Multinational companies have this image as exploiters not answerable to anyone. Multinational companies also justify everything they are doing with the words, “to maximize value for the shareholder”. So this time shareholders decided to take some action regarding the alleged issue of the depletion of groundwater by the Coke plant in Kerala, India.
The plant in Kerala was sanctioned by the communists, who realized, maybe after a coconut fell on their heads that Coke uses water and groundwater was disappearing in Plachimada. So the commies, to enhance their shareholder value, turned protestors and got the local panchayat to revoke the licence.
Now the CEO of Coke is facing music over the same issue.
Shareholders didn’t want to talk about re-electing the board of directors or appointing an independent auditor. Instead, they questioned Isdell about issues he’s heard before, namely the killings of several union workers at Coke bottling plants in Colombia and accusations that some of Coke’s plants in India have depleted local groundwater.
Isdell said Coke has not done anything wrong in the two countries, noting that government inquiries in Colombia have dismissed the accusations that Coke was complicit in the deaths by failing to protect workers there. He also said a high court in India has sided with Coke over the water dispute. Even so, Isdell conceded that the company’s best efforts to put the questions to rest have not been successful. Last year’s annual meeting also descended into questions about alleged abuses abroad.
“As long as anyone continues to believe these allegations, we’re going to take them seriously” and work to change people’s perceptions, Isdell said. [Coca-Cola Vows to Change Perception Abroad]