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 not only through our words but also through our actions that we support the people who support us—our employees, our supply chain partners and our community members.

Elevating Transparency with Human Rights Report

Our commitment to human rights has been steadfast over the years, and our policies and practices align with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. We continuously strive to demonstrate our commitment through our sustainability and community initiatives, as well as our efforts to identify and remedy human rights impacts.

In 2017, we launched our first stand-alone Human Rights Report, which offers a comprehensive picture of our human rights engagement approaches as well as impacts on people and communities. In this report, we discuss 13 salient human rights issues associated with the company’s activities and business relationships as viewed through the lens of “impacts to people.” In support of this work, between 2015 and 2017, we conducted workshops with participants across four continents, involving more than 180 experts, to identify these risks, which are related to safety and health of all workers, equality, child labor, forced labor, land rights, right to privacy and more.

In the report, we identified areas requiring more attention, including access to remedy for workers in our supply chain, protection of human rights defenders, accuracy of data gathering and integration of the UN Guiding Principles across our supply chain. We have been examining and engaging in work toward positively impacting these issues, and we will continue to report on progress.

Addressing Labor and Human Rights Issues

A major part of our work in human and workplace rights relates to identifying, preventing and mitigating human rights violations. At the end of 2017, 87% of our bottling partners and 88% of our direct suppliers achieved compliance with our Supplier Guiding Principles. And 88% of our facilities were compliant with our Human Rights Policy, which we updated in 2017 to align with our salient human rights issues. The updated policy was translated into 22 languages and leadership messages, including a video from our CEO, James Quincey, and shared with associates to reinforce the level of importance Coca-Cola places on human rights. We are dedicated to bringing bottling plants into our target of 98% compliance with our SGP by 2020.

In 2017, we provided 29 human and workplace rights training programs for our bottlers, suppliers and auditors. We also conducted four supplier forums with peer companies and AIM-PROGRESS in Dubai, India, Mexico and Malaysia, and one forum with The Consumer Goods Forum in Thailand to demonstrate industry expectations regarding human rights.

Contributing to the advancement of our longstanding commitment to drive transparency, accountability and sustainability throughout our business and supply chain, we are working to conduct 28 baseline country sugar studies by 2020. The studies focus on child labor, forced labor and land rights related to our sugar supply chain. To date, 15 studies have been completed and published.

Also in 2017, we initiated a study on child labor associated with the recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) collection progress in Mexico and developed an additional audit module to improve due diligence.