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Human and Workplace Rights

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Human Workplace Rights


Our commitment to respecting human rights is fundamental to our 2020 Vision and our ability to operate a successful global enterprise.

At The Coca-Cola Company, respect for human and workplace rights is engrained in our culture and guides our interactions with bottling partners, suppliers, customers, consumers, employees and the communities we serve.  Our Human Rights Policy, along with our Supplier Guiding Principles, establishes a foundation for managing our business around the world in accordance with our commitment to respect human rights. 

In 2011, The Coca-Cola Company formally endorsed the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, adopted by UN Human Rights Council in 2011. We have and continue to implement all three of the components that must be put in place in a corporate context under the Principles:

  • A policy commitment to meet the responsibility to respect human rights;
  • A due diligence process to identify, prevent, mitigate and be accountable for human rights abuses; and
  • Processes to enable the remediation of any adverse human rights impacts the Company causes or to which it contributes.

This framework is a key touchstone for our policies and programs related to workplace and human rights.  We expect our Company, bottling partners and suppliers to avoid causing, or contributing to, adverse human rights impacts as a result of business actions. Furthermore, our Company, bottling partners and suppliers are responsible for preventing or mitigating adverse human rights impacts directly linked to their operations, products or services by their business relationships.

We are continually advancing our respect for human rights.  Here is an overview of our journey over the last 10 years:

  • Starting in 2005, we worked to support the mandate of Professor John Ruggie, the former UN Special Representative for Business and Human Rights, in development of a framework for respecting human rights in a business context. 
  • In 2007, The Coca-Cola Company joined the Business Leaders Initiative on Human Rights (BLIHR), a network of 11 multinational companies focused on identifying practical ways of applying human rights principles within the business context.
  • In 2008 we hosted our first Human Rights Conference on Forced Labor.  The conference, now an annual forum, was sponsored by the United States Council for International Business, International Organization of Employers and the Chamber of Commerce and in collaboration with the International Labor Organization.  The annual conference brings together representatives from business, civil society and government sectors to discuss important human rights topics.  Addressing Forced Labor (2008)
  • In 2009, we became a founding member of the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights (GBIHR), a business-led project that aims to bring more companies in emerging markets into the dialogue on human rights in business.
  • Our 2nd annual Human Rights Conference was focused on Addressing Child Labor (2009)
  • Also in 2009, we asked the Danish Institute for Human Rights to conduct a human rights gap analysis of all of our global policies which resulted in an update of our human rights training, manager guidance and messages from our Chairman and CEO and our Chief People Officer on the corporate responsibility to all respect human rights.
  • In 2010 our Human Rights Conference was dedicated to the Protect, Respect, Remedy framework and featured John Ruggie as a speaker. Addressing Respect for Human Rights (2010)
  • In 2011, we updated our Manager's Guide on Implementing the Workplace Rights Policy, adding new guidance regarding hate speech, indigenous peoples land rights and other human rights issues.
  • In addition, we joined 17 companies in launching the UN Global Compact LEAD program in 2011, which challenges Compact members to achieve a blueprint for sustainable corporate responsibility.
  • Also in 2011, we were the first company to participate in an assessment as part of an International Labor Organization (ILO) and International Organization of Employers (IOE) project to provide guidance for companies on how to help eliminate child labor in their operations and throughout their supply chains.
  • In 2011 our Human Rights Conference built upon our previous conference to focus on Implementing the Guiding Principles in practice. Implementing Respect for Human Rights (2011)
  • In 2012, we expanded our Global / Local Strategy to address Child Labor in Agriculture, incorporating input from the ILO / IOE project.
  • In 2012, we participated in a collaborative session with five other multinational companies organized by Shift on the topic of "Embedding Respect for Human Rights within a Company's Operations."
  • In 2012, we became a founding company of the Global Business Coalition Against Human Trafficking (gBCAT), a coalition of companies from diverse industries dedicated to the eradication of human trafficking in all its forms.
  • In 2012, we upgraded our Supplier Guiding Principles to encompass all Human Rights.
  • Also in 2012, we launched our Global Mutual Respect Policy and in 2013 we launched corresponding training for all employees on “Building an Environment of Respect.”
  • In 2012 our Human Rights Conference looked at the Addressing Human Trafficking in Labor Sourcing (2012)
  • In 2012, we piloted a program called “Pass it Back” and began to integrate respect for human rights and protection of workplace rights across our supply chain.  The aim of the program is to share our knowledge and best practices related to human and workplace rights with key suppliers and then work with them to “pass it back” across their supply chains, sharing what they've learned with their own suppliers
  • In 2013, prior to re-entering Myanmar, we conducted the most comprehensive human rights due diligence process in our recent history to ensure that human rights are respected as we began production at two bottling plants in the country – the beginning of $200 million in investments planned over the next five years that we estimate will create more than 22,000 job opportunities.  Our due diligence process included, among many other aspects, extensive local stakeholder engagement and a thorough review of human rights issues in the bottling plants we acquired, in the local supply chain and throughout the country as a whole.  Read the full report posted on the US State Department website.
  • The Human Rights Conference focused on Addressing the Hard Issues: Myanmar, Human Trafficking, Conflict Minerals, Supply Chain, Guiding Principles Best Practice (2013) 
  • In 2013, we completed development of several human rights-related due diligence checklists for use across our Company. These easy-to-use, two-page checklists cover such topics as migrant labor, child labor and plant siting,  and offer clear steps managers can take immediately—not only to comply with our policies, but also to integrate an ongoing and reflexive respect for human and workplace for use across our Company. These easy-to-use, two-page checklists cover such topics as migrant labor, child labor and plant siting,  and offer clear steps managers can take immediately—not only to comply with our policies, but also to integrate an ongoing and reflexive respect for human and workplace for use across our Company. These easy-to-use, two-page checklists cover such topics as migrant labor, child labor and plant siting,  and offer clear steps managers can take immediately—not only to comply with our policies, but also to integrate an ongoing and reflexive respect for human and workplace
  • In 2013, we became an early company member of the UN Global Compact Child Labour Platform, focused on an exchange of experience, particularly in supply chains, and the identification of good practices and multistakeholder approaches to eliminate child labor.
  • In 2014 the Human Rights Conference focused on Integrating Human Rights into business practices.  The forum attracted more than 170 participants and was held at the new National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta. 2014 Engaging Business: Integrating Respect for Human Rights in Business
  • On Human Rights Day 2014, the Company announced its updated Human Rights Policy.  The updated policy combined our 2007 Human Rights Statement, 2007 Workplace Rights Policy and 2012 Global Mutual Respect Policy into a single, straightforward policy document.

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