Soda & Gomorrah
Coca-Cola (KO) has faced intense criticism that its bottling plants in some regions— particularly southern India—siphon off scarce groundwater and emit contamination. Coke denies that it has had any deleterious effect on its neighbors but closed a plant in Kerala in 2004 after it came under attack.
Introduced in 1985, this reformulated version of the company's basic soda flopped with consumers. The failure led to the return of "Classic Coke," prompting some skeptics to speculate that the company might have staged the entire episode to draw attention to the revival of the original flavor.
Coca-Cola has faced criticism that its Dasani brand, launched in 1999, generates unnecessary plastic pollution—and that the water is little different from free tap water. Coke markets Dasani as a healthy alternative to high-calorie beverages and urges consumers to recycle bottles and cans.
Coca-Cola suffered a PR nightmare and litigation when right-wing militiamen killed bottling plant workers in Carepa, Colombia, in the mid-1990s during a labor rights struggle. U.S. judges dismissed the case, but Coke has stepped up monitoring of labor relations in conflict-prone nations.