consumerism environment fair trade food lifestyle social justice waste

Coca Cola

Coca Cola is a world famous company. Its 400 brands and products can be bought in over 200 countries and in India alone it creates more than 150,000 jobs, but the ‘coke side of life’ is not that happy shiny place the adverts would suggest. The coca cola plants in India waste an enormous amount of water, pollute the environment, and destroy communities and livelihoods. During an investigation on a plant in Delhi Sinhachawar the following was discovered:

    – The plant is indiscriminately dumping its sludge, considered to be industrial hazardous waste, across the plant premises, in complete violation of the laws regarding handling and disposal of industrial hazardous waste in India.- The Effluent Treatment Plant was non-operational, and the bottling plant was discharging its wastewater into surrounding agricultural fields and a canal that feeds into the river Ganges.- The plant did not disclose the amount of hazardous waste being used and generated, as required by the Supreme Court of India for all industrial units in India that deal with hazardous waste

This is not the only time this has happened. Coca Cola has been accused of similar wrong doings in many other parts of the country many times. It has been said to also sponsor over-exploitation and pollution of water resources, dangerous child labour in sugar fields in El Salvador (Human Rights Watch) , anti-worker policies (Turkey and Indonesia), and giving executives hundreds of millions of dollars in stock options while laying off thousands of employees. Sublime magazine recently reported that thousands of Indian families have been left without water, because Coca-cola’s water bottling plants have lowered the water tables and run the wells dry – yet another reason to avoid bottled water.

Sources: killercoke; India Resource Centre; Polaris Institute ; CIEPAC ; Human Rights Watch ; Colombia Solidarity

COKE products include: Coca Cola, Fanta, Dr. Pepper, Minute Maid, Oasis, Five Alive, Nestea, Powerade, Burn, Lilt, and Malvern Water.

Watch Mark Thomas’ investigation into Coca Cola here.


  1. I do not compeletly agree with what has been written above. There is no Coke plant in Delhi… there is only one plant in Gaziabad.So I wonder where was this investigation done?? Guys why be so negative in life… Lets luk at positive aspects as well.. Couple of months ago a RWH structure was installed by Coke in my locality in Manas Vihar, which was inaugurated by Shiela Dikshit. It is then I came to know that in Delhi, Coke has installed many similar RWH structures. Just the other day, I read in papers that Coke has installed over 300 RWH structures in 17 states of the country. So I beleive that we need to appreciate good efforts also, rather than just criticising.

  2. I agree with you that its not right to merely focus on the negative aspects however i also think that its not right to focus purely on the positive. Companies will always tell you what they want you to hear, and like wise so will the people being “oppressed”.Different sources will tell you different things. Thank you for your comment, you mentioned aspects I’d not heard before and anyone reading this entry can read your comment as well. We’re just trying to bring to light what is going on so people can make up their own minds.

  3. Sorry, our mistake, the press release was from Delhi, the plant itself is in Sinhachawar. Coke has 8 plants in India, although they operate on a franchise system so they may have other names.
    The reports named here are from India’s Central Pollution Control Board, a local organisation called Get Rid of Coke, and the BBC.
    It is good that Coke is investing in rain water harvesting, but it is always worth asking questions of these initiatives. There were major protests against coke at the world water forum in Mexico last year, and there have been violent protests from local people near the Mehdiganj plant in the past over water supplies. Because of this, focusing on RWH is very good public relations in the Indian market.
    In the UK, coke gets blamed for childhood obesity, and so they spend a lot of money sponsoring sports programs and after school clubs.
    They may do some good along the way, but the primary motive of a company like this is always profit.

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