Corporate social responsibility simply denoted as CSR concerns itself with enhancing responsibility for the actions of the firm as well as embracing the right practices when it comes to impacts on a firm’s environment, communities, employees as well as any other stakeholder group. the term and its application has been around for quite a while and with that in mind, the relevance of corporate social responsibility is deemed to continue being well defined going forward. In this text, in the context of corporate social responsibility, I concern myself with Coca Cola and Pepsi.
Coca Cola and Pepsi CSR: an analysis of focus areas
Over time, both Coca Cola and Pepsi have shown special interest in a number of CSR undertakings. While some CSR initiatives under both Coca Cola and Pepsi are substantially identical, some differ in both their scope and coverage. Some of the projects Coca Cola and Pepsi sponsor under their CSR banners as can be gleaned from their websites include combating climate change. Pepsi was among the first to purchase the renewable energy certificates and this was closely followed by coca cola’s purchase of the same.
Further, according to data available at its website, Pepsi plans to buy about 1.1 billion renewable energy kilowatt-hours in the coming three years as it attempts to put forward its agenda of environmental sustainability. Pepsi is also keen on improving the wellbeing of its employees not only in their private capacities but also as far as their families are concerned. Pepsi’s website also notes that apart from the enhancing environmental practices that are relatively sound, Pepsi also gives back to the community which it claims to hold in high regard as the community constitutes the place where the company gets its resources as well as markets its wide range of products.
On the other hand, Coca Cola has also been at the forefront as far as environmental sustainability is concerned though the approach taken here is significantly different from the approach taken by Pepsi. Through its website, Coca Cola is keen to start a program that shall see the water used in its beverages replaced. This shall be through; bringing down the liters of water used in the process of manufacturing beverages, water recycling and enhancement of support to all those projects that are concerned with water conservation from around the globe. In the past, Coca Cola has also engaged in a number of projects aimed at enhancing its CSR undertakings most particularly in environmental sustainability. For instance, Coca Cola is a member of Greenhouse Gas register and over time, the company has made enviable gain in the adoption of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol.
In its website, the Coca Cola Company notes that as part of its corporate social responsibility, it partners with like minded individuals, governments as well as other organizations and agencies to fuel economies at the local level as well as to improve lives through a number of targeted undertakings. Further, the company note that apart from embracing measures aimed at protecting the environment, t also goes ahead o enhance the advancement of corporate rights of its employees as part of its corporate social responsibility mandate. Indeed, the company points out that it has a workplace rights policy that is geared towards ensuring that its associates from all over the world and who number close to 75,000 are handled with dignity and given fair tratement.
Activities of Coca Cola and Pepsi in regard to Corporate Social Responsibility
When its comes to the services as well as activities of both Coca Cola and Pepsi in regard to Corporate Social Responsibility, it is important to note that analysts and observers have over time voiced their opinions touching on the relevance of these efforts or otherwise. To begin with, though Coca Cola has been lauded for some of its social responsibility efforts including but not in any way limited to scholarships advanced to top performers from poor backgrounds most specifically in Africa; the company has received its fair share of blame and criticism from those who see some of its actions as irresponsible. For instance, a while ago, Coca Cola was heavily criticized in India for allegedly depleting ground water resources.
Most of this criticism came from environmental experts as well as a cross-section of activists who claimed that Coca Cola was largely behaving as an irresponsible corporate citizen by not having the well being of the communities mostly around its bottling plants at heart. Further, Coca Cola was at the same time accused of dumping toxic wastes inappropriately and it total disregard to the norms and regulations governing dumping of such wastes. It the depletion of ground water charge, farmers who had farms near the company’s bottling plant were up in arms as their agricultural activities went on being impacted negatively.
When it comes to Pepsi, though its CSR activities revolving around environmental sustainability have been well received, the company has also received its share of criticism when it comes to CSR. According to, some undertakings of Pepsi which have been branded as CSR activities are simply marketing and publicity stunts. Amol Mehra cites the Refresh Everything campaign by Pepsi as a classic case of CSR marketing because in his own opinion, they do not touch base with the company’s practices when it comes to production, bottling as well as sourcing.
Matching the activities of the companies with what is advocated in their websites
In my own informed opinion, while both companies have acted as responsible corporate citizens based on what they are doing in their field with what is postulated in their company website, there still exists some areas where much more needs to be done so as to align the CSR postulations with what takes place on the ground.
Areas where both Coca Cola have shown commitment in as far as their activities are concerned include their efforts towards combating climate change. This includes Pepsi’s resolve to purchase an estimated 1.1 billion renewable energy kilowatt-hours. Though this shall be undertaken in the next three years, some analysts are of the opinion that this is just enough bring about an electricity offset of the US administrative, distribution as well as manufacturing offices.
Hence when it comes t the agenda of environmental sustainability, both companies can be said to be right on track with Coca Cola focusing on embracing practices aimed at using water more sustainably. However, in the case of coca cola, this is a largely debatable issue given its exploits in India where as it has been noted above, it was accused of depleting ground water resources and hence affecting the very livelihood of farmers who resided near the company’s bottling plants. Though the company eventually acted, it is unfortunate enough that it did so after considerable damage had been done. However, other than India, the coca cola’s CSR initiatives have not been challenges in that line.
CSR: An analysis of the sincerity of the companies
In my opinion, both companies are sincere in as far as their CSR undertakings are concerned. However, what comes between what the company has in its websites and what is happening on the ground is the need to maximize shareholder wealth against a backdrop of a number of social responsibility issues. In this regard, the chief executive officers as well as the various lime managers are essentially supposed to ensure that the shareholders of the company reap the maximum benefits of the company’s operations. Hence in seeking to rake in the greatest return on investment, corporations tend to forget their mandate top act as responsible corporate citizens. This is the case for Coca Cola’s well as Pepsi.
In conclusion, the company I consider most socially responsible is Pepsi. This opinion is mainly influenced by the company’s resolve to purchase an estimated 1.1 billion renewable energy kilowatt-hours. While this is a huge investment by any standards, it shows the company’s resolve to keep true to its CSR mandate of enhanced sustainability.