Coca-Cola Sustainability Review Omits India
For Immediate Release
October 28, 2008
Amit Srivastava, India Resource Center +1 415 336 7584
San Francisco (October 28, 2008): The Coca-Cola company released its
2007/2008 Sustainability Review yesterday, and surprisingly, critical
issues facing the company's operations in India do not find mention
in the review.
The Coca-Cola company gives itself high marks in its sustainability
report which covers areas such as the workplace, environment and community
However, the omission of the issues facing the company in India -
various community campaigns accusing the company of creating water
shortages and pollution - raise the question whether Coca-Cola's sustainability
report is an attempt to manufacture a green image of itself rather
than actually addressing the critical challenges facing the company's
"The media, the corporate social responsibility movement and everyone
concerned with transparency and good corporate practices needs to
take a good look at Coca-Cola's Sustainability Review. What kind of
a review has Coca-Cola conducted by conveniently forgetting to mention
its ongoing trouble spots where its operations are hugely unsustainable?
This is an attempt by the company, once again, to mislead the public,"
said Amit Srivastava of the India Resource Center, an international
campaigning organization that works with the campaigns in India.
The omission of issues in India is particularly glaring given that
a Coca-Cola company funded study, released in early 2008, highlighted
severe shortcomings in the company's water management and pollution
prevention practices in India, and questioned the sustainability of
the company's operations in India.
The Coca-Cola company was forced to agree to an assessment of its
operations in India, the result of a sustained student campaign in
the US. The assessment was conducted by the Energy and Resources Institute
(TERI) and some of the key findings included:
In response to the growing criticism of its operations in India, the
company has already announced that they will become water neutral
in India by 2009. However, in the Sustainability Review, the company
states that "we do not yet have a date for when we hope to attain
water neutrality as a Company."
"Coca-Cola has jumped on this opportunity because the term water neutral
has tremendous marketing opportunities and the potential to deflect
attention away from the water crisis that the company is a significant
part of. No matter that scientifically speaking, it is impossible
to be water neutral," said Amit Srivastava.
"We are watching Coca-Cola's operations closely in India to see just
how they become water neutral by 2009."
For more information, visit www.IndiaResource.org
- A key recommendation that the Coca-Cola company shut down its bottling
plant in Kala Dera because "the plant's operations in this area would
continue to be one of the contributors to a worsening water situation
and a source of stress to the communities around."
- Coca-Cola did not respect the rights of farmers and groundwater
conditions, and that it had located its plants in India from a "business
continuity" perspective without due consideration to community impacts.
- Coca-Cola did not meet the company's own waste management standards
at all the plants surveyed.
- Shortcomings in the effluent discharge in four of the six plants
assessed and concluded that Coca-Cola plants do not have adequate
pollution prevention measures.
- Increased pollution in the immediate vicinity of Coca-Cola bottling
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