Coca-Cola Rejects ‘Wokeness’ In Fear Of Going Broke

OPINION:  This article contains commentary which may reflect the author’s opinion

Shareholders of Coca-Cola recently voted against a survey that would have examined the effects of state laws prohibiting abortion on the company’s performance in specific states.

The non-profit presented the proposal. According to Barron’s, As You Saw encourages ESG practices within organizations. According to the research hypothesis put forth by As You Saw, women who lack access to abortions are more likely to leave the workforce.

“Shareholders request that Coca-Cola’s Board of Directors issue a public report prior to December 31, 2023, omitting confidential information and at a reasonable expense, detailing any known and potential risk or costs to the company caused by enacted or proposed state policies severely restricting reproductive rights, and detailing any strategies beyond litigation and legal compliance that the company may deploy to minimize or mitigate these risk,” read the proposal.

The activist group went even further, making the audacious claim that the board of directors might decide, in their alone discretion, to completely halt operations inside of states with abortion laws.

“In its discretion, the board’s analysis may include effects on employee hiring, retention, and productivity, and decisions regarding closure or expansion of operations in states proposing or enacting restrictive laws and strategies, such as public policy advocacy by the company, related political contribution policies, and human resources or educational strategies,” the non-profit added.

The shareholders conducted a vote on the measure, ultimately voting it down with 87 percent against the idea. It is worth noting that voting is done based on the percentage of shares owned as opposed to a one-person-one-vote system.

In response to this, Coca-Cola issued a proxy statement against conducting the survey, stating that their “robust risk management processes” are perfectly capable of handling the matter themselves.

If Coca-Cola were to put forth this idea, it would have immediate ramifications on its headquarters which is located in Atlanta, Georgia. Georgia currently has a law restricting abortion within six weeks of pregnancy, per NPR.

Many other bottling facilities are also located within the southern United States, which has a concentration of restrictive abortion laws compared to other parts of the country. According to Coca-Cola United, the majority of its bottling centers exist within Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Tennessee. The vast majority of sales centers also exist within those states, as well as Mississippi and Florida.

Within every state listed, lawmakers have attempted to pass legislation that would restrict or outright ban abortion, with only Florida being blocked by its Supreme Court, per the Center for Reproductive Rights.

The decision would bring major changes to Coca-Cola’s business, so it’s ultimately no wonder the business was fine with not pursuing any further investigation. It only goes to show that companies that wish to go woke will inevitably go broke.

The motion was put to a vote by the shareholders, who eventually rejected it with 87 percent of the vote. In contrast to a one-person, one-vote system, voting is done based on the percentage of shares owned.

In response, Coca-Cola decided not to undertake the survey in a proxy statement, claiming that their “robust risk management processes” are more than capable of taking care of the situation on their own.

If Coca-Cola were to propose this proposal, it would have an instant impact on its Atlanta, Georgia, headquarters. According to NPR, Georgia now prohibits abortions throughout the first six weeks of pregnancy.

The southern United States, where there are more severe abortion regulations than in other regions of the country, is home to numerous such bottling plants. The majority of Coca-Cola United’s bottling facilities are located in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Tennessee, the company claims. Along with Mississippi and Florida, those states include the largest bulk of sales centers.

According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, lawmakers have sought to establish laws in each of the states listed that would either restrict or outright prohibit abortion, with the exception of Florida, whose Supreme Court has stopped such attempts.

It should come as no surprise that Coca-Cola was okay with not conducting any further investigation given that the choice would significantly alter the company’s operations. It just serves to demonstrate that businesses who want to become more ethical will eventually fail.


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