Cross-cultural perspectives are just that, an individual perspectives of other another culture in comparison to another. Cola-Cola was created May 8, 1886 by John Pemberton and Jacobs’ Pharmacy was the first place it was served at. In 1906, Coca-Cola expanded to three countries outside the United States. In 1912, they expanded to the Philippines and then to Asia for the first time. In the late 1920’s, Coca-Cola formed a Foreign Department that would supply their concentrate to 10 other countries. Coca-Cola started a couple of bottling operations in India, one at Mehdiganj, Uttar Pradesh in 1999 and another one in 2000 at Plachimada, Kerala. Environmental issues began to surface at these two India locations shortly thereafter.
India has several Coca-Cola bottling operations throughout their country. The two that will be discussed are the ones in Uttar Pradesh and Kerala, in particular. These two plants have similar issues that they are facing, including closure of their operation. If the ISO14001 standard was utilized before and during the operation of these two plants, the outcome would have been considerably different. According to “ISO14001:2004 EMS Requirements” (2004), “ISO 14001:2004 is applicable to any organization that wishes to implement, maintain and improve an environmental management system; assure itself of its conformance with its stated environmental policy; demonstrate such conformance to others; seek certification/registration of its environmental management system by an external organization; make a self-determination and self-declaration of conformance with this international standard.”
Uttar Pradesh Location
The plant in Uttar Pradesh was opened in 1999 and the people were not happy about it from the beginning. Coca-Cola started proceedings to expand the water table for consumption which ultimately took from the local farms. It was discovered that Coca-Cola also increased their production from what was allowed per their contract from their government which in turn made them use even more water. Locals protested this request plus they also stated that the plant was built on ground that did not belong to them. With this area already considered drought-stricken, Cola-Cola should have taken other measures to obtain the necessary water to run the plant and the right to increase production prior to this dilemma. Morally and ethically speaking, they had the obligation to not harm the people or their environment in any shape, form or fashion while operating their business for profit. If depletion of was not bad enough, the water they used was contaminated and were found in about a dozen of the finish products that were produced there.
Hansia (2014), “The Center for Science and Environment (CSE) found high levels of toxic pesticides and insecticides, high enough to cause cancer, damage to the nervous and reproductive systems, birth defects and severe disruption of the immune system” (para. 17). They were only fined $2,000 US dollars for the land issues and was ordered to vacate the premises but Coca-Cola obtained a stay order but the National Green Tribunal (NGT) have not allowed them to reopen as of the summer of 2014. However, Coca-Cola was instructed to replenish twice as much water they extracted as part of the ruling, and in 2014, the government made a promise to the local village council that the factory will be demolished because the land belong to them and the construction of the plant was illegal, (“Coca-Cola Forced To Close India Bottling Factory Over Excessive Water Use, Pollution”, 2014).
The Kerala plant started their operation in 2000 but soon came to similar complications as the Uttar Pradesh location encountered in 2004. Due to water depletions, the community is aggressively taking action to have the plant shut down. The liabilities that the legislation is holding Coca-Cola is $47 million for damages caused by the operation of the plant (“Coca-Cola Plant Shut Down In India “, 2014). Considerably more than Uttar Pradesh imposed previously. Along with having the same water contamination issues, the Kerala plant also had solid waste problems.
The company was passing off the sludge as fertilizer to the farmers which caused environmental and health damages which were most likely included in the liability charges that were imposed. India now accuses Coca-Cola of having double standards were human health is concerned, in comparison to the United States, (“Ethical Issues Concerning Coca-Cola In India”, 2009). That very well may be an accurate accusation because that would not have happened in the United States. The U.S. environmental rules and regulations are a lot stricter than most countries and are strictly enforced throughout the U.S. Hefty fines are issued when the rules are broken as they are there for the protection of the U.S. environment and the future generations to come.
For both locations in reference to the water issue. Further evaluations and consultation with the environment committees would have been beneficial knowing that water is a commodity that is scarce in both regions. Critical thinking into other options in obtaining water such as building traps to collect rain water or recycling the waste water through new technology that has been recently created and tested to be the cleanest water. As far as the solid waste dilemma, find other ways to dispose of it such as other approved locations or disposal plants, if any that it can be taken to or contact renewable energy plants that use bio materials to operate their power plants. If one does not exist, explore the opportunities to create one for renewable energy for the Coca-Cola plant itself.
In spite of the water/beverage contamination, solid waste problems and the two closures discussed previously that Coca-Cola had endured, they are known around the world as the top leading soft drink. Cola-Cola needs to align the ethics and morals of the operations in the United States with those of other countries in order to get and maintain the status that all their stockholders would be proud of. The communities would actually invite the company to open an operation in their region because they would know that their environment would advance and improve along with the well-being of the people of that community. Coca-Cola should have embraced overseas countries as if it were in their own backyard.
Coca-Cola forced to close India bottling factory over excessive water use, pollution. (2014). Retrieved from http://rt.com/news/167012-coca-cola-factory-closed-india/ Coca-Cola Plant Shut Down in India. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.indiaresource.org/news/2014/1020.html Ethical issues concerning Coca-Cola in India. (2009). Retrieved from http://imaginecorporation.blogspot.in/2009/08/ethical-issues-concerning-coca-cola-in.html Hansia, F. (2014). Coca-Cola Forced To Shut Bottling Plant in India. Retrieved from http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=15963 ISO 14001:2004 EMS Requirements. (2004). Retrieved from http://www.itgovernanceusa.com/shop/p-644-iso14001-iso-14001-ems-requirements.aspx?gclid=CLqom7Gt6MMCFYeTfgodzVAAUw#.VOLgEvmAEbI