“The Coca-Cola Company Struggles with Ethical Crises”

717 Words2 Pages

The Coca-Cola Company
For more than a century, the Coca-Cola Company has been a leader in everything from sales, marketing/advertising, and most recently ethical issues. The company has seen its fair share of lawsuits from competitors, employees, and customers alike. In the beginning of 2013, Coca-Cola’s Chairman and CEO, Muhtar Kent, issued a statement that relayed Coca-Cola’s renewed efforts to “be guided by their established standards of corporate governance and ethics.” (Coca-Cola Company, 2013, para. 1) His stance on corporate responsibility, ethics, and compliance while well-laid out, were not always the determining factor of how the company did its business. In 1996, this was all a different story and a somewhat seemingly downward spiral of unethical events began to happen at Coca-Cola.
Contamination Scare
The beginning of Coca Cola’s ethical issues started in 1999 when several hundred people in Europe were sickened after consuming allegedly contaminated Coke products. It took 14 days for then Chairman to take notice and issue statement in response to the problem. And in the response they never actually took responsibility for their actions but addressed the fact their quality was paramount and that it couldn’t be the cause of the possible contamination. Coke passed the blame to just about everyone during this debacle. During this controversy, the main ethical issue was the lack of social responsibility shown by Coca-Cola. They didn’t officially apologize for the alleged contamination issue for seven months. This showed the consumers, especially the EU, that they really didn’t not value or respect the consumers; both affected and unaffected. One of the most effective solutions would be that Coke take on all publicity issue...

... middle of paper ...

...huge changes to their personnel department. Having an outside group is ideal in situations like this, and I would have suggested the same to help them out of this ethical crisis.
In summation, the case study brought to light several ethical issues that Coca Cola improperly handled. By highlighting a few and giving alternate solutions, the aforementioned solutions could have seriously helped maintain Coke’s image.

Works Cited

BusinessWeek. 1999. The Name Coke Now Scares People. Retrieved from http://www.businessweek.com/stories/1999-07-04/the-name-coke-now-scares-people Ferrell, O.C., Ferrell, L., and Fraedrich, J. (2013) Business Ethics: Ethical Decision Making and Cases. Mason, Ohio: South-Western.
Fox News. 2004. Coke, Bottler Settle Antitrust Issue With EU. Retrieved from

More about “The Coca-Cola Company Struggles with Ethical Crises”

Open Document