The Coca-Cola Company: 
Together We Must Advance Racial Equity

by Savoy Staff

(l to r) Lori George Billingsley, Global Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, The Coca-Cola Company and Valerie R. Love, Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Social Justice Executive Chair, Coca-Cola North America

This past year has been one for the books. COVID-19 devastated millions of families and businesses while acts of injustice and violence towards Black Americans outraged the world. Now, more than ever, we need to support each other, champion diversity, equity and inclusion and show more empathy and unity. Our purpose as a company is to Refresh the World and Make a Difference. This includes making meaningful impact inside the four walls of The Coca-Cola Company, in particular for women globally and people of color in the U.S.

We are committed to making a difference in our communities and within our company by mobilizing our history of advancing civil rights and by rallying the strength of our employees, families and friends. Our company is committed to playing a proactive role in creating the change that is desperately needed. It is our duty.

Our efforts focus on four main areas – listening, leading, investing, advocating. Our actions include using our scale, brands and voice in support of racial equity, particularly around ending systemic racism and violent acts against Black Americans. We are working to grow and strengthen our Black leadership talent pipeline – amplifying the voices of Black leadership from every level of our organization and accelerating their professional advancement. In 2020, Black leaders made up 13% of our leadership appointments in the U.S. We will continue sharing our ongoing progress in this area, as well as our diversity and pay equity data, in our 2021 Sustainability Report. In support of our commitment to building a more inclusive environment, we will deploy a global diversity, equity and inclusion learning and education plan for all employees in 2021.

We are focusing our charitable giving and community investments on social justice and efforts to end systemic racism. Between The Coca-Cola Foundation and the company (through our Coca-Cola and Sprite brands), we have contributed more than $5 million to date in grants, donations and employee matching programs in response to social justice causes. We are aggressively scaling our spend with diverse suppliers. In 2020, we announced a five-year commitment to spend $500MM with black-owned businesses/vendors. This is two and a half times the rate of our current spending.

Advancing social justice and racial equity helps to move our communities forward and helps to make tangible, necessary change to move towards equality for all. It is a continuous journey and will take all of us. Together with civic and community advocates, government officials, fellow business leaders, our partners – we can, and must, challenge injustice and find solutions.

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