Sample Business Paper on Establishing a Culture of Sound Business Ethics: Case of Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola is a leading multinational beverage company that was founded by an Atlanta pharmacist, Dr. John Pemberton. Over the years, the company has expanded operations and established businesses in over 200 countries globally. As of December 2019, 86,200 employees worked for Coca-Cola Company, making it among the top private employers worldwide. It produces non-alcoholic beverages, including mineral water and soft drinks like Coca-Cola, Sprite, and Fanta. With this product portfolio, the company has built a strong brand and customer loyalty. The powerful brand name gives the company a competitive advantage hence its products are consumed more compared to competitors like Pepsi.

However, as the company grows, there is pressure to produce products that promote the wellbeing of the consumers. For example, research findings have established an ethical dilemma regarding the production and distribution of Coca-Cola products. As Flynn & Okuonzi (2016) notes, the ethical dilemma linked with Coca-Cola is the health disorders associated with the consumption of its products such as obesity and diabetes. These health complications are caused by the high concentration of sugar content and caloric in soft drinks. Moreover, the high amount of bromate in Coca-Cola bottled water puts consumers at a higher risk of contracting cancer.

Different consumers both from the United States and beyond hold different perceptions regarding the Coca-Cola brand. Most of the consumers believe that Coca-Cola products are of high quality and are suitable for consumption. One of the reasons that they believe so is due to the good taste, coupled with the refreshing ability, especially during the sunny season. These two features drive consumers into buying Coca-Cola products more often. On the contrary, the minority believe that Coca-Cola products are unhealthy and unsuitable for consumption due to the high levels of sugar and caloric content (Flynn & Okuonzi, 2016). Further, increased knowledge about consumer rights and health information causes some consumers to refrain from consuming Coca-Cola products. They remain sensitive to the adverse impacts that these products might pose to their overall wellbeing.

This issue of negative ethical implications linked with the company’s products has triggered intense social responsibility campaigns, integrity, and ethical business practices. According to Young and Nestle (2012), Coca-Cola is focusing more on educating its consumers on the various ways of burning calories and sugar content found in its products. For instance, it is encouraging consumers to exercise more in order to burn calories and sugar content in their beverages. Furthermore, the company is shifting to a modern production process that promotes the manufacturing of bromate-free bottled water. Instead of treating tap water, the company has embarked on sourcing water from natural springs. These initiatives are in line with Coca-Cola’s social responsibility campaign, integrity, and ethical business practices.

One of the primary methods in which Coca-Cola can install a culture of ethics in the marketing department is to apply the persuasive style of advertising. The organizational leadership should educate the marketing department about the need for using persuasive yet convincing language that portrays the benefits of Coca-Cola products (Young & Nestle, 2012). Active and persuasive advertising would minimize the misconceptions that some consumers have about the company’s products while also promoting ethical business practices. The adverts should also include ingredient labeling to ensure that consumers are aware of the kind of ingredients used in production and their proportions.

 

References

Flynn, A., & Okuonzi, S. A. (2016). Coca-Cola’s multifaceted threat to global public health. The Lancet, 387(10013), 25.

Young, L. R., & Nestle, M. (2012). Reducing portion sizes to prevent obesity: a call to action. American journal of preventive medicine, 43(5), 565-568.