With the upsurge level of industrialization and globalisation, the primary victim is found to be the environment as there are several issues and challenges faced by the and hampering the sustainability of the environment. These issues are because of the human industrial activities which pose negative impacts upon the sustainable living and eco-friendly aspect of the business environment. The report will highlight one of such incidents or issues faced by a specific region because of the unhealthy and unsustainable business practices of an organisation in order to maximize its sales and profits. The report will also recommend several ways by which improvements can be made to overcome the challenges and have a sustainable business environment.
Aftermaths of human industrial activities: Coca-Cola- ‘Drinking the Globe Dry’
Coca Cola is one of the most negatively recognized organisations for its ill and unhealthy practices in respect with the unsustainable business operations. In the past history of Coca Cola, there have been a number of evidences that reflects theunsustainable business practices of the company which has lead to pollution, deforestation, water scarcity and other several environmental hazards (India Resource Center, 2014).
Coca Cola in India accused of leaving water shortage, land poisoned and farms parched
(India Resource Center, 2014)
There are several areas and regions of India which have faced numerous challenges because of the establishment of the bottling plants of Coca Cola in those specific regions. There are notified issues faced by several districts and regions of various states of India. In the year 2000, there was established a plant of Coca cola in Plachimada which comes under the regions of Kerala. In just next few years of the business operations, there were realized hazardous effects of the plant on the livelihoods of the masses in number of ways and the people of Plachimada began to struggle for leading the plat to shut down and to attain a sustainable living (Chilkoti, 2014).
There were number of issues that arise because of the human industrial activities of Coca Cola starting from the mass level of water shortage. The extreme water shortage was a direct outcome of the extraction of water by Coca Cola from the local groundwater resources. All the wells dried up and the hand water pumps do not work anymore and thus took place extreme water shortage. Not only in the Plachimada district of Kerala but the same issues was realized at various other regions of India too and because of the bottling plant of Coca Cola such as the at Kaladera district near to Jaipur sate and a massive exploitation of the water resources at Mehdiganj in the city of Varanasi (Ejatlas, 2016).The second key issue faced by these places was increased level of pollution as Coca Cola was continuously discharging the highly contaminated and waste water into the field and grounds which were near to the plant and many a times into the rivers too including Ganga and it various other surrounding areas. The end result of such discharging of the polluted water was soil and groundwater pollution. Several public health authorities have diagnosed and posted the signs around the hand pumps and wells that they masses do not consume the water as it is unfit for their health as the water was polluted and not left for the purpose of human consumption anymore. The third key issue which was threatening the life of the masses as well as was a big danger to the environment sustainability was distribution of the toxic waste as the company was distributing the solid waste as the end product of the operations commenced on plant to the farmers in particularly two communities, i.e. Mehdiganj and Plachiamda in the form of fertilizers. There were scientific and laboratory tests that were conducted by the authorities and the results were shocking as there was found presence of lead and cadmium in the wastes which made it completely toxic in nature. Once an order was released by the state government, then only Coca Cola stopped the distribution of these solid wastes to the farmers. One more environmental issue which was the result of the operations of Coca Cola at various regions of India was that the products of the company were containing pesticides. Number of public authorities and agencies as well as the Indian Government and it was found that the products of Coca Cola contain increase levels of pesticides in them. There were number of health issues realized in masses which negatively impacted their health and body (Brown, 2003).
There were number of campaigns which took place against the company demanding for the shut down of the Coca Cola plants from Plachimada and Mehdiganj (Bhalla, 2015).There were non-violent protests that comprises of thousands of people participating in it for the abolishment of such business operations from India. People protested at the sites of the plant when they faced and realized the negative consequences of these plants on their sustainable living and environment (Singh, 2014).
Recommended solutions for Coca Cola to address the issues on an effective way to ameliorate the situation
To address and overcome the issues in an effective way as well as to improve the situation, there are few recommendations for the company which could be helpful for it to overcome the sustainability challenges and to re-establish the plant and continue the businessoperations but with increasedlevel of ethicality, morality and sustainability. Following are few of those recommendations:
Investing in CSR
The first and the foremost step is to enhance the corporate social responsibility levels of thecompany as it is the biggest way to offer thecommunitieswith benefits and social advantages by which their lives can be improved. It is necessary that the company invest huge amount in CSR activities and help the masses to attain a successful living (Karnani, 2014).
Improving Research & Development
The next solution or recommended step is to improve the research and development of the company as it is essential that before the commencement of thebusinessoperations or the establishment of the plant, the comaopny should research about its negative consequences as well as improving research and development will help thecompany in producing products with improved quality which can be safe for the people as well as find innovative ways to overcome the barriers of quality issues and sustainability issues (Lambooy, 2011).
Investing in sustainable operations
The third key solution is to invest more capital in the development of sustainableoperations. To overcome the challenges of sustainability and to avoid unhealthy operations which deteriorates the brand image of thecompany, it is required that the operations undertaken must be sustainable in nature and for the attainment of this objective, it is essential that more capital investments must be there for the eco-friendly and sustainable business operations(Gade, 2016).
Certifications of the processes and products
Another vital and essential step to resolve the issues is to certifythe business processes as well as the products of the company through safe and quality certificationthat involve ISO safety as well as publishing the results so that the company can commence its operations. These certifications will help in achieving improved and safe business operations as well as productsthat does not imposes negative impacts upon the health of the masses and on the natural resources of the nation (Berglund and Helander, 2015).
Involvement of the public authorities, communities and masses
The next key action is to involve the masses, communities as well as the public authorities in the operations of the company as it is necessary that the communities must be aware of the various operations and business processes so thatthecan analyse whether these operations are safe or not for their region and their health. Their involvement will offer them a sense of satisfaction that they and their resources are safe (Karnani, 2014).
Selection of Regions and effective Disclosure
Other recommended solution is that at the time of selecting regions for the establishment of the pant of Coca Cola, the companymust be conscious enough that it is a right place and industrial operations would not ruin the life of the masses in any way. It is essential that all the certification, health and safety reports and the business sustainability reports must be disclosed by the company to the masses so that they can have an easy access to the information related to the sustainable business operations (Gade, 2016).
From the overall report, it is concluded that there are several changes that are occurring in the climate and the environment because of the human industrial activities which is causing a serious threat to the sustainability of the environment as well as to the lives of the masses. From the report, it can be concluded that Coca Cola is one of the major companies that has been involved in number of unethical practices which has ruined the sustainability of the environment, the livelihood of the masses as well as the deterioration of the natural resources. And thus, it is recommended thatthecompanymust have an eye on its operations regarding its ethicality as well as safety so that it does not facethe similar issues in its future operations.
Berglund, H. and Helander, S., 2015. The Popular Struggle against Coca-Cola in Plachimada, Kerala. Journal of Developing Societies, 31(2), pp.281-303.
Bhalla, N., 2015. Varanasi villagers blame Coca-Cola for water scarcity. Accessed on: 9th September, 2017. Accessed from: https://in.reuters.com/article/varanasi-cocacola-water-scarcity/varanasi-villagers-blame-coca-cola-for-water-scarcity-idINKBN0TH01520151128
Brown, P., 2003. Coca-Cola in India accused of leaving farms parched and land poisoned. The Guardian. Accessed on: 9th September, 2017. Accessed from: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2003/jul/25/water.india
Chilkoti, A., 2014. Water shortage shuts Coca-Cola plant in India. Accessed on: 9th September, 2017. Accessed from: https://www.ft.com/content/16d888d4-f790-11e3-b2cf-00144feabdc0
Ejatlas, 2016. Coca Cola plant in Plachimada, Kerala, India. Accessed on: 9th September, 2017. Accessed from: https://ejatlas.org/conflict/coca-cola-kerala-india
Gade, A., 2016. Corporate Social Responsibility: Moving forward from Charity to Responsibility: A Case study of Coca Cola India. TIMSR Journal of Management Research, pp.139-143.
India Resource Center, 2014. Home--Campaigns--Coca-Cola, Mehdiganj - The Issues. Accessed on: 9th September, 2017. Accessed from: https://www.indiaresource.org/campaigns/coke/2013/mehdiganjfact.html
Karnani, A., 2014. Corporate social responsibility does not avert the tragedy of the commons. Case study: Coca-Cola India. Economics, Management and Financial Markets, 9(3), p.11.
Lambooy, T., 2011. Corporate social responsibility: sustainable water use. Journal of Cleaner Production, 19(8), pp.852-866.
Singh, M.P., 2014. At Kaladera farmers battle beverage giant. Accessed on: 9th September, 2017. Accessed from: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/at-kaladera-farmers-battle-beverage-giant/article5606745.ece.