Engaging our diverse stakeholders in long-term dialogue provides important input that informs our decision making, and helps us continuously improve and make progress toward our 2020 sustainability goals.

Our Approach: An Ongoing Conversation, Continuous Improvement

We are committed to ongoing stakeholder engagement as a core component of our business and sustainability strategies, our annual reporting process, and our activities around the world. As active members of the communities where we live and work, we want to strengthen the fabric of our communities so that we can prosper together.

We engage with our many stakeholder groups in a variety of formal and informal settings across the entire Coca-Cola system. Our engagements range from meetings with local, regional and national groups to ongoing dialogues with our bottlers, suppliers and consumers. At an international level, we are actively involved in multi-stakeholder initiatives, such as the United Nations Global Compact and the World Economic Forum, so that we can address pressing global challenges. By proactively working together with external stakeholder partners, we are able to identify and address issues by bringing together the expertise, knowledge and passion of many organizations and individuals. This approach helps us achieve far greater positive impact on environmental, social and other issues than by working alone.

How We Engage with Stakeholders

The variety of our stakeholders and the breadth of our reach means we engage in different ways. Below we provide examples of our key stakeholders and the ways in which we engage with them.

  • Bottling partners: day-to-day interaction as business partners, joint projects, joint business planning, functional groups on strategic issues, Top-to-Top senior management forum, Global Environment Council;
  • Consumers: hotlines, local websites, plant tours, research, surveys, social channels, focus groups;
  • Customers: regular visits, dedicated account teams, joint business planning, joint value creation initiatives, customer care centers, social media engagement, surveys;
  • Communities: community meetings, plant visits, partnerships on common issues, sponsorships, lectures at universities;
  • Employees: engagement surveys, senior executive business updates, town hall meetings, employee communications, individual development plans, health and safety communications programs, community and employee well-being projects, ethics hotline;
  • Governments and regulatory authorities: foreign investment advisory councils, recycling and recovery initiatives, chambers of commerce;
  • Non-governmental organizations (NGOs): ongoing dialogue, partnerships on common issues, memberships of business and industry associations;
  • Shareowners and analysts: annual meeting of shareowners, quarterly earnings reports and webcasts, investor presentations and webcasts, quarterly shareowner newsletter, and ongoing dialogue with investors and analysts;
  • Suppliers: joint value creation initiatives, annual supplier conference, Supplier Guiding Principles, packaging associations;
  • Trade groups and industry and policy organizations: industry collaborations, joint value creation initiatives, ongoing dialogue, policy engagement activities. Learn more about:

Engagement Mechanisms and Outcomes

We apply our Golden Triangle partnership approach to stakeholder engagement, spanning the public, private and civil society sectors. We recognize and embrace the idea that the collaborative power of partnerships can achieve much greater collective impact than would be possible by any one organization or sector working in isolation. The Golden Triangle partnership approach is a core part of our business strategy, and can foster sustainable business growth, environmental stewardship and social progress. We highlight examples of our Golden Triangle approach throughout our sustainability report.

Our efforts to protect local water sources can be successful only if they involve collaboration with local stakeholders, including governments, community members, water agencies, NGOs and others. As our bottling partners implement their source water protection plans (SWPPs), they engage local stakeholders and collaborate on solutions that serve local communities and ecosystems as well as our business. Learn more about our featured partnerships and stakeholder engagements around water stewardship.

Related to sustainable agriculture, in 2014 we continued working toward engaging suppliers of all our key ingredients through our new Supplier Engagement Program. It provides a framework consisting of seven stages of improvement toward reaching compliance with our Sustainable Agriculture Guiding Principles (PDF).

We see beneficial synergy between our evolving sustainability reporting and stakeholder engagement processes. Our development of goals and strategies will continue to benefit from collaborative conversations with our stakeholders. Additionally, once our reports are published, we listen carefully to stakeholders’ feedback about where more clarification and explanation are desired within our disclosure topics.

Dialogue with a wide range of external stakeholders is critical to respecting human and workplace rights within our system. Continuous dialogue enables us to identify and address potential issues proactively and collaboratively. Click here for examples of our ongoing engagement in the area of human and workplace rights.

Recent Stakeholder Convenings

We held four stakeholder engagement sessions in Mexico and the United States between September and October 2016 continuing ongoing conversations with a group of diverse stakeholders, including representatives across academic, investor, NGO sectors and beyond. One of the sessions was arranged by Ceres, which we have engaged with for more than a decade on a wide range of sustainability issues, from our sustainability reporting and goals to our water policies and approach to other environmental, social and governance issues.

The primary objective of the coordinated international stakeholder engagement sessions, some of which included bottling partners, was to ensure that our sustainability strategy remains responsive, relevant and on-track. We focused on our 2020 Sustainability Commitments, including strengthening disclosure, tracking progress and identifying areas for improvement. We also focused on opportunity areas beyond 2020, looking ahead to 2030.

After each stakeholder engagement effort, we compile feedback, identify common threads, and seek out ways to improve our sustainability data gathering and reporting processes. After over twenty cumulative hours of feedback from over thirty stakeholders during the 2016 sessions, some of the key themes and recommendations we heard from the multiple stakeholder groups, and our responses are listed below:

STAKEHOLDERS’ REPORTING RECOMMENDATIONS RESPONSE

Sustainability and Business Strategy: Demonstrate the integration of sustainability and business strategy and impact on business, including the connection to Board oversight. Describe how the Board considers issues such as climate and diversity and inclusion, and how these are integrated into discussions on strategy, risk and revenue

For the first time, this year’s report includes a letter from the Board of Directors’ Public Issues and Diversity Committee, which is responsible for reviewing the nature and scope of the Company’s sustainability goals and progress. Additionally, each infographic fact sheet begins with a paragraph that details why that sustainability priority topic is important to our business.

Interconnectivity: Demonstrate the interconnectivity of sustainability issues and efforts. Improve how the interconnections between sustainability issues are addressed in the sustainability report, for example: women's empowerment and diversity; climate change; public health and water; human rights and water. Move towards holistic dialogue on climate change looking at carbon footprint of business broadly.

 

Address interconnected sustainability issues through current sustainability programs. For example, efforts that might fall under one pillar (such as 5by20), could also address water access or human rights, as these issues are linked to women's empowerment and rights.

The 2016 report features a new section, “Points of Intersection”, which aims to connect the dots on where our sustainability efforts intersect. It details how we consider intersections when addressing sustainability issues, such as examining how improvement in one focus area could positively or negatively impact another. It also includes some examples of Coca-Cola sustainability programs where we have made greater sustainability gains through integration.

Geographic Water Reporting: Extend Coca-Cola’s leadership in water resource management to align more closely with local geographic reporting, including a specific focus on water-stressed regions and water quality. Report on water efforts in terms of regions or communities.

A highlight of our reporting this year is our Community Water Projects map which is found in the Water section of this year’s report. This new map shows how Coca-Cola is working to help ensure the long-term availability of water, a critical resource to both local communities and our operations. We highlight the map in the Water section of this year’s report, and readers have access to geographically see where we contribute to 248 community water projects in 2,000 communities and 71 countries, across the following categories: Watershed Protection, Water for Productive Use, Water and Sanitation and Education and Awareness.

Reporting: Evolve to include both the negative and the positive – share what the Company has learned. Addressing challenges or critical feedback communicates an ongoing effort to improve performance and transparency.

We always strive for transparency in our reporting. In this year’s report, the theme is “A Year of Reflection”. As we look back on 2016, it was largely about listening and setting into action Our Way Forward. We reflect on successes and gaps in the report. In addition to highlights of our progress, we have a callout section within Climate (“Experiencing Success and Challenges in Manufacturing”), as well as other mentions throughout of where we have not yet made as much progress as we wanted, including Packaging.

Year-Over-Year Data: Include quantitative, trended performance data in a centralized dashboard. Disclose key ESG performance data in a centralized dashboard, similar to the Company’s 2020 Sustainability Commitment update to provide a snapshot of how the company is performing year-over-year.

Our 2016 report features a single page of data charts to clearly track our progress against our 2020 Sustainability Goals (on page 16 of the pdf report). These charts are also included, as applicable, in the narrative stories on the Coca-Cola Journey website that accompany the 2016 report. Some of the infographic fact sheets also contain charts reflecting progress.

We Want to Hear From You

We set high standards for transparency and exemplary corporate citizenship, and work hard to live up to our stakeholders’ expectations. Comments, suggestions and critiques on our sustainability practices and reporting are welcome. Please send us a message via our virtual agent on the Contact Us page of Coca-Cola Journey.