The Coca-Cola Company

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The Coca-Cola Company

legal form Public (NYSE: KO)
ISIN US1912161007
founding 1892 by Asa Griggs Candler
Seat Atlanta , Georgia , United States
United StatesUnited States 
management James Quincey ( President and CEO )
Muhtar Kent (Chairman)
Number of employees 700,000 (including bottling partners) (2019)
sales $ 37.3 billion (2019)
Branch Beverage industry
As of December 31, 2019

Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta
Coca-Cola contour bottle
Purchase certificate for 20 shares in the Coca-Cola Company dated February 20, 1929

The Coca-Cola Company is an American beverage company specializing in soft drinks and based in Atlanta , Georgia , USA . James Quincey is the CEO .

The Coca-Cola Company describes itself as the largest beverage company in the world. The company sells over 3900 products in more than 200 countries around the world. Until September 2012 the company was not represented in Cuba , North Korea and Myanmar . However, since September 2012, Myanmar has been supplied again.

Two thirds of sales are generated outside of the US. The company controls over half of the global market, with the production of these beverages being taken over primarily by national licensed bottling companies.

The best-known product is the eponymous Coca-Cola . Other beverage brands of the Coca-Cola Company include Fanta , Sprite , mezzo mix , Lift, Fuze Tea , Bonaqa , Apollinaris , Minute Maid (Cappy) , Powerade and Glacéau .


The beginning under Pemberton

Coca-Cola was invented by John Stith Pemberton on May 8th, 1886. The war veteran and pharmacist from Atlanta used wine , cola nuts , damiana and an extract from the leaves of the coca plant to brew a syrup as a remedy for tiredness, headaches and depression , which he called Pemberton's French Wine called Coca . The model for this was the popular Vin Mariani . His goal was by the contained cocaine a replacement for the then popular, but with side effects prone morphine to find. After Atlanta and Fulton County decided on November 25, 1885 to introduce prohibition on a trial basis for two years on July 1, 1886, Pemberton was forced to remove wine from the drink and thus invented Coca-Cola. He derived the name from the ingredients coca leaf (English: coca leaves ) and kola nut (English: cola nut ).

Mixed with soda water , the syrup was first sold as a drink in Jacob's Pharmacy in Atlanta on May 8, 1886, for 5  cents a glass. At that time it was not touted as a soft drink, but as medicine. Sold in pharmacies and the popular soda bars at the time, only an average of 13 glasses were sold a day at the beginning.

Rise Among Candler

After Pemberton had sold the prescription and the rights to Coca-Cola several times, presumably to raise money for his morphine addiction, the pharmacy wholesaler Asa Griggs Candler obtained after several errors and probably also frauds on August 30, 1888, shortly after Death of the inventor, the rights to the trademark. In total, he paid $ 2,300 for all of the rights. In 1892 he founded The Coca-Cola Company . A year later, Candler registered Coca-Cola as a trademark and marketed its product as early as 1895 throughout the United States and, since 1896, in neighboring countries. One of his partners was Frank M. Robinson, Pemberton's accountant, who, out of disappointment that Pemberton had passed over the sale of the Coca-Cola rights, gave Candler the recipe and later the production and above all advertising of Coca-Cola organized. Since prohibition was in effect in more and more states in the USA, it was not difficult for Coca-Cola to establish itself as a "substitute drug" with its selling price of one nickel (5 cents).

After Coca-Cola had been bottled using the syrup since the middle of the decade, the business didn't really get going until 1899, after the introduction of crown corks . Assuming that Coca-Cola was primarily intended for soda bars, Candler gave the bottling rights to Franklin Thomas and Joseph Brown Whitehead for virtually free . They founded the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. and soon supplied the entire United States. Coca-Cola was soon no longer only drunk by the urban upper class in soda bars, but above all by the rural population.

Social success under Woodruff

Coca-Cola Museum in Atlanta
Coca-Cola vending machine in Japan

In January 1916, Asa Candler handed over the running of the business to his son Howard, and by Christmas that year he bequeathed his relatives 90 percent of all but seven of his voting shares. However, in 1919 Howard Candler sold the Coca-Cola Company behind his father's back to a consortium of Ernest Woodruff (1863-1944) and Eugene Stetson for 25 million US dollars.

In 1923 Robert W. Woodruff (1889–1985), the son of Ernest Woodruff, took up his post as the new President of the Coca-Cola Company. Under his leadership, the company and Coca-Cola became what journalist William Allen White later referred to as the "sublimated nature of America." His goal was that Coca-Cola should never be more than "an arm's length from lust" and to spread it worldwide, for which he founded the Foreign Sales Department - later The Coca-Cola Export Corporation - in 1926 .

Woodruff resigned as president in 1954 but remained on the board of directors until 1984. His influence on the board's powerful finance committee allowed him to retain control of much of the company's governance for over 60 years in total.

Coca-Cola and the military

Sugar was rationed in the USA during the Second World War . Nevertheless, the boss at the time, Robert Woodruff, promised a coke for 5 cents for each soldier. That was the beginning of a close relationship between the military and the Coca-Cola Company. In the following years, on the orders of the American General Eisenhower ("Eisenhower Cable"), 248 Coca-Cola employees were accepted into the army, who built 64 bottling plants in the theaters of war to ensure the supply of Coca-Cola, which is the backbone of morale the soldier was valid. These employees received the rank of "Technical Observer", a term originally created for tank technicians, without having to serve. On site, Coca-Cola technicians had to contend with polluted water, disease, outdated equipment and a shortage of labor. German and Japanese prisoners of war were also used in some bottling plants . Three Coca-Cola technicians died during the war, presumably because their plane was shot down. For the military, Coca-Cola was also bottled in cans for the first time in 1950.

White cola

After Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov by Eisenhower Dwight D. end of the 1940s -years Coca-Cola met, he pushed the production of White Cola who, like vodka looked like he did not want to be seen with the symbol of American imperialism.

Financial success under Goizueta

In August 1980 Roberto Crispulo Goizueta became President of the Coca-Cola Company. Under him and then President Don Keough , Diet Coke was introduced in 1982 , which turned out to be a huge success. In 1985, Coca-Cola changed its recipe and offered the product under the name New Coke in the USA. However, after massive protests by consumers, the old recipe was reintroduced under the name Coca-Cola Classic shortly afterwards . Goizueta remained president until he died of lung cancer in 1997.

Recent history

After the Allied offensive in the Iraq war ended , Coca-Cola was the first company to set up its distribution centers in war-torn Iraq. During the war, Coca-Cola supplied all US soldiers with sunglasses. Similar to World War II, US soldiers in Iraq were also supplied with drinks from Coca-Cola. In the summer of 2005, after 40 years, the group received a sales license for Iraq.

In 2016, Coca-Cola acquired AB InBev's majority stake in Coca-Cola Beverages Africa for $ 3.15 billion .

On May 1, 2017, James Quincey replaced the previous CEO Muhtar Kent , who had held the position for several years.

In August 2018, Coca-Cola took over the world's second largest coffee chain Costa Coffee, according to Reuters, for around 4.4 billion euros.


Coca-Cola is the world's most highly endowed beverage brand and today (as of 2015) ranks third among the world's most expensive brands with a value of 78.423 billion US dollars . Sales in 2010 were 35.1 billion US dollars with a net result of 11.8 billion US dollars with a total filling volume of about 130 billion liters.

Today, Coca- Cola is the top- selling cola drink in almost every region of the world . One of the few exceptions is Thuringia , where Vita Cola is the market leader for colas.

Business figures

In fiscal 2017, the Coca-Cola Company had sales of $ 35.2 billion with a profit of $ 1.2 billion. The group has been struggling with falling sales since 2012. The market value in October 2018 was around $ 197 billion, making Coca-Cola one of the most valuable manufacturers of consumer goods. The company's debt was $ 47.8 billion for the first quarter of 2017.

year Sales
in billion US dollars
in billions of dollars
in billions of dollars
Market value
in billion US dollars
2003 20.9 4.4 27.3 108
2004 21.7 4.9 31.8 124
2005 23.1 4.9 29.4 100
2006 24.1 5.1 30.0 118
2007 28.9 6.0 43.3 136
2008 31.9 5.8 40.5 142
2009 31.0 6.8 48.7 105
2010 35.1 11.8 72.9 131
2011 46.5 8.6 80.0 151
2012 48.0 9.0 86.2 154
2013 46.9 8.6 90.1 162
2014 46.0 7.1 92.0 182
2015 44.3 7.4 90.0 184
2016 41.9 6.5 87.3 186
2017 35.4 1.2 87.9 188

Coca-Cola in German-speaking countries


Coca-Cola has existed in Germany since April 8, 1929.

With Vita Cola, Thuringia is one of the few regions in the world where Coca-Cola is not the market leader for cola beverages.


In 2003 Austria's leading mineral water producer , Römerquelle , which also includes the smaller Markusquelle , which has not been used since 2009, was sold to the Coca-Cola Group. In Austria, Coca-Cola is produced and bottled by Coca-Cola HBC , a company that is responsible for bottling the beverage throughout Eastern Europe and Italy. The Coca Cola Beverages Austria also handles distribution for the Austrian traditional brand Almdudler .


Coca-Cola has been bottled in Switzerland since 1936 . In 1994 Coca-Cola entered the ice tea segment with the Nestea brand and in 2001 with Minute Maid in the fruit juice segment. In October 2002 the Valser Mineralquellen AG was taken over. Coca-Cola Schweiz GmbH is a subsidiary of the Coca-Cola Company. Coca-Cola Schweiz GmbH is the licensor to the actual beverage producer, Coca-Cola HBC Schweiz AG, based in Brüttisellen . Like the Austrian bottler, this also belongs to Coca-Cola HBC .


In 2004 the group came under fire in Great Britain with its Dasani brand . It was treated Thames watershed bottled and sold at a much higher price than tap water. Although the Coca-Cola Company emphasized that the company cleans the water of dirt and germs and uses high-quality minerals to do so, bromate impurities were detected in the water that were twice as high as the limit values. For this, the Coca-Cola Company Great Britain received the satirical Ig Nobel Prize .

environmental issues

In 2003 the Coca-Cola Company came under fire for a bottling plant built in India in 1998 . The plant in Plachimada, in the administrative headquarters of the Palakkad district , drew up to 1 million liters of groundwater from the soil every day . In the long run this led to a lowering of the groundwater level . As a result, the salt content , water hardness , calcium and magnesium content increased to such an extent that it was impossible to use it as drinking water or to irrigate the fields. In addition, sludge waste brought onto the market as fertilizer by Coca-Cola led to contamination and skin problems in the local population, as it contained heavy metals. The plant is now closed, but Coca-Cola took no responsibility for the drinking water problem.

In Panama , the company was fined 300,000 US dollars (the equivalent of around 210,000 euros ) for polluting the Bay of Panama and the Vista Hermosa Gorge with dye in 2003 . The group also has to pay for the repair of the damage.

The German Environmental Aid Association (DUH) criticized the intention of the Coca-Cola Company to offer new 0.15-liter mini cans in Germany from April 2018th The planned packaging is particularly resource-intensive and makes the product significantly more expensive in relation to the content. The DUH called this decision a bankruptcy cold ( sic ! Quoted from taz ) for environmental protection.

Social problems

In addition, the Coca-Cola Company, for example, racist discrimination against blacks and HIV- infected people in the USA and Africa, violations of human rights , murder , imprisonment , displacement , kidnapping and firing of trade unionists in Colombia , Guatemala , Peru , Brazil , the USA , Venezuela , Palestine , Turkey and Iran .


After trade unionists from the local trade union Sinaltrainal who worked for Coca-Cola contractors were murdered in Colombia , European union leftists tried to initiate a boycott against Coca-Cola. The federal conference of the trade union ver.di also called for a boycott in 2004.

The allegations have been investigated by several courts in Colombia and the United States. All lawsuits against Coca-Cola and its Colombian bottlers have been suspended or dismissed. In 2008, the United Nations' International Labor Organization (ILO) examined the employment situation at Coca-Cola in Colombia. According to the ILO investigation, the Coca-Cola bottlers comply with labor law requirements. However, the research also finds that by outsourcing many activities, Coca-Cola systematically denies and limits the ability of workers to exercise their rights and to join a union of their choice.

Support of dictatorships

Coca Cola came under criticism because it was the Swaziland King Mswati III. should have supported. Mswati rules with an iron hand, he is known for human rights violations and the exploitation of taxpayers' money.

However, according to the Coca-Cola Company, there is no direct economic link between Coca-Cola and the head of state of Swaziland. The local concentrate plant is 100% owned by The Coca-Cola Company and a major employer in the region. Rather, the company supports work in HIV / AIDS centers and local drinking water treatment with several million US dollars.


In India , Coca-Cola and Pepsi were banned from 1978 to 1993 because they did not want to disclose their recipes. In 2006, Coca-Cola sales in the Indian state of Kerala were halted after an environmental group allegedly found pesticides in Coca-Cola and Pepsi. The sales ban was lifted a short time later by the Supreme Court in New Delhi. The Ministry of Health had doubts about the results of the study.


Because of the allegations of environmental pollution in India and murders in Colombia , several universities in the USA have been boycotting the sale of Coca-Cola Company products since the end of 2005.

In Germany, the student parliament of the Westphalian Wilhelms University in Münster unanimously decided in the 2007 summer semester to boycott the American beverage manufacturer Coca-Cola Company. There were similar resolutions by student parliaments at the University of Trier , the University of Bielefeld , the TU Dortmund (already revoked), the University of Duisburg-Essen , the University of Cologne and the Bergische Universität Wuppertal . In 2007, the Federation of German Catholic Youth (BDKJ) called on its members to boycott Coca-Cola products. The appeal was confirmed again in 2010.

For the 2006 FIFA World Cup boycotts were planned in Germany and carried out, as the Coca-Cola Company emerged as one of the main sponsors during the World Cup in appearance. Large unions, such as ver.di , also supported this boycott and demanded that Coca-Cola rethink its company concept. In the youth sector, the boycott issue is publicized through sticker, flyer and information stand campaigns on the subject.

Famous employees

Web links

Commons : The Coca-Cola Company  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Coca-Cola Leaders. E COCA-COLA COMPANY, accessed August 28, 2017 .
  2. a b Coca-Cola Company: Annual Report 2019 (PDF) Accessed April 22, 2016 (English).
  3. Aktiensammler 02/03, p. 9, ISSN  1611-8006
  4. a b Coca-Cola: New CEO has taken over the helm . In: . ( [accessed June 7, 2017]).
  5. Coca-Cola: Coca-Cola at a glance. (PDF) Retrieved September 14, 2017 .
  6. ^ Bolivia Downplays Reports of Coca-Cola Exit . Wall Street Journal, August 2, 2012. Retrieved August 7, 2012
  7. Who, What, Why: In which countries is Coca-Cola not sold? . BBC News, September 11, 2012. Retrieved April 20, 2013
  8. Company & History , section “When and where was Coca-Cola invented?” ( Memento of October 12, 2011 in the Internet Archive ), information page on the Coca-Cola GmbH website
  9. Between Myth and Criticism , accessed on August 7, 2009
  10. 125 years of Coca-Cola's joie de vivre ( Memento from December 2, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Press release of the Coca-Cola Company of February 25, 2011, accessed on January 16, 2012
  11. Coca-Cola - A Technological View ( Memento of October 10, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  12. one day / SPIEGEL: "On them with brew!"
  13. ^ WG Peace Research at the University of Kassel: "Sugar lemonade and Frankenstein food. Coca Cola, Mc Donald's, globalization, war, as well as the situation of women in times of the Empire. ” By Ellen Diederich. Dec 2004.
  14. Analysis and criticism: When brown shower head makes you sick
  15. ^ Coke and AB InBev Reach Agreement Regarding Coca-Cola Beverages Africa . The Coca-Cola Company, December 21, 2016
  16. Coca-Cola appoints President Muhtar Kent as new CEO . In: . ( [accessed June 7, 2017]).
  17. Coca-Cola buys Costa Coffee: Attack on the Reimanns' coffee empire - manager magazin . In: manager magazin . ( [accessed on August 31, 2018]).
  18. (English)
  19. The Coca-Cola Company: 2010 Annual Review ( Memento of July 2, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) (English; PDF; 2.7 MB)
  20. Balance sheet Vita-Cola , accessed on August 18, 2020 at
  21. ^ Vita Cola story , accessed on July 24, 2012 on the company's homepage
  22. Coca-Cola Sales Revenues. Retrieved October 21, 2018 .
  23. Balance sheet Vita-Cola , accessed on August 18, 2020 at
  24. ^ Vita Cola story , accessed on July 24, 2012 on the company's homepage
  25. For Markus source. In: September 4, 2009, accessed on December 21, 2019 (Austrian German).
  26. Alexander Wenzel: Mini cans instead of reusable: Less content, more rubbish . In: The daily newspaper: taz . January 11, 2018, ISSN  0931-9085 ( [accessed March 23, 2018]).
  27. Ben White: Black Coca-Cola Workers Still Angry , Washington Post. April 18, 2002. 
  28. ^ A b Coca-Cola Campaign Colombia , Retrieved November 20, 2009
  29. Report from the beverage trade journal Getränke Welt , PDF, 174 KB
  30. ^ Report Evaluation Mission Coca-Cola bottling plants in Colombia ( Memento from August 27, 2010 in the Internet Archive ), PDF, 181 KB, page 44ff
  31. ILO report - Meeting the challenge of precarious work: A workers' agenda (p. 35) , accessed on May 8, 2014
  32. - How Coca-Cola refreshes itself in Wikipedia , p. 2 ( Memento of May 8, 2014 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on May 8, 2014.
  33. Coca-Cola accused of propping up notorious dictator Swaziland (English) Article Guardian News from January 2, 2012
  34. In Africa, RAIN helps grow hope (English) ( Memento of 14 May 2012 at the Internet Archive ) products of The Coca-Cola Company, accessed 24 April 2012
  35. India's fight against Coca Cola ( Memento of December 13, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Article on Readers Edition of August 10, 2006
  36. Court lifts Cola ban again article on Spiegel-Online from September 22, 2006
  37. ^ Coca-Cola Ban Goes Into Effect at New York University . New York University - Office of Public Affairs. December 8, 2005. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
  38. ^ Warner, Melanie: U. of Michigan Becomes 10th College to Join Boycott of Cokepublicers . The New York Times. December 31, 2005. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
  39. ^ Background on Violence Against Union Members in Colombia . USLEAP. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
  40. Document CocaColaBoykott.pdf of the AStA of the University of Münster, formerly online at: Archived copy ( Memento of the original from March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  41. Coca-Cola boycott continues - Catholic youth campaigns for the consistent implementation of human rights. Article of October 26, 2010 on the resolution of the BDKJ General Assembly

Coordinates: 33 ° 46 ′ 15.6 "  N , 84 ° 23 ′ 47.6"  W.