We consider human and workplace rights—as articulated in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labour Organization's Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work—to be inviolable. We take a proactive approach to respecting these rights in every workplace of The Coca-Cola Company, in our bottling system, in our supply chain and in the communities in which we operate.

Where human rights issues are identified in our global value chain, we work diligently to address them as documented by the Danish Institute for Human Rights' Arc of Human Rights Priorities
 publication. Examples of these are listed below.

Land Rights | Child Labor | Hours of Work | Contract Labor
Workplace Safety | Forced Labor and Human Trafficking  

Land Rights

While our company does not typically purchase ingredients directly from farms, nor are we owners of sugar farms or plantations, we acknowledge that as a major buyer of several agricultural ingredients, we have a responsibility to take action and use our influence to help protect the land rights of local communities. We are committed to being part of a solution in addressing land rights issues in our supply chain. In November 2013, our Company announced a set of industry-leading commitments to protect the land rights of farmers and communities in the world’s top sugarcane-producing regions and to advance our ongoing efforts to drive transparency and accountability across our global supply chain. The commitments build on the company's Sustainable Agriculture Guiding Principles announced in July of 2013.

Our commitments include zero tolerance for land grabs, adherence to the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent, and disclosure of the top three countries and suppliers of cane sugar.  In addition, we have a strategy and action plan in place that includes conducting human rights due diligence studies focused on forced and migrant labor, child labor and land rights issues in a number of  key countries.   The human rights due diligence studies are being conducted by third-party research and auditing firms and involve extensive local stakeholder engagement in each country. The results of the studies will give us a factual basis to engage with industry, government and NGOs to mitigate human rights impacts, as needed. 

Related Links

Country Studies

Child Labor

Our Human Rights Policy and Supplier Guiding Principles prohibit the use of child labor. While there is no child labor in our Company-owned operations, we are aware that child labor persists deep in supply chains, for instance at the farm level.  Our Company does not typically purchase ingredients, such as sugar, directly from farms, nor are we owners of sugar farms or plantations, but as a major buyer of sugar and other agricultural ingredients, we are taking action and using our influence to help end child labor in sugar cane fields.

Our approach is both global and local. At the global level, we set corporate policy, convene experts, and engage with governments, NGOs and other companies. At the same time, we collaborate with suppliers, industry groups and local stakeholders to address the issue with farmers. In recent years, we have joined collaborative efforts in El Salvador that have dramatically reduced child labor in cane fields. We are also taking action in Honduras, Mexico, the Philippines, Bolivia, the Dominican Republic and 14 other countries. Recent developments:

As part of our Little Red Schoolhouse project, we continued our work with the ILO-IPEC director for the Philippines, the government of Bukidnon province and the Sugar Industry Foundation to eliminate child labor in Bukidnon and enroll child laborers in schools Since 1997, the Little Red Schoolhouse project has built over 82 buildings benefitting nearly 51,000 public schoolchildren in remote areas of the Philippines.

We collaborated with ILO-IPEC Mexico to design and distribute a training guide discouraging the use of child labor among sugar farmers while encouraging more efficient farming practices. We also facilitated ILO-IPEC's access to several farms supplying two of our authorized sugar refineries, enabling ILO-IPEC staff to conduct appropriate interventions to address child labor.

In 2013, we completed our second round of funding to Save the Children Honduras to raise community awareness and support the Honduran Sugar Producers Association's continued efforts to reduce hazardous child labor.

As noted in the Land Rights section above, we have a strategy and action plan in place that includes conducting human rights due diligence studies focused on forced and migrant labor, child labor and land rights issues in a number of key countries.   The human rights due diligence studies are being conducted by third-party research and auditing firms and involve extensive local stakeholder engagement in each country.

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is among the many stakeholders that the Company collaborates with on the studies.  As part of a Collaborative Agreement, the AFT has agreed to identify local stakeholders in specific countries with expertise in education and/or addressing child labor.  The AFT has also agreed to collaborate on approaches to the remediation of child labor (when it is identified) and the advancement of school attendance, including engaging with a broader group of stakeholders, as needed.  

The results of the baseline studies will give us a factual basis to further engage with industry, government and NGOs to mitigate human rights impacts, as needed.  (See Land Rights section for more detail.)

Reducing Child Labor and Forced Labor Tool Kit
Related Links

Country Studies

Hours of Work

Compliance with local work hours and overtime laws is a fundamental component of our Human Rights Policy and Supplier Guiding Principles. Reducing overtime can increase employee morale and decrease quality incidents thereby improving business results and fostering a Great Place to Work. To help our bottlers and supply partners manage this issue we seek to understand the root cause and help identify solutions which can be provide win-win opportunities. In a number of countries we carefully tracked overtime to identify causes and then developed a guidance document to provide facilities with practical strategies to reduce overtime as well as real case studies to demonstrate that success is possible.

Related Links
    •    Hours of Work Guidance

Contract Labor

Our Company and bottling partners, like many businesses, employ contract and agency labor. There are many legitimate uses of contract labor, and we expect contract workers, through third-party providers, to continue to play an important role in our business. Through enhancements to our Supplier Guiding Principles assessments in 2012 our Company is holding more contract and agency labor suppliers accountable for the ethical treatment of these workers.

Our commitment to human and workplace rights, as well as our commitment to operating a sustainable business, compels us to respect the rights of all workers, including those not directly employed by our Company or bottling partners. We expect our personnel and our bottling partners to understand the risks associated with contract labor and to carefully manage the labor agencies engaged. We also expect them to provide training, a safe work environment and to avoid using termination practices that circumvent legal obligations.

We take a number of steps to ensure responsible engagement of the contract and agency workers we employ, including:

  • Our Human Rights Policy and Supplier Guiding Principles outline our commitments and expectations for treatment of all workers. Any allegation of worker abuse-including abuse of contract laborers-is a very serious issue that we fully investigate.
  • We conduct continuous assessments of our operations and of key authorized contract labor suppliers to ensure the responsible treatment of contract laborers.
  • We engage with key stakeholders to understand their perspective regarding potential abuse of contract workers. The subject of contract and agency labor is a standing agenda item for our semiannual meetings with the IUF. Through these meetings, we have successfully addressed a number of concerns regarding contract workers in India, Pakistan and the Philippines.
  • We provide our largest bottling partners with contract labor risk-mitigation checklists and other tools to help them manage contract labor appropriately.

Related Links

Workplace Safety 

Every worker has a fundamental right to a safe and healthy workplace. Our Human Rights Policy demands we take responsibility for maintaining a productive workplace by working to minimize the risk of accidents, injury and exposure to health risks for all of our associates and contractors.

Details of our Workplace Safety Record are included in the Workplace Safety section of our current Sustainability Report. Following are key points

  • The Coca-Cola Operating Requirements (KORE) define the policies, standards and requirements for managing safety, the environment and quality throughout our operations.
  • To guide us in achieving a safe work environment for our associates, KORE defines a rigorous set of operational controls to manage known risks.
  • The controls generally align with top global requirements and consensus standards. In addition, we engage recognized external audit firms to assess the compliance of each of our manufacturing operations with applicable laws and regulations and our Company occupational safety and health requirements.
  • We provide substantial safety training to our associates using the training requirements defined in KORE as a global baseline. Training covers new hire induction and periodic refresher training for all associates and other workers conducting work on our behalf. In 2012 and 2013, we launched or enhanced several platforms to increase safety capabilities across our system, including:
    • A “Safety and Environment Successful Solutions” portal, which provides a common online location where safety leaders can create and share successful safety practices from across the system.
    • A monthly online training series geared especially toward safety and environmental professionals and available to all Coca-Cola system associates.

Forced Labor and Human Trafficking

Our Human Rights Policy and Supplier Guiding Principles expressly prohibit the use of all forms of forced labor, including prison labor, indentured labor, bonded labor, military labor, slave labor and human trafficking.

Our California Transparency in Supply Chains Act and UK Modern Slavery Act disclosures outline our efforts to combat forced labor and human trafficking in Company operations and the supply chain.