Coca-Cola & Pepsi Harm India's Ecology|Business Ethics|Case Study|Case Studies

Coca-Cola & Pepsi Harm India's Ecology

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Case Details:

Case Code : BECG023
Case Length : 14 Pages
Period : 2001 - 2002
Pub. Date : 2002
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Coke, Pepsi
Industry : Food and Beverage
Countries : India

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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The Legal Tangle - Proceedings & Arguments

Over the decades, many companies in India had painted their advertisements on rocks but nobody seemed to have been bothered by this practice till the Indian Express reported the damage to the ecosystem.

Once the controversy erupted, many people suddenly found that they had something to say about the issue. Analysts felt that companies opted for this mode of advertisement since it was very cost-effective - they only had to invest in the paint and labor.

Since they did not seek permission from the government, to whom the land belonged, they did not have to make any payment in this regard.

The advertisements ranged in size from 10 square feet (sq.ft.) to about 100 sq.ft. Most of the Coke and Pepsi advertisements were between 10 to 20 sq.ft. each, with many smaller ones (painted by other companies) in clusters along the road and the river bed...

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Implications for the Companies

Analysts felt that the court's ruling sent a clear and firm message to corporates who had been abusing natural creations for commercial purposes.

This case was regarded by many corporates, lawyers and environmentalists as one of the fastest to be resolved - the court took a little more than a month to convict those who were found guilty and order restoration work (Refer Exhibit IV for a timeline of the case). Applauding the court's decision, Professor C K Varshney, School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, said, "This is really a decision in the right direction, and perhaps ought to have been taken long back, for it really sets the rigor India needs in dealing with environmental issues. Such defacing of rocks is not something restricted to the Himalayas in India. I have seen this across the country. In supporting the protection of nature in its original form, in whatever way possible, the courts have set a great precedent"...


Exhibit I: The Rocks with Coke and Pepsi Advertisements
Exhibit II: A 'Repainted' Coke Advertisement
Exhibit III: An Excerpt from the Committee's Recommendations
Exhibit IV: A Timeline of the Case
Exhibit V: Other Coke, Pepsi Contoversies in India


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