Key Points

  • After examining Coca-Cola’s source of revenue, the ratio of interest expense to total operating expense, and ESG impact we are uncomfortable investing in Coca-Cola from a Halal perspective.

Company Overview

The Coca-Cola Company is a US-based multinational beverage corporation, best known as the producer of Coca-Cola. 

The sugary drink was invented in 1886 by pharmacist John Stith Pemberton.

How much of Coca-Cola’s revenue comes from haram?

Coca-Cola divides its source of revenue into two segments. Concentrate Operations and Finished Product Operations. While coca-cola primarily identifies itself as a non-alcoholic beverage company, it has entered into the alcohol beverage segment in numerous markets outside the United States. In the United States, the Company has authorized alcohol-licensed third parties to use certain of its brands on alcoholic beverages.

Even though the revenue from the alcoholic beverage segment could be very small, there is no way of determining the exact number since Coca-Cola does not publish details of the revenue from each product line.

Practical Islamic finance concludes

It’s unclear how much of Coca-Cola’s revenue comes from alcoholic beverages although we would not be surprised if this portion grew with time since Coca-Cola is relatively new in this space. This recent disposition of Coca-Cola with regards to alcoholic beverages, while not conclusively material, is cause for concern.

Does Coca-Cola rely on interest to operate?

Recent Quarter ended 4/1/2022Fiscal Year ended 12/31/2021Fiscal Year ended 12/31/2020
Interest Expense1821,5971,437
Total Operating Expense299512,99010,584
Interest Expense / Total Operating Expense6.08%12.29%13.58%

*Numbers in millions, of U.S. dollars 

Practical Islamic finance concludes:

There appears to be a persistent reliance on the use of Riba in Coca-Cola’s operations.

What is Coca-Cola’s Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) impact?

Environment

The Coca-Cola Company produces over 3 million tonnes of plastic packaging each year including 110 billion plastic bottles. The company’s global chief executive stated that Coca-Cola has no plans to reduce its use of plastic bottles and opposes bottle bill legislation. 

Coca-Cola has set goals to make 100% of its packaging recyclable globally by 2025 and aims to have at least 25% of its beverages worldwide by volume sold in refillable/returnable glass or plastic bottles or in fountain dispensers with reusable packaging.

Social

Coca-Cola has a Glassdoor rating of 4.0 out of 5.0. Glassdoor is a trusted website where current and former employees can review and rate their companies.

Governance

The Coca-Cola Company funded the creation of the front organization the Global Energy Balance Network (GEBN) which is accused of designing its own studies to arrive at conclusions set in advance and cherry-picked data to support Coca-Cola’spublic relations agenda. After an August 2015 investigative report exposed GEBN as a Coca-Cola Company front organization, GEBN was shut down.

Practical Islamic finance concludes:

Coca-Cola has a net negative ESG impact. 

Comfort Rating

From Coca-Cola’s business, financial, and ESG reviews, Practical Islamic Finance rates Coca-Cola stock as

Uncomfortable to invest in from a Halal perspective.

Justification

There is a persistent reliance on riba in Coca-Cola’s operations. Their product line includes alcohol-based beverages which are haram in Islam. Additionally, it appears likely that Coca-Cola was involved in funding front organizations to create propaganda.

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Sources

10Q 1st Apr 2022

10K Dec 2021

Glassdoor Rating

Coca-Cola ESG Policy

Coca-Cola against Bottle Ban

Coca-Cola Wiki

Clifford D. Conner, “The Tragedy of American Science, from Truman to Trump” (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2020), pp. 14-16

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