Political debates take many forms. One version is lobbying: Lobbying is a way for organizations – including NGOs and companies – to ensure that their views get heard, or at least considered. In the United States, political contributions to candidates – those who are running, as well as incumbents – are another way for organizations to participate in the political process. A third way is via trade associations, which lobby on behalf of the companies, organizations, causes and industries they represent. A fourth way is direct advocacy, which is central to policymaking.
Because we have a diverse array of constituencies to serve – customers, distributors, bottlers, small businesses, government, community partners, shareowners and more – we participate in all of these political avenues.
We consider it our duty, and our responsibility, to make our views clear to those who have the potential to impact the laws, regulations and policies that can influence our global business.
Key Advocacy Areas
The list of things we focus on day-to-day is practically endless given the size and scope of our business. However, we have a few top advocacy areas where we often focus our discussions with policymakers in the United States:
- Environmental policy: We work hard to maximize the energy efficiency and minimize the impact of our manufacturing and distribution processes, and actively participate in policy discussions that have the potential to impact these areas. We support public policies that deal fairly with water quality, packaging, agriculture and ingredients, as well as other environmental policies and/or actions that have the potential to impact our business. Packaging waste is a major and growing problem in our world, and we recognize that we have a responsibility to help solve this problem. As part of our World Without Waste vision, in 2018 we announced a bold, ambitious goal: to help collect and recycle the equivalent of 100% of the bottles and cans that we place in the market and make our bottles with 50% recycled content by 2030. We are focusing on collection and recycling because it does not matter how recyclable the packages are if there aren’t the right systems in place to collect and recycle them. We believe every bottle, every can has a value beyond its initial use.
- Health & wellness: As we evolve into a total beverage company, we’re focused on bringing people the drinks they want — including options with less sugar — and providing the information they need to make informed choices for themselves and their families. In the U.S., we now offer more than 800 beverages, including 250 low and no-calorie options. We are looking for ways to make our beverages better and more nutritious – and we are offering a wide variety of beverages to meet consumer needs. We’re providing smaller, more convenient packaged beverages and displaying calorie information on the front of packaging, vending and fountain machines. We do not design marketing communications in a way that directly appeals to children under the age of 12.
- Taxes: Governments should have the tax revenue they need to fund educated, safe, healthy and clean communities – the same communities in which we live and work. And, we can all agree those taxes should be as fair and equitable as possible. That’s why we support low-rated and broad-based consumption taxes, such as sales taxes, as a means for governments to collect revenue. But we continue to oppose taxes that single out beverages. We believe there are more effective ways to address obesity and address the budget needs of governments across the country. When it comes to corporate taxes, The Coca-Cola Company and our affiliates are compliant taxpayers in every country where we operate. We pay significant amounts of taxes, including corporate income taxes, payroll and employment taxes, and various sales and property taxes in more than 200 countries around the world.
Political Engagement Policy
We believe in responsible corporate governance, and participate in the political process to support the needs of our business and customers globally, while keeping with our values, character and long-term mission. For a detailed description of our political activities, including lobbying, PACS and legal compliance, please visit our Political Engagement Policy page.