Coke in the Cross Hairs: Water, India, and the University of Michigan

Case Abstract

The case drives a discussion around events in 2005-2006 when the University of Michigan decided to cut its contract with Coca-Cola because of the company’s environmental issues in India and labor issues in Colombia. The case follows Coca-Cola’s changing approach to water management through the University of Michigan situation, which was both unique and also telling of universal shifts in the ways companies manage environmental and social issues.

This detailed account enables students to understand global changes through one case and challenges them to think about the role of activists and the responsibility of a corporation with the reach of Coca-Cola. There are a variety of themes that resonate through the case including, but not limited to: (1) globalization, information technology, and the sustainability agenda; (2) brandjacking, activism, and the decision to engage; (3) social change agents and the dark green/bright green divide; and (4) the university as global citizen.

Authors: Andrew Hoffman, Sarah Howie, Grace Augustine
Institution: University of Michigan, USA; University of Oxford, UK
Competition Year2011
Place1st place
TrackCorporate Sustainability
Key WordsWater Management, Sustainability, India, Globalization, Brand Management, Procurement
CoursesCorporate Strategy, Sustainability, Globalization
Target AudienceBBA, MBA
Permission RightsPlease contact permissions@globalens.com for permission rights. You can purchase this case directly from the GlobaLens website.
DownloadInspection Copy (abbreviated version)
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oikos International

posted June 30, 2011

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