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The Coca Cola company’s sustainability initiatives on water management in developing countries

The Coca Cola company’s sustainability initiatives on water management in developing countries

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Published by Nnaniki Malesa
An outline of the role of responsible marketing which companies should adhere to in driving sustainability strategies
An outline of the role of responsible marketing which companies should adhere to in driving sustainability strategies

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Published by: Nnaniki Malesa on Jul 27, 2012
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12/22/2014

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COURSE:
STRATEGIC MARKETING THEORY
CODE:
BUSA7078
STUDENT NO:
9506134M
SUBMISSION:
TAKE-HOME EXAM
DATE:
2012 MARCH 27
TITLE
The Coca Cola company’s sustainability initiatives onwater management in developing countries:Environmental window-dressing initiatives - drivingGreenwashing marketing campaignsKeywords:Sustainability dimensions, Responsible Marketing,Societal Marketing Strategy, Responsible Consumption,Brand Reputation
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INTRODUCTION
Today at least 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access towater whilst 2.6 billion people lack basic sanitation (Shah 2010). The water crisis hasalso affected health matters of human beings with half of the bed-occupants inhospitals noted as suffering from water-related illnesses. The costs associated withhealth spending, productivity losses and labour diversions, are greatest in some of thepoorest countries with Sub-saharan Africa loosing about 5% of its GPD to aid relief resulting from water scarcity (Shah, 2010). The need to chance current ways in whichessential resources are used and water as a resource has become mandatory (Mark,Cristiano, Vicente, Karel and Totti, 2010). Against the backdrop of water scarcity has been a growing base of consumers whohave become health-conscious towards consumption of non-fizzy or carbonated,sugared-drinks. This has spearheaded the growth of health conscious beveragesegments such as bottled water, juices, sports as well as fruit drinks (Australian ReviewCase Study Centre, 2012). To Coca Cola, given the invaluable role water plays in theproduction and packaging of its products, not only for bottled water brands, it is clear that the company would simply not exist without water. The need for the company topursue sustainability strategies aimed managing water shortages is critical to thesurvival of the business.In this paper the question of how sustainable are Coca Cola’s initiatives in water management in developing countries given the global shortage of water will beanswered. The paper will argue 3 key objectives: firstly, Coca Cola has set out to turnwater into a profit-driven commodity like oil to the degradation of the developingcountries’ environments. Secondly, the paper will assert that Coca Cola’s globalsustainable initiatives are greenwashing marketing initiatives which are false claimsintent on driving brand reputation management rather than achieve the holistic ethicalpurpose of sustainability into the future for water management. Lastly, the paper willhighlight the growth of the Ethical Beverage Consumer and the role this individual is
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playing using a global platform in driving the Coca Cola company to be accountable inthe role they have played in environmental degradation to date in India.It is imperative that this paper starts with an outline of the mandatory role of globalcompanies within the 21st century in driving the discipline of Responsible Marketing.This understanding, which will be constructed within the context of the growing concernfor accountability on sustainability initiatives by companies, will then enable a thoroughcritical analysis of Coca Cola’s sustainability efforts to date.
BACKGROUND
In a paper aptly titled “Marketing and Sustainability”, Jones, Clarke-Hill, Comfort andHillier (2008) profile the varied arguments to date regarding the relevance of sustainability and marketing to each other respectively.Sustainability is defined by McCann-Erickson (2007) (Jones etal 2008) as an allinclusive term for everything to do with responsibility for the world in which we live in.This definition emphasises the 3 dimensions’ roles of sustainability i.e. economic, socialand environmental in driving the pursuit of consuming differently and consumingefficiently. Lastly, the definition outlines that it is during this consumption that the globalenvironment must be protected while not jeorpardising the needs of future generations.These 3 dimensions have continually been referred to by other research scholars whenthe construct of sustainability is discussed (Sheth, Sethia and Srinivas 2010). However,in arguing a comprehensive, all -embracing view of sustainability, Closs, Speier andMeacham’s (2010) definition which encompasses the 4 dimensions is worthy of notationin this regard.Closs etal (2010) identify the 4 key dimensions to ensuring this as Environment,Economics, Ethics as well as Education. Of relevance to the paper, is the review of theEthics dimension which focuses strongly on the issues relating to Corporate SocialResponsibility (herein referred to as CSR). CSR refers to the obligations to society and
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