This case study is one of ten that were chosen as part of the Enhancing Business-Community Relations project in India implemented in collaboration with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). These cases document examples of engagement between businesses and communities and can be used as learning tools for the promotion of responsible business practice and sustainable development. The Enhancing Business-Community Relations project is a joint international initiative between United Nations Volunteers (UNV) and the New Academy of Business. Implemented in seven developing countries, the purpose of the initiative was to collect and document information on business-community practices as perceived by all stakeholders, build partnerships with them and promote corporate social responsibility practices. It is also intended to enhance international understanding of business-community relations through information sharing and networking with other countries especially those participating in the project - Brazil, Ghana, India, Nigeria, Philippines, South Africa and Lebanon. The findings and recommendations reflected in the case study are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of UNV, TERI or the New Academy of Business. It is important to note that these cases were written as examples of business-community initiatives. They do not constitute a comprehensive assessment of the company's social responsibility The following case study provides one of the most interesting accounts contributing to the India part of the Enhancing Business-Community Relations project of the difficulties businesses can face in being accepted as a true corporate citizen. Although Coca-Cola India has a department that deals specifically with social and environmental community initiatives, this has not proved enough in the attempt to escape controversy, particularly regarding before-profit practice. In light of reported recent events in Kerala, this case study will not only discuss philanthropic activities in education, healthcare and water conservation, but also the alleged contamination of local water supplies by the company and issues that arise from the allegations.
The Coca-Cola logo is one of the world s most recognised trademarks, an indicator of the extent of Coca-Cola s penetration into communities across the world. Since launching in the Indian market in Agra in 1993, Coca-Cola has invested over US $840 million to build new infrastructure and strengthen that already existing. In so doing Coca-Cola India has helped generate US $163 million in foreign exchange, and has innovated in the beverage industry in areas of production, distribution and marketing.3 Principal commodities exported out of the India plants are glass bottles, trucks, black pepper, sesame, green coffee and black tea. Coca-Cola has also become one of the largest buyers of Indian coffee
2.Project History and Development.
Coca-Cola India has always emphasised the importance of before-profit responsible practice. The company has a global tradition of serving local communities by providing financial assistance as well as goods and services, including technical advice during production stages. Assistance is provided to local suppliers enabling them to meet the company's rigorous quality standards. Modern technology and skills have also been made available to bottlers and suppliers. In this way, the company contributes not only to the development of the soft drink industry, but also to the development of related industries and the economy as a whole. However, five years ago a Corporate Citizenship Programme was launched, which has consisted of a series of CSR projects in communities close to company plants. In addition to the sponsoring of sports events and cultural festivals, Coca-Cola India has sponsored projects in education, health, and water conservation. These are detailed below.
Direct Investment Jagriti Learning Centres provide primary education to the underprivileged, and benefit over 1800 children. Based near Coca-Cola plants in Pune, they are managed by some of India's best known NGOs, such as CRY (Child Relief & You), Pratham, Prayas and Literacy India. Coca-Cola India supports them by: Providing capital to buy computers and train teachers Promoting a community awareness campaign with Literacy India in Gurgaon
4.Future Education Programmes
In line with goals set by the United Nations, Coca-Cola India hopes to partner ANAWA (the Indian Army, Navy & Air Force Wives Association) and UNESCO in launching remedial educational schools. This will be Coca-Cola India's signature programme in the CSR field. The project aims to raise awareness levels, provide health education thereby preventing communicable diseases such as AIDS and Hepatitis-B. It will involve a one-off investment to build the schools, which aim to attend to the needs of the urban poor.
Sponsorship Following the success of a partnership between Coca-Cola India, the Indian Red Cross and Delhi state government in conducting Health Education Camps, the project was repeated in summer 2003 in partnership with the St. John s Ambulance Brigade. The objective was to raise awareness amongst the urban poor in slum areas on key issues such as HIV/AIDS, communicable diseases, immunization, hygiene and sanitation, reproductive and child health. Coca-Cola India has also adopted Primary Health Centres in areas close to company units, and conducted basic training to the local communities. One future scheme involves partnering two resident welfare associations Coca-Cola India to fund an efficient garbage disposal project in Delhi.