children to be active.[19] The plan offered some nutrition tips, but made no mention of beverage consumption, drawing attention away from the unhealthy beverages they also peddle in these same schools.[20]

Kirsten Witt, Coke's "nutrition communication manager," said the $4 million Live It campaign would not address childhood obesity or encourage students to drink Coke, adding that "the company's logo will not appear on Live It materials." In addition to PR and marketing, Coke is paying for campaign "posters, pedometers, and nutrition education materials along with prizes to offer children who meet the program's exercise goal of walking 10,000 steps in a week." For cash-strapped schools, the prospect of donated educational materials is irresistible. In other sugary news, the Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to require labels on sodas warning about "obesity, tooth decay and diabetes." [7]

Industry Sponsored Research

In September 2004, the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (JNEB), the official journal of the Society for Nutrition Education published an article titled, "Soft Drinks, Childhood Overweight and the Role of Nutrition Educators: Let's Base Our Solutions on Reality and Sound Science,"[21] authored by Liz Marr, a dietitian and partner in a consulting firm, Marr Barr Communications, whose clients include Coke, which sponsored Marr's research: a fact that the journal did disclose. This fact, however, did little to deter Coke from using Marr's bought-and-paid for conclusions to defend its products and practices. The Marr article was prominently displayed at Coke's annual shareholder meeting in April 2005. Coke CEO E. Neville Isdell referred to the article to defend the company's marketing practices without mentioning that his own company had funded the article.[22] Isdell was especially eager to play up Marr's attempt to dismiss the myth that "soft drink companies market to young children." In her article, Marr insisted that "for nearly fifty years, the Coca-Cola Company has adhered to a policy not to market soft drinks to children under the age of twelve years. Recently, the company expanded that policy to apply to all of its beverages, including juices, sports drinks, and water."[23]

Josh Golin of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, who had attended that shareholder meeting, wrote a letter to the editors of JNEB citing numerous examples of how Coke markets to children under age twelve. His examples included product placement on television shows and branded checker sets. He also questioned the journal's complicity in bolstering Coke's position: "In short, to dispel the "myth" that soft drink companies market to young children, Marr merely parrots Coca-Cola's false claims about its own marketing practices. But when Coca-Cola makes these claims, some people, at least, may recognize that these are the self-serving words of a company desperately trying to maintain its access to children. When Marr repeats Coke's lies, she speaks with the authority of both her own expertise and the prestigious Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior."[24]

Animal testing

Coca-Cola ceases funding for animal tests

Coca-cola announced it would no longer be funding animal testing on May 31, 2007. The announcement came days after its rival, PepsiCo; made a similar announcement on May 27th. According to the company's official statement to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA):[25]

"Coke does not conduct animal tests and does not directly fund animal tests on its beverages, and is asking its partners and research organizations to use alternatives to animal testing."[26]

PETA's campaign aimed at Coke and PepsiCo lasted approximately one year.[27]

Funding controversial education organization Teach for America

Coca-Cola Company is among the numerous corporate and right-wing foundation donors to the non-profit education organization Teach for America. Teach for America has received criticism from the Center for Media and Democracy and others as it is "backed by a number of right-wing interests that have bankrolled the conservative push to privatize, voucherize, and generally dismantle free and universal public education in America". [28] The Coca-Cola Foundation (a non-profit Coca Cola organization) donated $50,000 to Teach for America in 2011.[29]

Recent issues & controversies

Coca-Cola Global Issues

World War II Controversy

United States (Coke in Schools)

Coke, national and regional soft drink associations, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, and other business groups have undermined school nutrition policies with lobbying tactics all over the nation.

Kentucky

After three previously unsuccessful attempts to improve the nutritional content of school vending machines, the Kentucky legislature finally passed a bill in March 2005 that removed all soda from elementary schools. Before the bill was passed, Kentucky already required that vending machines remain off until 30 minutes after the last lunch period but the rule was not enforced. And a survey of Kentucky schools found that 44% of elementary schools had vending machines despite Coke's written policy not to sell soda to elementary schools. The bill passed in 2005 was a compromise offered by Coke--allowing schools to continue to sell soda in middle and high schools was the only way the bill would pass. Coke even objected to the phrase "healthy beverages" to replace soda, worried about the implications for its reputation. Coke said they could live with the ban in elementary schools only if the bill did not say "healthy;" they finally agreed on "school-day approved." Dietitian Carolyn Dennis, chair of the Kentucky Action for Healthy Kids Task Force that fought Coke on the soda policy, found that many of the legislators accepted money from the soft drink industry so were unlikely to be on the side of the nutritionists.[30]

Connecticut

Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell vetoed what would have been the nation's strongest school-based nutrition law in June 2005, a bill that would have allowed only water, juice, and milk to be sold during the school day, K-12. In 2004, advocates had attempted to set nutrition guidelines on food and beverages, but lobbying by Coke and PepsiCo gutted the law. Coke hired Patrick Sullivan of Sullivan & LeShane to lobby on its behalf. The political struggle included an eight-hour House debate in which lawmakers engaged in stall tactics and delayed the process by adding unrelated amendments. Coke lobbyists also shared data regarding school income from soda sales with lawmakers behind closed doors so that nutrition advocates could not refute the information. Coke also delivered a well-stocked cooler to the Democratic caucus room just before the House was expected to vote on the bill.

The bill, despite an impressive array of supporters, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association, as well as a survey showing that 70% of Connecticut residents favored the bill, was too much for the governor to sign. Governor Rell argued that nutrition decisions should be made on the local level, despite the fact that many school policies are made at the state and national level. Governor Rell failed to mention that the cofounder of Coke's lobby firm, Patricia LeShane, had served as the governor's campaign advisor.[31]

Executive Compensation

  • Muhtar Kent - Chairman and CEO - $24.8 million in 2010[32]
  • Alexander B. Cummings, Jr. - Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer - $4.8 million in 2009 and $7.2 million in 2008.[33]
  • Gary P. Fayard - Executive Vice President and CFO - $5.8 million in 2009 and $7.1 million in 2008.[34]
  • Irial Finan - Executive Vice President and President, Bottling Investments and Supply Chain - $5.4 million in 2009 and $6.3 million in 2008..[35]
  • Jose Octavio Reyes - President, Latin America Group - $6.6 million in 2009 and $6.4 million in 2008.[36]

Personnel

Board of Directors

As of August 2013, the Board of Directors consists of:[37]

  • Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO
  • Herbert A. Allen
  • Ronald W. Allen
  • Ana Botin
  • Howard G. Buffett
  • Richard M. Daley
  • Barry Diller
  • Helene D. Gayle
  • Evan G. Greenberg
  • Alexis M. Herman
  • Robert A. Kotick
  • Maria Elena Lagomasino
  • Donald F. McHenry
  • Sam Nunn
  • James D. Robinson III
  • Peter V. Ueberroth
  • Jacob Wallenberg

Executive Management

As of August 2013, Coca Cola Company's Executive Management team includes:[38] [39]

  • Ahmet Bozer - President, Coca-Cola International
  • Glenn G. Jordan S. - President, Pacific Group
  • Nathan Kalumbu - President, Eurasia and Africa Group
  • James Quincey - President, Europe Group
  • Steve Cahillane - President, Coca-Cola Americas
  • Katie Bayne - President, North America Brands
  • Brian Smith - President, Latin America Group
  • Glen Walter - President and Chief Operating Officer, Coca-Cola Refreshments
  • Irial Finan - President, Bottling Investments Group
  • Alexander B. Cummings - Chief Administrative Officer
  • J. Alexander M. Douglas Jr. - Global Chief Customer Officer
  • Ceree Eberly - Chief People Officer
  • Gary P. Fayard - Chief Financial Officer
  • Bernhard Goepelt - General Council
  • Javier C. Goizueta - President, McDonalds Division
  • Dominique Reiniche -Chairman, Europe Group
  • Lisa Rogers - Vice President, Global Community Connections
  • Jose Octavio Reyes - Vice Chairman, Coca-Cola Export Corporation
  • Joseph V. Tripodi - Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer
  • Clyde C. Tuggle - Chief Public Affairs and Communications Officer
  • Guy Wollaert - Chief Technical Officer

Annual Revenue

2012[2]
Total Revenue: $48 billion
Gross Operating Profit: $28.9 billion
Total Net Income: $9.08 billion

2011[2]
Total Revenue: $46.5 billion
Gross Operating Profit: $28.3 billion
Total Net Income: $8.6 billion

2010[40]
Total Revenue: $35.2 billion
Gross Operating Profit: $23.9 billion
Total Net Income: $11.9 billion

2009[41]
Total Revenue: $30.99 billion
Gross Operating Profit: $21.1 billion
Total Net Income: $5.8 billion

2008[42]
Total Revenue: $31.9 billion
Gross Operating Profit: $21.8 billion
Total Net Income: $5.8 billion

2007[43]
Total Revenue: $28.9 billion
Gross Operating Profit: $19.6 billion
Total Net Income: $5.9 billion

Other

Contact

Coca Cola Company
One Coca-Cola Plaza
Atlanta, GA 30313

Phone: (404) 676-2121

Web address: http://www.coca-colacompany.com/ [2]

Articles & sources

SourceWatch articles

External resources

Books

External articles

See also Coca-Cola Company: External articles.

References

  1. Coca-Cola Profile, Hoovers, accessed January 2011
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Coca Cola Company, 2012 Annual Report, Company Document, accessed August 21, 2013.
  3. Muhtar Kent profile, Forbes.com, accessed July 8, 2011.
  4. Paul Bedard, Coke caves in face of Democratic boycott threat, Washington Examiner, April 5, 2012
  5. Rebekah Wilce, Breaking News: Coca-Cola Dumps ALEC, PRWatch.org, April 5, 2012
  6. Private Enterprise Board, ALEC website, accessed July 8, 2011.
  7. Don Walker, GOP seeks e-mails of UW-Madison professor, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 25, 2011
  8. Rebekah Wilce, ALEC and Coca-Cola: A "Classic" Collaboration, PRWatch.org, October 12, 2011
  9. Federal Candidates, "Open Secrets.org"
  10. Bush Ranger Barclay T. Resler, Texans for Public Justice, accessed August 2007.
  11. "Political Action Committees", Open Secrets.
  12. Coca-Cola annual lobbying expenses, Open Secrets, accessed January 2011
  13. Coke Grabs Glover Park," O'Dwyer's PR Daily (sub req'd), September 22, 2008
  14. ALEC and Coca-Cola: A Classic Collaboration PR Watch, October 12, 2011, accessed October 21, 2011
  15. Sherri Day "Coke Moves with Caution to Remain in Schools" New York Times (September 30, 2003); Michele Simon Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back(Nation Books, 2006), pg 37
  16. Michele Simon Appetite for Profit pg 122
  17. Michele Simon Appetite for Profit pg 123
  18. Michele Simon Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back (Nation Books, 2006), pgs. 36-37
  19. Michele Simon Appetite for Profit pg 37
  20. Michele Simon Appetite for Profit pg 37
  21. Liz Marr "Soft Drinks, Childhood Overweight and the Role of Nutrition Educators: Let's Base Our Solutions on Reality and Sound Science" Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 2004 Sep-Oct;36(5):258-65.
  22. Michele Simon Appetite for Profit pg 170
  23. Michele Simon Appetite for Profit, pg 170
  24. Josh Golin letter quoted in Michele Simon Appetite for Profit, pg 170
  25. Coca-Cola stops funding animal testing: PETA , Reuters, May 2007
  26. Coca-Cola stops funding animal testing: PETA , Reuters, May 2007
  27. Coca-Cola stops funding animal testing: PETA , Reuters, May 2007
  28. Harriet Rowan, Wisconsin Budget Includes $1 Million Taxpayer Giveaway for Well-Funded Teach for America, PR Watch, June 27, 2013.
  29. Coca Cola Foundation,2011 990 Form, Foundation document, November 13, 2012.
  30. Michele Simon Appetite for Profit pg 230
  31. Michele Simon Appetite for Profit pg 231-233
  32. 2011 Executive PayWatch,"AFLCIO.org
  33. Coca-Cola Co. Executive Compensation,"CompanyPay.com"
  34. Coca-Cola Co. Executive Compensation,"CompanyPay.com"
  35. Coca-Cola Co. Executive Compensation,"CompanyPay.com"
  36. Coca-Cola Co. Executive Compensation,"CompanyPay.com"
  37. Coca Cola Company, Coca Cola Leaders, Company Website, accessed August 21, 2013.
  38. Coca Cola Company, Senior Operations Leadership, Company website, accessed August 21, 2013.
  39. Coca Cola Company, Senior Functional Leadership, Company website, accessed August 21, 2013.
  40. Coca-Cola Annual Financials,"MarketWatch.com"
  41. Coca-Cola Annual Financials,"MarketWatch.com"
  42. Coca-Cola Annual Financials,"MarketWatch.com"
  43. Coca-Cola Annual Financials,"MarketWatch.com"