Respect for human rights is fundamental to operating a sustainable global business. At The Coca-Cola Company, respect for human rights is ingrained in our culture and guides our interactions with employees, bottling partners, suppliers, customers, consumers, and the communities we serve. Our Human Rights Policy and our Supplier Guiding Principles establish a foundation for managing our business around the world.
As a highly visible brand, our actions are often noticed. We aim to set a positive example for how to respect and promote human rights in our business conduct. That means demonstrating through actions, not only words, that we support the very people who support us—from our employees, to those in our supply chain, and our communities.
Leading through Action in Diversity and Inclusion
We strive to be as inclusive and diverse as our brands. Through reporting, leadership, diversity advisory councils, diversity roundtable discussions with associates and Business Resource Groups, we are working to implement and maintain programs that help assure our success in embracing the similarities and differences of people, cultures and ideas.
We’re proud that in 2016, for the 11th consecutive year, we earned 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Corporate Equality Index, and honored to have signed the White House Equal Pay Pledge. Also in 2016, we named Andrew R. Davis, a staunch supporter and implementer of the diversity and inclusion culture his entire career, as our new Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. And, our Global Women’s Leadership Council, one of 11 Diversity Advisory Councils and Business Resource Groups, along with our Board Members, convened three of Coca-Cola’s female directors for an hour-long, wide-ranging personal Q&A session with Coca-Cola employees to share lessons learned from their successes.
“We’re proud that in 2016, for the 11th consecutive year, we earned 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Corporate Equality Index."
Our respect for diversity extends well beyond our walls. In 2016, we spent $631 million with diverse suppliers, contributing to our commitment to spend $1 billion with diverse suppliers by 2020. And, one year ahead of schedule, in 2016, we hired our 5,000th veteran in five years: Marc Wallace, an account manager based in Conroe, Texas.
Respecting Human and Workplace Rights
Respecting and promoting human and workplace rights around the world requires collaboration within our company as well as across the business community. That’s why in 2016 we hosted the 9th Engaging Business Human Rights Conference, sponsored by the United States Council for International Business, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the International Organization of Employers. More than 150 human rights experts, advocates and business leaders from around the world came together at Coca-Cola Headquarters in Atlanta to focus on implementation of the three pillars of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
Another area where we collaborated across industries in 2016 was the world of mega sports. We worked with the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB), NGOs, sports bodies, businesses, government representatives, and others toward development of a Mega-Sporting Events Platform for Human Rights (MSE Platform). The MSE Platform will develop more comprehensive, consistent and accountable approaches to managing social risks and adverse human rights impacts arising from major sporting events.
Addressing Labor and Human Rights Issues
A major part of our work in human and workplace rights is identifying, preventing and mitigating human rights violations. At the end of 2016, 89 percent of Company-owned facilities were compliant with our Human Rights Policy. We modified our reporting standards to be more stringent and this new data-gathering methodology revealed a drop from 98 percent the previous year, however we are fully committed to bring all plants into full compliance and to reach the target of 98 percent compliance by 2020.
In 2016, we facilitated 40 human and workplace rights training programs for our bottlers, suppliers and auditors. We furthered our work to protect migrant workers who may be vulnerable to forced labor in our supply chain by becoming a founding member of the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment; co-chairing the Consumer Goods Forum work stream on the implementation of the Forced Labor Protocol and Priority Principles; inviting Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) to shadow audits and provide constructive feedback on opportunities to progress local dialogue; and partnered with peer companies under AIM-PROGRESS to deliver supplier training on ethical recruitment in Thailand in 2016.
Contributing to the advancement of our longstanding commitment to drive transparency, accountability and sustainability throughout our business and supply chain, we have developed and published nine third-party studies of our top sugar-sourcing countries. These studies address human-rights risks related to child labor, forced labor and land rights in our agricultural supply chain. In 2016, we published a study from Brazil and worked to finalize studies from Cameroon, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire and Gabon.