Sample Management Essays on Coca-Cola Water Neutrality Initiative

Question 1

Essentially, business enterprises cannot operate in isolation, they need the support of customers, suppliers, and community members to survive, and the stakeholders have expectations of corporations. When there is a disparity between business entities and expectations of industry players and main stakeholders, a performance expectation gap exists. In the Coca Cola case, the company failed to fulfill the expectations of its stakeholders (Walsh & Dowding, 2012). Such prompted the litigation sponsored by activists in India against the firm. Coca Cola had operated in India for a long time and its activities had led to the depletion of the local water supply. The corporation channeled water resources for its private use.

In the case, the activists claimed that Coca Cola deliberately contaminated water resources using the pesticide residue it used as an ingredient in its operations. Additionally, the stakeholders noted the persistent water shortages, especially in areas where Coco Cola operated, as evidence of the corporation’s overconsumption of water and failure to replenish it (Walsh & Dowding, 2012). The stakeholders expected Coca Cola to provide safe products, protect the delicate environment, and sustainably use water resources around the company’s plants, which it failed to do. As such, an expectation gap existed between the enterprise and its stakeholders.

Question 2

Corporations rely on environmental analysis and emotional intelligence to understand the nature of their operations and environmental influences. The strategic radar screens model developed by Karl Albrecht is extensively utilized by managers to dissect the influences envisaging geophysical, legal, political, social, technological, economic, and competitor environments. Corporations are expected to protect the environments within which they operate. The geophysical and social environments are significant in the case of Coca Cola.  As activists noted, TCCC failed to protect the physical and social environments around its facilities (Kaur & Aggarwal, 2012). The physical environment and social concerns raised anchored on the excessive use of water by Coco Cola to the extent of depriving the local community drinking and irrigation water. Kerala was one of the most affected areas.

Question 3

TCCC responded appropriately to the public issue. The corporation initiated the water neutrality program. Indeed, Coca Cola took the leadership role in engaging with local communities, World Wildlife Fund, The Nature Conservancy, and scholars to come up with safe practices aimed at protecting the delicate water resources (Kaur & Aggarwal, 2012). The corporation adopted the practice of water recycling, reducing, and replenishing water while implementing efficient production practices. Furthermore, the company agreed to re-design its operations to support cost effective operations that utilize did not need too much water to operate. The efforts were largely successful as evidenced in 2011, when Coca Cola’s water neutrality practices significantly reduced the amount of water that the enterprise consumed.  The entity even attracted global recognition for the efforts it put in place to meet expectations of local stakeholders (reduce the wastage of water and pollution) (Kaur & Aggarwal, 2012). Coca Cola succeeded in regaining its good image thus saved its brand. Indeed, the company discovered the significance of building and sustaining relationships with its myriad stakeholders to prevent conflicts. So far, Coca Cola is committed to supporting the community, sustaining the environment, and its satisfying its customers’ needs.

Part B: The Tobacco Industry

The Context

Banning all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship is one of the common public issues because of the implications of smoking. It is reported that tobacco kills more than six million users annually (Doku, 2010). The tobacco production companies, such as Philip Morris and ITG Brands, usually use the media to reach more clients and maintain sales and profits thus sustain the industry. Per Doku (2010), in its attempt to sell many tobacco products, the industry notoriously uses both direct and indirect approaches to promote tobacco use.  The approaches utilized by the industry are categorized into two. The first is commercial communication in the mainstream media channels like TV and radi0, while the second one is sponsoring different events (Doku, 2010).  The efforts by the tobacco companies increase the likelihood attracting new smokers and prompting the established users to sustain the habit.

Specifically, Philip Morris, Reynolds America, ITG, and Liggett target the youthful individuals who are at the age these companies perceive as appropriate to initiate habitual smoking. In fact, tobacco promotion and sponsorship has encouraged about 25 percent of the youth to experiment tobacco use (Doku, 2010). These companies also target women who are encouraged to smoke as way of reliving stress (Doku, 2010). Indeed, the advertisement approaches used by tobacco companies to promote their products have considerably misled people into thinking that tobacco is not different to other legal goods  hence lured many people into tobacco use. Indeed, about 78 percent of students aged between 13 and 15 are exposed to some form of promotion and sponsorship supported by the tobacco companies (Fooks et al., 2011). Besides, about 31 percent of adults are also exposed to promotion and sponsorship initiatives spearheaded by the tobacco industry (Fooks et al., 2011). As a result, the social acceptance of tobacco and its use has grown making it difficult to educate the youth about the harmful effects of smoking tobacco products thus the habit has become widespread. The major primary and secondary stakeholders include tobacco farmers, cigarette producers, smokers, business people, and government. Tobacco farmers plant and supply the raw tobacco product to companies. Firms then take the raw products through the manufacturing process to come up with cigarettes, while smokers consume the product. The business people rely on sale of the products to derive profits for business continuity. Lastly, the government’s role is to regulate the industry by creating awareness and imposing high taxes and penalties on tobacco products.

What does it Mean to My Family?

I believe that sustained promotion and sponsorship programs intentionally used by tobacco companies directly affect family units, including mine. For instance, smoking exposes children to second hand smoking thus the risk of developing hearing problems, asthma, coughing, and shortness of breath (Fooks et al., 2011). Moreover, if the older members of my family smoke, the children are likely to become smokers in future. Although none of my family members have developed any health issues related to smoking, such as cancer and heart condition, I fear that they if they continue smoking. For that reason, I strongly advocate for the ban of promotion and sponsorship programs initiated by tobacco companies and even the total ban on the habit to protect the non-smokers from secondhand smoke. Additionally, as a stakeholder in the matter, I create awareness in my community and family on the dangers of smoking. My intention is to discourage my friends and family from purchasing and using tobacco products. If every member of the community plays his or her role in the mentioned matter, the demand and supply of tobacco products would reduce, and in the process people would be protected from the harmful effects of tobacco smoking. Fooks et al. (2011) assert that comprehensive promotion and sponsorship bans reduce the number of people adopting smoking. In addition, the ban counteracts the deception about tobacco use and reduces the exposure of young people to early smoking habit.

My position regarding supporting the ban on promotion and sponsorship is influenced by the biases and perspectives around tobacco advertisements. The tobacco companies have gone on a spending spree to promote their products to the extent of outperforming each other. The companies are biased in the way they advertise the product because they make it seem fun and fail to emphasize the dangers of smoking. For example, when these firms sponsor sporting events, Formula One, they present smoking as fun and for competitive, high-achieving people yet chances are the athletes do not smoke or even approve of the habit. Fooks et al. (2011) state that the youth and non-smokers are the major targets of sustained promotion and sponsorship by the respective tobacco companies in their bid to increase their customer base. These corporations even support households within the neighborhoods. Indeed, the firms abuse corporate social responsibility to reach families. Such actions encourage the onset of smoking at a younger age because it is the young people who are mostly drawn to high-energy sports, thus condemn the youth to years of smoking.  Since people are usually easily influenced during that age, those who buy into the idea of smoking may end up convincing their friends to start smoking. The longer they smoke, the higher their chances for acquiring smoking-related conditions are. Even though parental tobacco use is not as compelling as peer pressure, it is appropriate for parents to exert positive influence by not smoking and disapproving the habit (Fooks et al., 2011). Generally, I believe that the best approach to discouraging smoking is banning its advertising and use to seal all the loop holes that allow the habit to persist.

What does this Mean to My Company?

As a tobacco industry executive, I strongly opposed the ban on smoking and instead propose that the issue be managed to satisfy the needs of the stakeholders. Indeed, firms spend a lot annually to market their products. For example, in 2016, the tobacco companies spent more than 9.5 billion to advertise, promote, and sponsor events (Farrelly et al., 2017). While I understand that advertising can influence people to start smoking, my corporation displays warnings conspicuously on cigarette packets and at the end of advertisements. Therefore, those who choose to buy the company’s products do so knowing the potential negative consequences of smoking.

The natural consequence of implementing ban is a considerable decline in smoking. I assert that the ban on promotion and sponsorship programs supported by tobacco companies adversely affect the industry. As a company, we are aware that bans are directly affecting our local and global business. It is because of the ban that we are considering moving to other countries that have not imposed a ban on our marketing initiates. Farrelly et al. (2017) also warn that ban on promotional activities is likely to lead to dramatic decline in tobacco awareness and subsequently reduce consumption, sales and profits in developed countries.  As a result, we have largely targeted developing and less developed countries that do not provide lucrative revenue streams. Therefore, we have to contend with lost revenues. Lost revenues also directly affect the jobs the industry offers to the people (White, 2014). As such, many people are likely to lose their jobs as we adjust operations to enhance sustainability. Moreover, the government is also poised to lose most of the revenues that directly depend on taxes.

In fact, banning promotion and sponsorship is directly affecting how my company expands internationally. We are finding it difficult to establish new businesses in developed countries meaning that we only left poor nations. In my view, our internationalization plans are in jeopardy because the ban has deprived our companies of funds meant for international expansion. Therefore, I believe company executives are directly affected by the public issue. In essence, the public issue is a great concern to my industry because the reduction in per capita consumption implies lost revenue.

What does this mean to my country?

The country is directly affected by the ban on promotion and sponsorship. The tobacco industry generates bulk of the jobs to the country estimated at 48,800 across 21 states and supporting 136,000 farmers across 23 states (Farrelly et al., 2017). In the past decade, due to the ban many people in the manufacturing and farming sectors have lost their jobs as the demand and consumption of tobacco and its products decline. The government has to contend with unemployment as demonstrated by tobacco farmers who have called on the government to help them diversify in other regions now that tobacco sales are dwindling.

In reality, the ban on tobacco directly improves the health of people. Doku (2010) asserts that not only does smoking wreck havoc in physical health, it also damages the country’s fiscal health. Tobacco has been a sizeable liability to the government that spends a lot to improve the health and wellbeing of its people (Farrelly et al., 2017). The ban is essential in reducing the health costs and burden posed by the health risks and diseases associated with smoking. Most societies allocate considerable amount of funds to treat people made ill by smoking and utilization of other tobacco products. It is only reasonably for the government to put in place policies that reduce smoking so that the country can devote these funds to other health and social welfare programs.

Media Impact

Many young people across the states are aware that smoking is unhealthy but still go ahead and smoke. The media is largely to blame for persistent smoking. Tobacco companies have spent billions of dollars annually to promote their products in magazines, radio, television, and online (Davis et al., 2012). The media broadcast often show smokers as healthy people, energy, sexy, and successful in life. The younger generation is then convinced that smoking is indeed classical and they are attempted to adopt the practice. Moreover, the media portrays smoking as fun and glamorous thereby encouraging g non-smokers to start smoking. There is an increased tendency by people to adopt smoking ass they see nothing wrong because some of the people they watch smoking are among the world’s successful individuals. Hence, the communication about tobacco use carried by the media is dominated by three themes: providing satisfaction, reduce anxieties, and creating a link between smoking independence and social success. In addition, the tobacco industry has targeted people through movies where specific are devoted for smoking, actors are often seen smoking in those scenes. The scenes depicted promote the idea that many people smoke but fail to show the negative consequences of smoking like difficulty in breathing, cancer, and death from chronic diseases.

In essence, the media can also have positive impacts in the fight against smoking. It is reported that more than 1.7 billion people have been exposed to at least one anti-tobacco media campaign (Davis et al., 2012). Therefore, the hard-hitting anti-tobacco messages and health warnings can protect the young and vulnerable members of the population to quit smoking. The pictorial health warnings have worked well in Brazil and Canada to create awareness of the potential negative effects of smoking to the physical, mental, and economic wellbeing (Davis et al., 2012). The media can also reduce the demand for tobacco products and protect the non-smokers from any avenue and opportunity likely to convince them to smoke. There are broad arrays of media channels that reach even the most remote parts of the world with messages Davis et al., 2012). Hence, the media needs to play its ethical role of warning the public about the dangers of smoking and not succumb to the financial resources wielded by the tobacco industry.



Davis, K., Farrelly, M., Duke, J., Kelly, L. & Willett, J. (2012). Antismoking media campaign and smoking cessation outcomes, New York State, 2003-2009. Preventing Chronic Disease, 9, E40.

Doku, D. (2010). The tobacco industry tactics-a challenge for tobacco control in low and middle income countries. African Health Sciences, 10(2), 201–203.

Farrelly, M., Duke, J., Nonnemaker, J., MacMonegle, A., Alexander, T., Zhao, X. & Allen, J. (2017). Association between the real cost media campaign and smoking initiation among youths – United States, 2014-2016. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 66(2), 47–50.

Fooks, G., Gilmore, A., Smith, K., Collin, J., Holden, C. & Lee, K. (2011). Corporate social responsibility and access to policy élites: an analysis of tobacco industry documents. PLoS Medicine, 8(8), e1001076.

Kaur, H. & Aggarwal, G. (2012). A paradox on corporate social responsibility: Case study on Coca Cola. International Journal of Physical and Social Sciences, 2(9), 264-274.

Walsh, H. & Dowding, T. (2012). Sustainability and the Coca-Cola Company: The global water crisis and Coca-Cola’s business case for water stewardship. International Journal of Business Insights & Transformation, 4, 106-118.

White, A. (2004). Controlling big Tobacco: The winning campaign for a global Tobacco control treaty. Multinational Monitor, 25(1):13–16.