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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

FORM 10-K

(Mark One)
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023
OR
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from to

Commission File Number 001-02217
Corporate_Mark_Primary_Logo_Black.jpg
COCA COLA CO
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware58-0628465
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation)(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
One Coca-Cola Plaza
Atlanta,Georgia30313
(Address of principal executive offices)(Zip Code)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (404) 676-2121

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each classTrading Symbol(s)Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, $0.25 Par ValueKONew York Stock Exchange
0.500% Notes Due 2024KO24New York Stock Exchange
1.875% Notes Due 2026KO26New York Stock Exchange
0.750% Notes Due 2026KO26CNew York Stock Exchange
1.125% Notes Due 2027KO27New York Stock Exchange
0.125% Notes Due 2029KO29ANew York Stock Exchange
0.125% Notes Due 2029KO29BNew York Stock Exchange
0.400% Notes Due 2030KO30BNew York Stock Exchange
1.250% Notes Due 2031KO31New York Stock Exchange
0.375% Notes Due 2033KO33New York Stock Exchange
0.500% Notes Due 2033KO33ANew York Stock Exchange
1.625% Notes Due 2035KO35New York Stock Exchange
1.100% Notes Due 2036KO36New York Stock Exchange
0.950% Notes Due 2036KO36ANew York Stock Exchange
0.800% Notes Due 2040KO40BNew York Stock Exchange
1.000% Notes Due 2041KO41New York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
__________________________________________________



Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes     No 
Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes    No 
Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes     No 
Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to submit such files). Yes     No 
Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer Accelerated filerNon-accelerated filerSmaller reporting companyEmerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the Registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.
Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its         audit report.
If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the Registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements.
Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the Registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to § 240.10D-1(b). 
Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes    No 
The aggregate market value of the common equity held by non-affiliates of the Registrant (assuming for these purposes, but without conceding, that all executive officers and Directors are “affiliates” of the Registrant) as of June 30, 2023, the last business day of the Registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, was $258,329,040,018 (based on the closing sale price of the Registrant’s Common Stock on that date as reported on the New York Stock Exchange).
The number of shares outstanding of the Registrant’s Common Stock as of February 16, 2024 was 4,312,456,168.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the Company’s Proxy Statement for the 2024 Annual Meeting of Shareowners are incorporated by reference in Part III.



THE COCA-COLA COMPANY AND SUBSIDIARIES
Table of Contents

 Page
Part I  
Part II  
Part III  
Part IV  
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FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This report contains information that may constitute “forward-looking statements.” Generally, the words “believe,” “expect,” “intend,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “project,” “will” and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements, which generally are not historical in nature. However, the absence of these words or similar expressions does not mean that a statement is not forward-looking. All statements that address operating performance, events or developments that we expect or anticipate will occur in the future — including statements relating to volume growth, share of sales and net income per share growth, and statements expressing general views about future operating results — are forward-looking statements. Management believes that these forward-looking statements are reasonable as and when made. However, caution should be taken not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements because such statements speak only as of the date when made. Our Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law. In addition, forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause our Company’s actual results to differ materially from historical experience and our present expectations or projections. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the possibility that the assumptions used to calculate our estimated aggregate incremental tax and interest liability related to the potential unfavorable outcome of the ongoing tax dispute with the United States Internal Revenue Service could significantly change; those described in Part I, “Item 1A. Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this report; and those described from time to time in our future reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Part I
ITEM 1.  BUSINESS
In this report, the terms “The Coca-Cola Company,” “Company,” “we,” “us” and “our” mean The Coca-Cola Company and all entities included in our consolidated financial statements.
General
The Coca-Cola Company is a total beverage company, and beverage products bearing our trademarks, sold in the United States since 1886, are now sold in more than 200 countries and territories. We own or license and market numerous beverage brands, which we group into the following categories: Trademark Coca-Cola; sparkling flavors; water, sports, coffee and tea; juice, value-added dairy and plant-based beverages; and emerging beverages. We own and market several of the world’s largest nonalcoholic sparkling soft drink brands, including Coca-Cola, Sprite, Fanta, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar and Diet Coke/Coca-Cola Light.
We make our branded beverage products available to consumers throughout the world through our network of independent bottling partners, distributors, wholesalers and retailers as well as our consolidated bottling and distribution operations. Beverages bearing trademarks owned by or licensed to the Company account for 2.2 billion of the estimated 64 billion servings of all beverages consumed worldwide every day.
We believe our success depends on our ability to connect with consumers by providing them with a wide variety of beverage options to meet their desires, needs and lifestyles. Our success further depends on the ability of our people to execute effectively, every day.
We are guided by our purpose, which is to refresh the world and make a difference. Our vision for growth has three connected pillars:
Loved Brands. We craft meaningful brands and a choice of drinks that people love and enjoy and that refresh them in body and spirit.
Done Sustainably. We grow our business in ways that achieve positive change in the world and build a more sustainable future for our planet.
For a Better Shared Future. We invest to improve people’s lives, from our employees to all those who touch our business system, to our investors, to the communities we call home.
The Coca-Cola Company was incorporated in September 1919 under the laws of the State of Delaware and succeeded to the business of a Georgia corporation with the same name that had been organized in 1892.
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Operating Segments
The Company’s operating structure is the basis for our internal financial reporting. Our operating structure includes the following operating segments:
Europe, Middle East and Africa
Latin America
North America
Asia Pacific
Global Ventures
Bottling Investments
Additionally, our operating structure includes operating units, which sit under our four geographic operating segments. The operating units are focused on regional and local execution and are highly interconnected, with the goal of eliminating duplication of resources and scaling new products more quickly. The operating units work closely with five global marketing category leadership teams to rapidly scale ideas while staying close to the consumer. The global marketing category leadership teams primarily focus on innovation as well as marketing efficiency and effectiveness.
Our operating structure also includes Corporate, which consists of two components: (1) a center focusing on strategic initiatives, policy, governance and scaling global initiatives, and (2) a platform services organization supporting the operating units, global marketing category leadership teams and the center by providing efficient and scaled global services and capabilities, including, but not limited to, transactional work, data management, consumer analytics, digital commerce and social/digital hubs.
For additional information about our operating segments and Corporate, refer to Note 20 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements set forth in Part II, “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this report.
Except to the extent that differences among operating segments are material to an understanding of our business taken as a whole, the description of our business in this report is presented on a consolidated basis.
Products and Brands
As used in this report:
“concentrates” means flavorings and other ingredients which, when combined with water and, depending on the product, sweeteners (nutritive or non-nutritive) are used to prepare syrups or finished beverages, and includes powders/minerals for purified water products;
“syrups” means intermediate products in the beverage manufacturing process produced by combining concentrates with water and, depending on the product, sweeteners (nutritive or non-nutritive);
“fountain syrups” means syrups that are sold to fountain retailers, such as restaurants and convenience stores, which use dispensing equipment to mix the syrups with sparkling or still water at the time of purchase to produce finished beverages that are served in cups or glasses for immediate consumption;
“Company Trademark Beverages” means beverages bearing our trademarks and certain other beverages bearing trademarks licensed to us by third parties for which we provide marketing support and from the sale of which we derive an economic benefit; and
“Trademark Coca-Cola Beverages” or “Trademark Coca-Cola” means nonalcoholic beverages bearing the trademark Coca-Cola or any trademark that includes Coca-Cola or Coke (that is, Coca-Cola, Diet Coke/Coca-Cola Light and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar and all their variations and any line extensions, including caffeine free Diet Coke, Cherry Coke, etc.). Likewise, when we use the capitalized word “Trademark” together with the name of one of our other beverage products (such as “Trademark Fanta,” “Trademark Sprite” or “Trademark Simply”), we mean nonalcoholic beverages bearing the indicated trademark (that is, Fanta, Sprite or Simply, respectively) and all its variations and line extensions (such that “Trademark Fanta” includes Fanta Orange, Fanta Zero Orange, Fanta Zero Sugar, Fanta Apple, etc.; “Trademark Sprite” includes Sprite, Sprite Zero Sugar, etc.; and “Trademark Simply” includes Simply Orange, Simply Apple, Simply Grapefruit, etc.).
Our Company operates in two lines of business: concentrate operations and finished product operations.
Our concentrate operations typically generate net operating revenues by selling beverage concentrates, sometimes referred to as “beverage bases,” syrups, including fountain syrups, and certain finished beverages to authorized bottling operations (to which we typically refer as our “bottlers” or our “bottling partners”). Our bottling partners either combine concentrates with still or
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sparkling water and sweeteners (depending on the product), or combine syrups with still or sparkling water, to produce finished beverages. The finished beverages are packaged in authorized containers, such as cans and refillable and nonrefillable glass and plastic bottles, bearing our trademarks or trademarks licensed to us and are then sold to retailers directly or, in some cases, through wholesalers or other bottlers. In addition, outside the United States, our bottling partners are typically authorized to manufacture fountain syrups, using our concentrates, which they sell to fountain retailers for use in producing beverages for immediate consumption, or to authorized fountain wholesalers who in turn sell and distribute the fountain syrups to fountain retailers. Our concentrate operations are included in our geographic operating segments and our Global Ventures operating segment.
Our finished product operations generate net operating revenues by selling sparkling soft drinks and a variety of other finished beverages to retailers, or to distributors and wholesalers who in turn sell the beverages to retailers. Generally, finished product operations generate higher net operating revenues but lower gross profit margins than concentrate operations. These operations consist primarily of our consolidated bottling and distribution operations, which are included in our Bottling Investments operating segment. In certain markets, the Company also operates non-bottling finished product operations in which we sell finished beverages to distributors and wholesalers that are generally not one of the Company’s bottling partners. These operations are generally included in one of our geographic operating segments or our Global Ventures operating segment. Additionally, we sell directly to consumers through retail stores operated by Costa Limited (“Costa”). These sales are included in our Global Ventures operating segment. In the United States, we manufacture fountain syrups and sell them to fountain retailers, who use the fountain syrups to produce beverages for immediate consumption, or to authorized fountain wholesalers or bottling partners who in turn sell and distribute the fountain syrups to fountain retailers. These fountain syrup sales are included in our North America operating segment.
For information regarding net operating revenues and unit case volume related to our concentrate operations and finished product operations, refer to the heading “Our Business — General” set forth in Part II, “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” of this report.
For information regarding how we measure the volume of Company beverage products sold by the Company and our bottling partners (“Coca-Cola system”), refer to the heading “Operations Review — Beverage Volume” set forth in Part II, “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” of this report.
We own and market numerous valuable beverage brands, including the following:
sparkling soft drinks: Coca-Cola, Diet Coke/Coca-Cola Light, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Fanta, Fresca, Schweppes1, Sprite and Thums Up;
water, sports, coffee and tea: Aquarius, Ayataka, BODYARMOR, Ciel, Costa, Dasani, doğadan, FUZE TEA, Georgia, glacéau smartwater, glacéau vitaminwater, Gold Peak, Ice Dew, I LOHAS, Powerade and Topo Chico; and
juice, value-added dairy and plant-based beverages: AdeS, Del Valle, fairlife, innocent, Minute Maid, Minute Maid Pulpy and Simply.
1 Schweppes is owned by the Company in certain countries other than the United States.
The Company has also directly entered the alcohol beverage category in numerous markets outside the United States. In the United States, the Company has established a wholly owned, indirect, firewalled subsidiary, which authorizes alcohol-licensed third parties to use certain of our trademarks and related intellectual property on alcohol beverages that contain Company beverage bases. The Company’s approach in alcohol focuses on three segments of alcohol ready-to-drink beverages: hard seltzers (e.g., Topo Chico Hard Seltzer), hard alternatives (e.g., Lemon-Dou) and pre-mixed cocktails (e.g., Jack Daniel’s & Coca-Cola).
In addition to the beverage brands we own, we also provide marketing support and otherwise participate in the sales of other beverage brands through licenses, joint ventures and strategic relationships. For example, certain Coca-Cola system bottlers distribute certain brands of Monster Beverage Corporation (“Monster”), primarily Monster Energy, in designated territories in the United States, Canada and other international territories pursuant to distribution coordination agreements between the Company and Monster and related distribution agreements between Monster and Coca-Cola system bottlers.
Consumer demand determines the optimal menu of Company product offerings. Consumer demand can vary from one market to another and can change over time within a single market. Our Company continually seeks to further optimize its portfolio of brands, products and services in order to create and satisfy consumer demand in every market.
Distribution System
We make our branded beverage products available to consumers in more than 200 countries and territories through our network of independent bottling partners, distributors, wholesalers and retailers as well as our consolidated bottling and distribution operations. Consumers enjoy finished beverage products bearing trademarks owned by or licensed to the Company at a rate of
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2.2 billion servings each day. Our strong and stable bottling and distribution system helps us capture growth by manufacturing, distributing and selling existing, enhanced and new innovative products to consumers throughout the world.
The Coca-Cola system sold 33.3 billion and 32.7 billion unit cases of our products in 2023 and 2022, respectively. Sparkling soft drinks represented 69% of our worldwide unit case volume in both 2023 and 2022. Trademark Coca-Cola accounted for 47% and 46% of our worldwide unit case volume in 2023 and 2022, respectively. In 2023, unit case volume in the United States represented 16% of the Company’s worldwide unit case volume. Of the U.S. unit case volume, 61% was attributable to sparkling soft drinks. Trademark Coca-Cola accounted for 42% of U.S. unit case volume. Unit case volume outside the United States represented 84% of the Company’s worldwide unit case volume in 2023. The countries outside the United States in which our unit case volumes were the largest were Mexico, China, Brazil and India, which together accounted for 33% of our worldwide unit case volume. Of the non-U.S. unit case volume, 70% was attributable to sparkling soft drinks. Trademark Coca-Cola accounted for 48% of non-U.S. unit case volume.
Our five largest independent bottling partners based on unit case volume in 2023 were as follows:
Coca-Cola FEMSA, S.A.B. de C.V. (“Coca-Cola FEMSA”), which has bottling and distribution operations in Mexico (a substantial part of central Mexico, as well as southeast and northeast Mexico), Guatemala, Colombia (most of the country), Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela, Uruguay, Brazil (a major part of the states of São Paulo and Minas Gerais; the states of Mato Grosso do Sul, Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul, and Santa Catarina; and part of the states of Goiás and Rio de Janeiro), and Argentina (federal capital of Buenos Aires and surrounding areas);
Coca-Cola Europacific Partners plc (“CCEP”), which has bottling and distribution operations in Andorra, Australia, Belgium, Fiji, continental France, Germany, Great Britain, Iceland, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Samoa, Spain and Sweden;
Coca-Cola HBC AG (“Coca-Cola Hellenic”), which has bottling and distribution operations in Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Northern Ireland, Poland, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland and Ukraine;
Arca Continental, S.A.B. de C.V., which has bottling and distribution operations in northern and western Mexico, northern Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, and the state of Texas and part of the states of New Mexico, Oklahoma and Arkansas in the United States; and
Swire Coca-Cola Limited, which has bottling and distribution operations in 11 provinces and the Shanghai municipality in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Cambodia, Vietnam and territories in 13 states in the western United States.
In 2023, these five bottling partners combined represented 42% of our total worldwide unit case volume.
Being a bottler does not create a legal partnership or joint venture between us and our bottlers. Our bottlers are independent contractors and are not our agents.
Bottler’s Agreements
We have separate contracts, to which we generally refer as “bottler’s agreements,” with our bottling partners under which our bottling partners are granted certain authorizations by us. Subject to specified terms and conditions and certain variations, the bottler’s agreements generally authorize the bottlers to prepare, package, distribute and sell Company Trademark Beverages in authorized containers in (but, subject to applicable local law, generally only in) an identified territory. The bottler is obligated to purchase its entire requirement of concentrates or syrups for the designated Company Trademark Beverages from the Company or Company-authorized suppliers. We typically agree to refrain from selling or distributing, or from authorizing third parties to sell or distribute, the designated Company Trademark Beverages throughout the identified territory in the particular authorized containers. However, we typically reserve for us or our designee the right (1) to prepare and package such Company Trademark Beverages in such containers in the territory for sale outside the territory; (2) to prepare, package, distribute and sell such Company Trademark Beverages in the territory in any other manner or form (territorial restrictions on bottlers vary in some cases in accordance with local law); and (3) to handle certain key accounts (accounts that cover multiple territories).
While under most of our bottler’s agreements we generally have complete flexibility to determine the price and other terms of sale of the concentrates and syrups we sell to our bottlers, as a practical matter, our Company’s ability to exercise its contractual flexibility to determine the price and other terms of sale of concentrates and syrups is subject, both outside and within the United States, to competitive market conditions. However, in an effort to allow our Company and our bottling partners to grow together through shared value, aligned financial objectives and the flexibility necessary to meet consumers’ always changing needs and tastes, we have implemented an incidence-based concentrate pricing model in most markets. Under this model, the concentrate price we charge is impacted by a number of factors, including, but not limited to, bottler pricing, the channels in which the finished products produced from the concentrates are sold, and package mix.
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As further discussed below, our bottler’s agreements for territories outside the United States differ in some respects from our bottler’s agreements for territories within the United States.
Bottler’s Agreements Outside the United States
Bottler’s agreements between us and our authorized bottlers outside the United States generally are of stated duration, subject in some cases to possible extensions or renewals. Generally, these bottler’s agreements are subject to termination by the Company following the occurrence of certain designated events, including defined events of default and certain changes in ownership or control of the bottlers. Most of the bottler’s agreements in force between us and bottlers outside the United States authorize the bottlers to manufacture and distribute fountain syrups, usually on a nonexclusive basis.
In certain parts of the world outside the United States, we have not granted comprehensive beverage production and distribution rights to the bottlers. In such instances, we have authorized certain bottlers to (1) prepare and package Company Trademark Beverages for sale to other bottlers or (2) purchase Company Trademark Beverages from other bottlers for sale and distribution throughout their respective designated territories, often on a nonexclusive basis.
Bottler’s Agreements Within the United States
In the United States, most bottlers operate under a contract to which we generally refer as a “Comprehensive Beverage Agreement” (“CBA”) that is of stated duration, subject in most cases to renewal rights of bottlers and in some cases to renewal rights of the Company. A small number of bottlers continue to operate under legacy bottler’s agreements with no stated expiration date for Trademark Coca-Cola Beverages and other cola-flavored Company Trademark Beverages. In all instances, the bottler’s agreements in the United States are subject to termination by the Company for nonperformance or upon the occurrence of certain defined events of default that may vary from contract to contract.
Certain U.S. bottlers have been granted certain additional exclusive territory rights for the distribution, promotion, marketing and sale of Company-owned and licensed beverage brands (as defined by the CBAs). We refer to these bottlers as “expanding participating bottlers” or “EPBs.” EPBs operate under CBAs (“EPB CBAs”) under which the Company generally retained the rights to produce the applicable beverage products for territories not covered by specific manufacturing agreements, and such bottlers purchase from the Company (or from Company-authorized manufacturing bottlers) substantially all of the finished beverage products needed in order to service the customers in these territories. Each EPB CBA has a term of 10 years and is renewable, in most cases by the bottler, and in some cases by the Company, indefinitely for successive additional terms of 10 years each and includes additional requirements that provide for, among other things, a binding national governance model, mandatory incidence pricing and certain core performance requirements. The Company has also entered into manufacturing agreements that authorize certain EPBs that have executed EPB CBAs to manufacture certain beverage products for their own account and for supply to other bottlers.
In addition, certain U.S. bottlers that were not granted additional exclusive territory rights, which we refer to as “participating bottlers,” converted their legacy bottler’s agreements to CBAs, to which we refer as “participating bottler CBAs,” each of which has a term of 10 years, is renewable by the bottler indefinitely for successive additional terms of 10 years each, and is substantially similar in most material respects to the EPB CBAs, including with respect to requirements for a binding national governance model and mandatory incidence pricing, but includes core performance requirements that vary in certain respects from those in the EPB CBAs.
Those bottlers that have not signed CBAs continue to operate under legacy bottler’s agreements that include pricing formulas that generally provide for a baseline price for Trademark Coca-Cola Beverages and other cola-flavored Company Trademark Beverages. This baseline price may be adjusted periodically by the Company, up to a maximum indexed ceiling price, and is adjusted quarterly based upon changes in certain sugar or sweetener prices, as applicable. The U.S. unit case volume prepared, packaged, sold and distributed under these legacy bottler’s agreements is not material.
Under the terms of the bottler’s agreements, bottlers in the United States generally are not authorized to manufacture fountain syrups. Rather, the Company manufactures and sells fountain syrups to authorized fountain wholesalers (including certain authorized bottlers) and some fountain retailers. These wholesalers in turn sell the syrups, or deliver them on our behalf, to restaurants and other retailers.
Promotional and Marketing Programs
In addition to conducting our own independent advertising and marketing activities, we may provide promotional and marketing support and/or funds to our bottlers. In most cases, we do this on a discretionary basis under the terms of commitment letters or agreements, even though we are not obligated to do so under the terms of the bottler’s agreements between our Company and the bottlers. Also, on a discretionary basis in most cases, our Company may develop and introduce new products, packages and equipment to assist the bottlers. Likewise, in many instances, we provide promotional and marketing support and/or funds and/or dispensing equipment and repair services to fountain and bottle/can retailers, typically pursuant to marketing agreements.
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Investments in Bottling Operations
Most of our branded beverage products are prepared, packaged, distributed and sold by independent bottling partners. However, from time to time we acquire or take control of a bottling operation, often in underperforming markets where we believe we can use our resources and expertise to improve performance. Owning a bottling operation enables us to compensate for limited local resources; help focus the bottler’s sales and marketing programs; assist in the development of the bottler’s business and information systems; and establish an appropriate capital structure for the bottler. In line with our long-term bottling strategy, we may periodically consider options for divesting or reducing our ownership interest in a consolidated bottling operation, typically by selling all or a portion of our interest in the bottling operation to an independent bottler to improve Coca-Cola system efficiency. When we sell a consolidated bottling operation to an independent bottling partner in which we have an equity method investment, our Company continues to participate in the bottler’s results of operations through our share of the equity method investee’s earnings or losses.
In addition, from time to time we make equity investments representing noncontrolling interests in certain bottling operations with the intention of maximizing the strength and efficiency of the Coca-Cola system’s production, marketing, sales and distribution capabilities around the world by providing expertise and resources to strengthen those businesses. These investments are intended to result in increases in unit case volume, net operating revenues and profits at the bottler level, which in turn generate increased sales for our Company’s concentrate operations. When our equity investment provides us with the ability to exercise significant influence over the investee bottler’s operating and financial policies, we account for the investment under the equity method.
Seasonality
Sales of our ready-to-drink beverages are somewhat seasonal, with the second and third calendar quarters historically accounting for the highest sales volumes. The volume of sales in the beverage business may be affected by weather conditions.
Competition
The commercial beverage industry is highly competitive and consists of numerous companies, ranging from small or emerging to very large and well established. These include companies that, like our Company, compete globally in multiple geographic areas, as well as businesses that are primarily regional or local in operation. Competitive products include numerous nonalcoholic sparkling soft drinks; water products, including flavored and enhanced waters; juices, juice drinks and nectars; dilutables (including syrups and powders); coffees; teas; energy drinks; sports drinks; milk and other dairy-based drinks; plant-based beverages; functional beverages, including vitamin-based products and relaxation beverages; and various other nonalcoholic beverages. These competitive products are sold to consumers in both ready-to-drink and non-ready-to-drink form. The Company has directly entered the alcohol beverage category in numerous markets outside the United States. In the United States, the Company has established a wholly owned, indirect, firewalled subsidiary, which authorizes alcohol-licensed third parties to use certain of our trademarks and related intellectual property on alcohol beverages that contain Company beverage bases. Competitive products include all alcohol ready-to-drink beverages containing various alcohol bases. In many of the countries in which we do business, PepsiCo, Inc. is a primary competitor. Other significant competitors include, but are not limited to, Nestlé S.A., Keurig Dr Pepper Inc., Danone S.A., Suntory Beverage & Food Limited, AB InBev, Kirin Holdings, Heineken N.V., Diageo and Red Bull GmbH. We also compete against numerous regional and local companies and, increasingly, against smaller companies that are developing microbrands and selling them directly to consumers through e-commerce retailers and other e-commerce platforms. In addition, in some markets, we compete against retailers that have developed their own store or private-label beverage brands.
Competitive factors impacting our business include, but are not limited to, pricing, advertising, sales promotion programs,     in-store displays and point-of-sale marketing, digital marketing, product and ingredient innovation, increased efficiency in production techniques, the introduction of new packaging as well as new vending and dispensing equipment, contracting with marketing assets (theaters, sports arenas, universities, etc.), and brand and trademark development and protection.
Our competitive strengths include leading brands with high levels of consumer recognition and loyalty; a worldwide network of bottlers and distributors of Company products; sophisticated marketing capabilities; and a talented group of dedicated employees. Our competitive challenges include strong competitors in all geographic regions; in many countries, a concentrated retail sector with powerful buyers able to freely choose among Company products, products of competitive beverage suppliers and individual retailers’ own store or private-label beverage brands; new industry entrants; and dramatic shifts in consumer shopping methods and patterns due to a rapidly evolving digital landscape.
Raw Materials
We and our bottling partners use various ingredients in our business, including high fructose corn syrup (“HFCS”), sucrose, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, saccharin, cyclamate, steviol glycosides, ascorbic acid, citric acid, phosphoric acid, caffeine and caramel color; other raw materials such as orange and other fruit juice and juice concentrates, milk, and
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coffee; packaging materials such as polyethylene terephthalate (“PET”), bio-based PET and recycled PET for bottles; and aluminum cans, glass bottles and other containers.
Water is a main ingredient in substantially all of our products. While historically we have not experienced significant water supply difficulties, water is a limited natural resource in many parts of the world, and our Company recognizes water availability, quality and sustainability, for both our operations and also the communities where we operate, as one of the key challenges facing our business.
In addition to water, the principal raw materials used in our business are nutritive and non-nutritive sweeteners. In the United States, the principal nutritive sweetener is HFCS, which is nutritionally equivalent to sugar. HFCS is available from numerous domestic sources and has historically been subject to fluctuations in its market price. Adverse weather conditions may affect the supply of agricultural commodities from which key ingredients for our products are derived. For example, drought conditions in certain parts of the United States or in other major corn-producing areas of the world may negatively affect the supply of corn, which in turn may result in shortages of and higher prices for HFCS. The principal nutritive sweetener used by our business outside the United States is sucrose (i.e., table sugar), which is also available from numerous sources and has historically been subject to fluctuations in its market price. Our Company generally has not experienced any difficulties in obtaining its requirements for nutritive sweeteners. In the United States, we purchase HFCS to meet our and our bottlers’ requirements with the assistance of Coca-Cola Bottlers’ Sales & Services Company LLC (“CCBSS”). CCBSS is a limited liability company that is owned by authorized Coca-Cola bottlers doing business in the United States and Canada. Among other things, CCBSS provides procurement services to our North American operations and to our U.S. and Canadian bottling partners for the purchase of various goods and services, including HFCS.
The principal non-nutritive sweeteners we use in our business are aspartame, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, saccharin, cyclamate and steviol glycosides. Generally, these raw materials are readily available from numerous sources. We purchase sucralose, which we consider a critical raw material, from suppliers in the United States and China. Our Company generally has not experienced major difficulties in obtaining its requirements for non-nutritive sweeteners.
Juice and juice concentrate from various fruits, particularly orange juice and orange juice concentrate, are the principal raw materials for our juice and juice drink products. We source our orange juice and orange juice concentrate primarily from Florida and the Southern Hemisphere (particularly Brazil). We work closely with Cutrale Citrus Juices U.S.A., Inc., our primary supplier of orange juice from Florida and Brazil, to ensure an adequate supply of orange juice and orange juice concentrate that meets our Company’s standards. However, the citrus industry is impacted by citrus greening disease and the variability of weather conditions that can affect the quality and supply of orange juice and orange juice concentrate. In particular, freezing weather or hurricanes in central Florida may result in shortages and higher prices for orange juice and orange juice concentrate throughout the industry. In addition, citrus greening disease is reducing the number of citrus trees and increasing grower costs and prices.
Milk is the principal raw material for our dairy products. We derive the majority of our dairy revenues through fairlife, LLC (“fairlife”), which purchases milk from dairy cooperatives that in turn source milk from farms within the cooperatives. While our sourcing for milk is currently concentrated among a few dairy cooperatives, we believe we have access to alternate suppliers, if necessary, to help ensure an adequate supply of milk.
We generate most of our coffee revenues through Costa. Costa purchases Rainforest Alliance Certified and other green coffee through multiple suppliers. While most of Costa’s coffee is sourced as readily available bulked commercial grade from Brazil, Vietnam and Colombia, many of Costa’s suppliers have vertically integrated supply chains with direct access to yields from cooperatives and producer groups.
Our consolidated bottling operations and our non-bottling finished product operations also purchase various other raw materials, including, but not limited to, PET resin, preforms and bottles; glass and aluminum bottles; aluminum and steel cans; plastic closures; aseptic fiber packaging; labels; cartons; cases; postmix packaging; and beverage gases, including carbon dioxide and liquid nitrogen. While we generally purchase these raw materials from multiple suppliers and historically have not experienced significant shortages, certain packaging materials, such as aluminum cans, are available from a limited number of suppliers.
Patents, Copyrights, Trade Secrets and Trademarks
Our Company owns numerous patents, copyrights, trade secrets and other know-how and technology, which we collectively refer to as “technology.” This technology generally relates to beverage products and the processes for their production; packages and packaging materials; design and operation of processes and equipment useful for our business; and certain software. Some of the technology is licensed to suppliers and other parties. Trade secrets are an important aspect of our technology, and our sparkling beverage and other beverage formulas are among the important trade secrets of our Company.
We also own numerous trademarks that are very important to our business. Depending upon the jurisdiction, trademarks are valid as long as they are in use and/or their registrations are properly maintained. Pursuant to our bottler’s agreements, we
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authorize our bottlers to use applicable Company trademarks in connection with their preparation, packaging, distribution and sale of Company products. In addition, we authorize certain third parties to use applicable Company trademarks in connection with their preparation, packaging, distribution and sale of beverages bearing Company trademarks in certain territories. We also grant licenses to third parties from time to time to use certain of our trademarks in conjunction with certain merchandise and food products.
Governmental Regulation
Our Company is required to comply, and it is our policy to comply, with all applicable laws in the countries and territories throughout the world in which we do business. In many jurisdictions, our operations may come under special scrutiny by competition law authorities due to our competitive position in those jurisdictions.
In the United States, the safety, production, storage, transportation, distribution, advertising, marketing, labeling and sale of our Company’s products and their ingredients are subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act; the Federal Trade Commission Act; the Lanham Act; state consumer protection laws; various federal and state laws and regulations governing competition and trade practices, including the Robinson-Patman Act of 1936, as amended, and the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914, as amended; federal, state and local workplace health and safety laws; various federal and state laws and regulations governing our employment practices, including those related to equal employment opportunity and compensation; various federal, state and local environmental protection laws; privacy and personal data protection laws; and various other federal, state and local statutes and regulations. We are also required to comply with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act. Outside the United States, our business is subject to numerous similar statutes and regulations, as well as other legal and regulatory requirements and regulatory reviews.
Various jurisdictions have adopted, and may seek to adopt, significant additional product labeling or warning requirements or limitations on the marketing or sale of our products because of what they contain or allegations that they cause adverse health effects. If these types of requirements become applicable to one or more of our products under current or future environmental or health laws or regulations, they may inhibit sales of such products or make it necessary for us to reformulate certain of our products. Under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (“Proposition 65”) of the state of California, if the state has determined that a substance causes cancer or harms human reproduction or development, a warning must be provided for any product sold in the state that exposes consumers to that substance, unless the conditions of an exemption (described below) can be met. The state maintains lists of these substances and periodically adds other substances to these lists. The detection of even a trace amount of a listed substance can subject an affected product to the requirement of a warning label. However, Proposition 65 exempts a product from a warning if the manufacturer can demonstrate that the use of that product exposes consumers to a daily quantity of a listed substance that is:
below a “safe harbor” threshold that may be established;
naturally occurring;
the result of necessary cooking; or
subject to another applicable exemption.
One or more substances that are currently on the Proposition 65 list can be detected in certain Company products at low levels that are safe. The Company maintains that the presence of each such substance in Company products is subject to an applicable exemption from the warning requirement or that the product is otherwise in compliance with Proposition 65. However, the state of California and other parties have in the past taken a contrary position and may do so in the future. Additionally, the state of California may include other substances on the Proposition 65 list in the future.
Bottlers of our beverage products presently offer, among other beverage containers, nonrefillable recyclable containers in the United States and various other markets around the world. Some of these bottlers also offer and use refillable containers, which are also recyclable. Legal requirements apply in various jurisdictions in the United States and elsewhere around the world requiring that deposits or certain ecotaxes or fees be charged in connection with the sale, marketing and use of certain beverage containers. The precise requirements imposed by these measures vary. Other types of statutes and regulations relating to beverage container deposits, recycling, ecotaxes, product stewardship and/or restrictions or bans on the use of certain types of packaging, including certain packaging containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”), also apply in various jurisdictions in the United States and elsewhere around the world. We anticipate that additional such legal requirements may be proposed or enacted in the future at federal, state and local levels, both in the United States and elsewhere around the world.
All of our Company’s facilities and other operations in the United States and elsewhere around the world are subject to various environmental protection statutes and regulations, including those relating to the use and treatment of water resources, discharge of wastewater and air emissions. In addition, increasing concern over climate change is expected to continue to result in additional legal or regulatory requirements (both inside and outside the United States) designed to reduce or mitigate the effects of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions on the environment, to discourage the use of plastic materials, to
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limit or impose additional costs on commercial water use due to local water scarcity concerns, or to expand disclosure of certain sustainability metrics. Our policy is to comply with all such legal requirements. We have made, and plan on continuing to make, expenditures necessary to comply with applicable environmental laws and regulations and to make progress toward achieving our sustainability goals. While compliance has not had a material adverse effect on our Company’s capital expenditures, net income or competitive position, changes in environmental compliance requirements along with expenditures necessary to comply with such requirements and to make progress toward achieving our sustainability goals could adversely affect our financial performance.
We are also subject to various federal, state and international laws and regulations related to cybersecurity, privacy and data protection, including the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, China’s Personal Information Protection Law and the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (“CCPA”), which became effective on January 1, 2020, as amended by the California Privacy Rights Act (“CPRA”), which became effective on January 1, 2023. In addition to California, at least 12 other states in the United States have passed comprehensive privacy laws similar to the CCPA and the CPRA. These laws are either in effect or will go into effect sometime before the end of 2026, and we expect other states to consider adopting similar laws in the future. Like the CCPA and the CPRA, these laws create, or are expected to create, obligations related to the processing of personal information, as well as special obligations for the processing of “sensitive” data. Some of the provisions of these laws may apply to our business activities. The U.S. Congress has also considered legislation relating to data privacy and data protection, and the U.S. federal government may in the future pass such legislation. The interpretation and application of privacy, data protection and data residency laws are often uncertain and are expanding in the United States and internationally, including in the European Union, Brazil, China and other jurisdictions. We monitor pending and proposed legislation and regulatory initiatives to ascertain their relevance to and potential impact on our business, and we develop strategies to address regulatory trends and developments, including any required changes to our privacy and data protection compliance programs and policies. Globally, we see a trend toward data protection laws and regulations increasing in complexity and number, and we anticipate that our obligations will expand commensurately. As a result, our ability to maximize the utility of our data could be impacted and we may need to modify our practices to accommodate legal and regulatory constraints and obligations or meet consumer expectations.
For additional information, refer to Part I, “Item IA. Risk Factors” of this report.
Human Capital Management
Our people and culture agendas are critical business priorities. Our Board of Directors, through the Talent and Compensation Committee, provides oversight of the Company’s policies and strategies relating to talent; leadership and culture, including diversity, equity and inclusion; and the Company’s compensation philosophy and programs. The Talent and Compensation Committee also evaluates and approves the Company’s compensation plans, policies and programs applicable to our senior executives. In addition, the Corporate Governance and Sustainability Committee of our Board of Directors oversees succession planning and talent development for our senior executives.
Employees
We believe people are our most important asset, and we strive to attract and retain high-performing talent. As of December 31, 2023 and 2022, our Company had approximately 79,100 and 82,500 employees, respectively, of which approximately 9,000 were located in the United States. The decrease in the total number of employees was primarily due to 2023 refranchising activity. Our Company, through its divisions and subsidiaries, is a party to numerous collective bargaining agreements. As of December 31, 2023, approximately 400 employees in North America were covered by collective bargaining agreements. These agreements typically have terms of three to five years. We currently anticipate that we will be able to successfully renegotiate such agreements when they expire.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
We believe that a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace that reflects the markets we serve is a strategic business imperative that is critical to the Company’s continued growth and success. We take a comprehensive view of diversity, equity and inclusion across different races, ethnicities, tribes, religions, socioeconomic backgrounds, generations, abilities, and expressions of gender and sexual identity.
As of December 31, 2023, we had approximately 7,600 employees located in the United States, excluding the employees of the Global Ventures operating segment; fairlife; and BA Sports Nutrition, LLC (“BodyArmor”). Of these 7,600 employees, 42% and 49% were female and people of color, respectively.
We seek to create a better shared future for everyone our brands and business touch. We are focused on providing access to equal opportunity and fostering belonging both in our workplaces and the local communities we proudly serve. We have publicly announced our 2030 aspirations to reflect the markets we serve, including, for example, to be 50% led by women globally. Each of our operating units outside the United States has developed locally relevant diversity, equity and inclusion
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aspirations. Diversity and inclusion metrics, which highlight progress and help drive accountability, are shared with our senior leaders on a quarterly basis.
We believe our sustainability goals, including our diversity, equity and inclusion aspirations, are key drivers for growth. Accordingly, our compensation programs for our executives include qualitative and quantitative components to foster the design and implementation of sustainable diversity, equity and inclusion strategies and programs that contribute to the recruitment, development and retention of diverse talent, as well as to encourage progress toward our diversity, equity and inclusion aspirations.
We conduct annual pay equity analyses, with regard to gender globally and race/ethnicity in the United States, to help ensure our base pay structures are fair and to identify and address potential issues or disparities. Also, as permitted by U.S. law, during the annual rewards cycle, we perform an adverse impact analysis on base pay, annual incentives and long-term incentives to help ensure fairness. When appropriate, we make adjustments.
We support many employee-led inclusion networks, which are an integral part of operationalizing and embedding our diversity, equity and inclusion strategies. Our inclusion networks are regionally structured to meet relevant local needs, and they provide employees with the opportunity to engage with colleagues around the world based on common interests or backgrounds.
Talent and Development
Through our comprehensive global talent management processes, we continuously identify and develop our talent for acceleration in our networked organization. We believe in providing challenging and diverse experiences and opportunities to our people to help them develop and grow.
Our global career strategy program, called “Thrive,” is designed to provide clarity to employees on what it means to have a career at the Company. Through our people-centered approach, we strive to create an integrated, streamlined and inspiring career experience. We believe that development is anchored in acquiring skills and work experiences. We focus on investing in inspirational leadership, capability development, and providing learning opportunities to equip our global workforce with the skills they need for the future and to improve employee engagement and retention. We provide a range of formal and informal learning programs, which are designed to help our employees continuously grow and strengthen their skills throughout their careers. We provide online learning through a robust catalog of digital content as well as experiential learning opportunities, and we are continually identifying opportunities to provide democratized access to content for all of our employees. We also have Thrive Opportunity Marketplace, a people-centered technology solution that helps connect project opportunities to interested employees who have the capacity, skills and interest in short-term experiences and assignments. Additionally, we offer comprehensive Company-wide coaching and mentoring programs that support leadership and employee development at all levels in our organization.
We also believe that talent thrives in a growth-oriented environment where high performance and leadership effectiveness are valued. Our talent practices rely on data and feedback from multiple sources to help our employees get the transparent and timely feedback they need to be successful.
Compensation and Benefits
Through comprehensive and competitive compensation and benefits, ongoing employee learning and development, and a focus on health and well-being, we strive to support our employees in all aspects of their lives. Our compensation programs are designed to reinforce our growth agenda and our talent strategy as well as to drive a strong connection between the contributions of our employees and their pay.
We believe our compensation packages provide the appropriate incentives to attract, retain and motivate our employees. We provide base pay that is competitive and that aligns with employee positions, skill levels, experience and geographic location. In addition to base pay, we seek to reward employees with annual incentive awards, recognition programs, and equity awards for employees at certain job levels.
We also offer competitive employee benefits packages, which vary by country and region. These employee benefits packages may include: 401(k) plan, pension plan, core and supplemental life insurance, financial courses and advisors, employee assistance programs, tuition assistance, commuter assistance, adoption assistance, medical and dental insurance, vision insurance, health savings accounts, health reimbursement and flexible spending accounts, well-being rewards programs, vacation pay, holiday pay, and parental and adoption leave.
Culture and Engagement
As our employees work together to achieve our purpose to refresh the world and make a difference, they collectively build and reinforce our culture. Our culture is rooted in our growth mindset, which expects each employee, leader and function to be curious, empowered, inclusive and agile. We use a variety of practices to measure and support progress against these growth behaviors and to ensure that our employees are engaged and fulfilled at work. For example, our Performance Enablement and
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Culture & Engagement Survey platforms provide regular opportunities for employees across the organization to provide feedback on how their leaders, teammates and work experiences support the growth behaviors. Data from questionnaires are anonymized and plotted against historical results to inform teams and functions on areas of strength and opportunities for improvement. We also encourage regular, live communication across the organization and host quarterly global town halls with our senior leadership that include employee question-and-answer sessions. In addition, function-level town halls are held on a regular basis.
Available Information
The Company maintains a website at the following address: www.coca-colacompany.com. The information on the Company’s website is not incorporated by reference in this report. We make available on or through our website certain reports and amendments to those reports that we file with or furnish to the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) in accordance with the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (“Exchange Act”). These include our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and our Current Reports on Form 8-K. We make this information available on our website free of charge as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file the information with, or furnish it to, the SEC. In addition, we routinely post on the “Investors” page of our website news releases, announcements and other statements about our business and results of operations, some of which may contain information that may be deemed material to investors. Therefore, we encourage investors to monitor the “Investors” page of our website and review the information we post on that page.
The SEC maintains a website that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC at the following address: http://www.sec.gov.
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
In addition to the other information set forth in this report, you should carefully consider the following factors, which could materially affect our business, financial condition and results of operations in future periods. The risks described below are not the only risks facing our Company. Additional risks not currently known to us or that we currently deem to be immaterial also may materially adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations in future periods.
RISKS RELATED TO OUR OPERATIONS
Unfavorable general economic and geopolitical conditions could negatively impact our financial results.
Our business, operating results, financial condition and liquidity may be adversely affected by changes in global economic conditions, including global inflationary pressures, prevailing interest rates, credit market conditions, increased unemployment, levels of consumer and business confidence, bank failures, commodity (including energy) prices and supply, a recession or economic slowdown, trade policies, foreign currency exchange rates, changing policy positions or priorities, governmental rules and approaches to taxation, levels of government spending and deficits, and actual or anticipated default on sovereign debt. Many of the jurisdictions in which our products are sold have experienced, and could continue to experience, unfavorable changes in economic conditions, which could negatively affect the affordability of, and consumer demand for, our beverages, and certain markets in which our products are sold experienced intensified inflation throughout 2023, which may continue to accelerate in 2024. Under difficult economic conditions, consumers may seek to reduce discretionary spending by forgoing purchases of our products or by shifting away from our beverages to lower-priced products offered by other companies, including private-label brands, which could reduce our profitability and negatively affect our overall financial performance. In addition, the occurrence or resurgence of global or regional health events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and the related governmental, private sector and individual consumer responses, could contribute to a recession, depression or global economic downturn.
Other financial uncertainties in our major markets and unstable geopolitical conditions or events in certain markets, including international conflicts, civil unrest, acts of war, terrorism, governmental changes, or changes in international relations, could undermine global consumer confidence and reduce consumers’ purchasing power, thereby reducing demand for our products. Geopolitical instability may also lead to heightened security risk, impacting employee safety and/or damage to infrastructure or our assets. At times, we have faced product boycotts resulting from activism, which have reduced demand for our products. Restrictions on our ability to transfer earnings or capital across borders, price controls, limitations on profits, retaliatory tariffs, import authorization requirements and other restrictions on business activities, which have been or may be imposed or expanded as a result of political and economic instability, deterioration of economic relations between countries or otherwise, could impact our profitability. In addition, U.S. trade sanctions against countries designated by the U.S. government as state sponsors of terrorism and/or financial institutions accepting transactions for commerce within such countries could increase significantly, which could make it difficult, or even impossible, for us to continue to make sales to bottlers in such countries. The imposition of retaliatory sanctions against U.S. multinational corporations by countries that are or may become subject to U.S. trade sanctions, or the delisting of our branded products by retailers in various countries in reaction to U.S. trade sanctions or other governmental actions or policies, could also negatively affect our business.
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Throughout 2023, the Company faced disruptions to our operations due to international conflicts, including the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and conflicts in the Middle East. These conflicts have resulted, and could continue to result, in volatile commodity markets; logistical, transportation and supply chain disruptions; increased risk of cyber incidents or other disruptions to our information systems; reputational risk; heightened risks to employee safety; business disruptions (including labor shortages); reduced availability and increased costs of transportation, energy, packaging, raw materials and other input costs; sanctions, export controls and other legislation or regulation; or difficulty protecting and enforcing our intellectual property rights. While we currently do not anticipate that the effects of these conflicts will have a material impact on our results of operations, we cannot predict how and the extent to which these conflicts will continue to affect our employees, operations, customers or business partners.
Increased competition could hurt our business.
We operate in the highly competitive commercial beverage industry. For additional information regarding the competitive environment in which we operate, including the names of certain of our significant competitors, refer to the heading “Competition” set forth in Part I, “Item 1. Business” of this report. Our ability to maintain or gain share of sales in the global market or in regional or local markets may be limited as a result of actions by competitors. Competitive pressures may cause the Company and our bottling partners to reduce prices we charge customers or may restrict our and our bottlers’ ability to increase prices, as may be necessary in response to commodity and other cost increases. Such pressures may also increase marketing costs along with in-store placement, slotting and other marketing fees. In addition, the rapid growth of e‑commerce may create additional consumer price deflation by, among other things, facilitating comparison shopping, and could potentially threaten the value of some of our legacy route-to-market strategies and thus negatively affect revenues. If we do not continuously strengthen our capabilities in marketing and innovation to maintain consumer interest, brand loyalty and market share while strategically expanding into other profitable categories of the commercial beverage industry, our business could be negatively affected.
If we are not successful in our innovation activities, our financial results may be negatively affected.
Achieving our business growth objectives depends in part on our ability to evolve and improve our existing beverage products through innovation and to successfully develop, introduce and market new beverage products. The success of our innovation activities depends on our ability to correctly anticipate customer and consumer acceptance and trends; obtain, maintain and enforce necessary intellectual property rights; and avoid infringing on the intellectual property rights of others. If we are not successful in our innovation activities, we may not be able to achieve our growth objectives, which may have a negative impact on our financial results.
Changes in the retail landscape or the loss of key retail or foodservice customers could adversely affect our financial results.
Our industry is being affected by the trend toward consolidation in, and the blurring of the lines between, retail channels, particularly in Europe and the United States. Retailers may seek lower prices from us and our bottling partners, may demand increased marketing or promotional expenditures in support of their businesses, and may be more likely to use their distribution networks to introduce and develop private-label brands, any of which could negatively affect the Coca-Cola system’s profitability. In addition, in developed markets, discounters and value stores are growing at a rapid pace, while in emerging and developing markets, modern trade is growing at a faster pace than traditional trade outlets. Our industry is also being affected by the rapid growth in sales through e-commerce retailers, e-commerce websites, mobile commerce applications and subscription services, which may result in a shift away from physical retail operations to digital channels. As we and our bottling partners build e-commerce capabilities, we may not be able to develop and maintain successful relationships with existing and new e-commerce retailers without experiencing a deterioration of our relationships with key customers operating physical retail channels. If we are unable to successfully adapt to the rapidly changing retail landscape, including the rapid growth in digital commerce, our share of sales, volume growth and overall financial results could be negatively affected. In addition, our success depends in part on our ability to maintain good relationships with key retail and foodservice customers. The loss of one or more of our key retail or foodservice customers could have an adverse effect on our financial performance.
If we are unable to expand our business in emerging and developing markets, our growth could be negatively affected.
Our success depends in part on our ability to grow our business in emerging and developing markets, which in turn depends on economic and political conditions in those markets and on our ability to work with local bottlers to make necessary infrastructure enhancements to production facilities, distribution networks, sales equipment and technology. Additionally, we rely on local availability of talented management and employees to establish and manage our operations in these markets. Scarcity of, or heavy competition for, talented employees could impede our abilities in such markets. Moreover, the supply of our products in emerging and developing markets must match consumer demand for those products. Due to product price, limited purchasing power and cultural differences, our products may not be accepted in any particular emerging or developing market.
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If we do not successfully manage the potential negative consequences of our productivity initiatives, our business operations could be adversely affected.
We believe that improved productivity is essential to achieving our long-term growth objectives and, therefore, a leading priority of our Company is to design and implement the most effective and efficient business model possible. Consequently, we continuously search for productivity opportunities in our business. Some of the actions we may take from time to time in pursuing these opportunities may become a distraction for our managers and employees and may disrupt our ongoing business operations; cause deterioration in employee morale, which may make it more difficult for us to retain or attract qualified managers and employees; disrupt or weaken the internal control structures of the affected business operations; and give rise to negative publicity, which could affect our corporate reputation. If we are unable to successfully manage the potential negative consequences of our productivity initiatives, our business operations could be adversely affected.
If we are unable to attract or retain a highly skilled and diverse workforce, our business could be negatively affected.
The success of our business depends on our Company’s and the Coca-Cola system’s ability to attract, hire, develop, motivate and retain a highly skilled and diverse workforce as well as on our success in nurturing a culture that supports our growth and aligns employees around the Company’s purpose and work that matters most. Competition for, along with compensation and benefits expectations of, existing and prospective employees has increased, especially in light of changing worker expectations and talent marketplace variability regarding flexible work models. In addition, the broader labor market is experiencing a shortage of qualified workers, which has further increased the competition we face for qualified employees. We may not be able to successfully compete for, attract or retain the highly skilled and diverse workforce that we want and may require for our future business needs, such as employees with advanced technology, artificial intelligence and machine learning, social media and digital marketing skills, and/or digital and analytics capabilities. Changes in immigration laws and policies could also make it more difficult for us to recruit or relocate highly skilled technical, professional and management personnel to meet our business needs. In addition, the unexpected loss of experienced and highly skilled employees due to an increase in aggressive recruiting for best-in-class talent could deplete our institutional knowledge base and erode our competitiveness. Failure to attract, hire, develop, motivate and retain highly skilled and diverse talent; to meet our goals related to fostering an inclusive and diverse culture; to develop and implement an adequate succession plan for our management team; to maintain a corporate culture that fosters innovation, collaboration and inclusion; or to design and successfully implement flexible work models that meet the expectations of employees and prospective employees could disrupt our operations and adversely affect our business and our future success.
Disruption of our supply chain, including increased commodity, raw material, packaging, energy, transportation and other input costs, may adversely affect our financial condition or results of operations.
At times, we have experienced, and could continue to experience, disruptions in our manufacturing operations and supply chain. In connection with our manufacturing and bottling operations, we and our bottling partners are dependent upon, among other things, various ingredients and other raw materials and packaging materials. For additional information on the raw materials and supplies we use in our business, refer to the heading “Raw Materials” set forth in Part I, “Item 1. Business” of this report. Some of the raw materials and supplies used in the production of our products are available from a limited number of suppliers or from a sole supplier or are in short supply when seasonal demand is at its peak. We and our bottling partners may not be able to maintain favorable arrangements and relationships with these suppliers, and our contingency plans may not be effective in preventing disruptions that may arise from shortages of any ingredients or other raw materials. Furthermore, some of our suppliers are located in countries experiencing political instability or other risks and/or unfavorable economic conditions. In addition, adverse and extreme weather conditions may affect the supply of agricultural commodities from which key ingredients for our products are derived. Any sustained or significant disruption to the manufacturing or sourcing of products or materials could increase our costs and interrupt product supply, which could adversely impact our business.
We and our independent bottlers operate a large fleet of trucks and other motor vehicles to distribute beverage products to customers. In addition, we and our independent bottlers use a significant amount of electricity, natural gas and other energy sources to operate production plants, bottling plants and distribution facilities. Increases in energy demand have in the past resulted, and could in the future result, in higher energy prices, impacting us and our independent bottlers.
The raw materials and other supplies, including ingredients, agricultural commodities, energy, fuel, packaging materials, transportation, labor and other supply chain inputs that we use for the production and distribution of our products, are subject to price volatility and fluctuations in availability caused by many factors. These factors include changes in supply and demand; supplier capacity constraints; a deterioration of our or our bottling partners’ relationships with suppliers; international conflicts; political uncertainties; acts of terrorism; governmental instability; inflation; weather conditions (including the effects of climate change); wildfires, floods and other natural disasters; disease or pests (including the impact of citrus greening disease on the citrus industry); agricultural uncertainty; health epidemics, pandemics or other contagious outbreaks (including COVID-19); labor shortages, strikes or work stoppages; changes in or the enactment of new laws and regulations; governmental actions or controls (including import/export restrictions, such as new or increased tariffs, sanctions, quotas or trade barriers); port
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congestion or delays; transport capacity constraints; cybersecurity incidents or other disruptions; or fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates. Many of our raw materials and supplies are purchased in the open market and the prices we pay for such items are subject to fluctuation. We expect the inflationary pressures on certain input and other costs to continue to impact our business in 2024.
Our attempts to offset cost pressures, such as through price increases of some of our products, may not be successful. Higher product prices may result in reductions in sales volume. Consumers may be less willing to pay a price differential for our branded products and may increasingly purchase lower-priced offerings, or may forgo some purchases altogether. To the extent that price increases are not sufficient to offset higher costs adequately or in a timely manner, and/or if they result in significant decreases in sales volume, our financial condition or results of operations may be adversely affected. Furthermore, we may not be able to offset cost increases through productivity initiatives or through our commodity hedging activity.
If we do not successfully integrate and manage our acquired businesses, brands or bottling operations, or if we are unable to realize a significant portion of the anticipated benefits of our joint ventures or strategic relationships, our financial results could suffer.
We routinely evaluate opportunities to acquire businesses or brands to expand our beverage portfolio and capabilities. Additionally, from time to time, we have acquired or taken control of bottling operations, often in underperforming markets where we believe we can use our resources and expertise to improve performance. Acquisitions of businesses, brands or bottling operations may involve significant challenges and risks, and the expected benefits, including cost and growth synergies associated with such acquisitions, may take longer to realize than expected or may not be realized at all.
We have encountered, and may in the future encounter, challenges in successfully integrating the operations, technologies, services, products and systems of any acquired businesses, brands or bottling partners in an effective, timely and cost-efficient manner. We have faced, and may in the future face, difficulties in operating through new business models and/or supply chain models, or in new categories or territories, and challenges in extending Company controls (including internal controls over financial reporting, disclosure controls and procedures, data protection and cybersecurity), policies and governance structures (including with respect to food safety and quality, occupational safety, and sustainability) to newly acquired businesses, brands or bottling operations, which, at times, has resulted in increased costs and negative publicity. Our financial performance is impacted by how well we can integrate and manage our acquisitions, and we may not be able to achieve our strategic and financial objectives for acquired businesses, brands or bottling operations. If we incur unforeseen liabilities or costs in connection with acquiring or integrating businesses, brands or bottling operations, experience internal control or product quality failures, or are unable to achieve our strategic and financial objectives for acquired businesses, brands or bottling operations, our consolidated results could be negatively affected.
We also participate in the sales of other beverage brands through licenses, joint ventures and strategic relationships. If we are unable to successfully manage our relationships with our joint venture partners or our strategic relationships, including our relationship with Monster, or if for any other reason we fail to realize all or a significant portion of the benefits we expect from our joint ventures or strategic relationships, our financial performance could be adversely affected.
If our third-party service providers and business partners do not satisfactorily fulfill their commitments and responsibilities, or experience adverse events, our financial results could suffer.
In the conduct of our business, we rely on relationships with third parties, including cloud data storage and other information technology service providers, suppliers, distributors, contractors, joint venture partners and other external business partners, for certain services in support of key portions of our operations. These third parties are subject to similar risks as we are relating to cybersecurity, privacy violations, business interruption, and systems and employee failures, and are subject to legal, regulatory and market risks of their own. Our third-party service providers and business partners may not fulfill their respective commitments and responsibilities in a timely manner and in accordance with the agreed-upon terms or applicable laws. In addition, while we have procedures in place for assessing risk along with selecting, managing and monitoring our relationships with third-party service providers and other business partners, we do not have control over their business operations or governance and compliance systems, practices and procedures, which increases our financial, legal, cybersecurity, reputational and operational risk. If we are unable to effectively manage our third-party relationships, or for any reason our third-party service providers or business partners fail to satisfactorily fulfill their commitments and responsibilities or experience events that could directly or indirectly impact us, our financial results could suffer.
If we are unable to renew collective bargaining agreements on satisfactory terms, or if we or our bottling partners experience strikes, work stoppages or labor unrest, our business could suffer.
Many of our employees at our key manufacturing locations and bottling plants are covered by collective bargaining agreements. While we generally have been able to renegotiate collective bargaining agreements on satisfactory terms when they expire and regard our relations with employees and their representatives as generally satisfactory, negotiations may nevertheless be challenging, as the Company must have competitive cost structures in each market while meeting the compensation and
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benefits needs of our employees. If we are unable to renew collective bargaining agreements on satisfactory terms, our labor costs could increase, which could affect our profit margins. In addition, many of our bottling partners’ employees are represented by labor unions. Strikes, work stoppages or other forms of labor unrest at any of our major manufacturing facilities or at our bottling operations or our major bottlers’ plants could impair our ability to supply concentrates and syrups to our bottling partners or our bottlers’ ability to supply finished beverages to customers, which could reduce our net operating revenues and could expose us to customer claims. Furthermore, from time to time, we and our bottling partners restructure manufacturing and other operations to improve productivity, which may have negative impacts on employee morale and work performance, result in escalation of grievances and adversely affect the negotiation of collective bargaining agreements. If these labor relations are not effectively managed at the local level, they could escalate in the form of corporate campaigns supported by the labor organizations and could negatively affect our Company’s overall reputation and brand image, which in turn could have a negative impact on our products’ acceptance by consumers.
RISKS RELATED TO CONSUMER DEMAND FOR OUR PRODUCTS
Obesity and other health-related concerns may reduce demand for some of our products.
There is concern among consumers, public health professionals and government agencies about the health problems associated with obesity. Ongoing public concern about obesity; other health-related public concerns surrounding consumption of sweetened beverages; the effects or perceived effects of the usage of weight-loss drugs on consumption patterns; potential new or increased taxes on sweetened beverages by government entities to reduce consumption or to raise revenue; additional governmental regulations concerning the advertising, marketing, labeling, packaging or sale of our sweetened beverages; and negative publicity resulting from actual or threatened legal actions against us or other companies in our industry relating to the marketing, labeling or sale of sweetened beverages may reduce demand for, or increase the cost of, our sweetened beverages, which could adversely affect our profitability.
If we do not address evolving consumer product and shopping preferences, our business could suffer.
Consumer product preferences have evolved and continue to evolve as a result of, among other things, health, wellness and nutrition considerations, including concerns regarding caloric intake associated with sweetened beverages and the perceived undesirability of artificial ingredients; concerns regarding the perceived health effects of, or location of origin of, ingredients, raw materials or substances in our products or packaging, including due to the results of third-party studies (whether or not scientifically valid); shifting consumer demographics; changes in consumer tastes and needs coupled with a rapid expansion of beverage options and delivery methods; changes in consumer lifestyles; concerns regarding the environmental, social and sustainability impact of ingredient sources and the product manufacturing process; consumer emphasis on transparency related to ingredients we use in our products and collection and recyclability of, and amount of recycled content contained in, our packaging containers and other materials; concerns about the health and welfare of animals in our dairy supply chain; and competitive product and pricing pressures. In addition, in many of our markets, shopping patterns are being affected by the digital evolution, with consumers rapidly embracing shopping by way of mobile device applications, e-commerce retailers and e-commerce websites or platforms. If we fail to address changes in consumer product and shopping preferences, do not successfully anticipate and prepare for future changes in such preferences, or are ineffective or slow in developing and implementing appropriate digital transformation initiatives, our share of sales, revenue growth and overall financial results could be negatively affected.
Product safety and quality concerns could negatively affect our business.
Our success depends in large part on our ability to maintain consumer confidence in the safety and quality of all of our products. We have rigorous product safety and quality standards, which we expect our operations as well as our bottling partners to meet. However, despite our strong commitment to product safety and quality, we or our bottling partners at times have not met, and may not always meet, these standards, particularly as we expand our product offerings through innovation or acquisitions into beverage categories, such as value-added dairy and plant-based beverages, that are beyond our traditional range of beverage products. We and our bottling partners have had, and may in the future need, to recall products if they become contaminated or adulterated by any means or if they are mislabeled. A widespread product recall could result in significant losses due to the costs of a recall, the destruction of product inventory, and lost sales due to the unavailability of product for a period of time, and could also subject us to product liability claims and negative publicity, all of which could cause our business to suffer.
Public debate and concern about perceived negative health consequences of certain ingredients, such as non-nutritive sweeteners and biotechnology-derived substances, and of other substances present in our beverage products or packaging materials, may reduce demand for our beverage products or result in additional governmental regulation.
Public debate and concern about perceived negative health consequences of certain ingredients in our beverage products, such as synthetic colors, non-nutritive sweeteners and biotechnology-derived substances; substances that are present in our beverage products naturally or that occur as a result of the manufacturing process, such as 4-methylimidazole (“4-MEI”), a chemical
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compound that is formed during the manufacturing of certain types of caramel coloring used in cola-flavored beverages; or substances used in packaging materials, such as bisphenol A (“BPA”), an odorless, tasteless food-grade chemical commonly used in the food and beverage industries as a component in the coating of the interior of cans, may affect consumers’ preferences and cause them to shift away from some of our beverage products. In addition, increasing public concern about perceived or potential health consequences of the presence of ingredients or substances in our beverage products or in packaging materials (or alleged presence of substances such as PFAS) and/or the results of third-party studies (whether or not scientifically valid) purporting to assess the health implications of consumption of certain ingredients or substances present in certain of our products or packaging materials have resulted, and could result, in additional governmental regulations concerning the advertising, marketing, labeling, packaging or sale of our beverages; limitations on the use of certain ingredients or packaging; potential new or increased taxes on our beverages by government entities; and negative publicity, or actual or threatened legal actions against us or other companies in our industry, all of which could damage the reputation of, and may reduce demand for, our beverage products.
If we are not successful in our efforts to digitalize the Coca-Cola system, our financial results could be negatively affected.
The digital evolution is affecting how we interact with consumers, customers, suppliers, bottlers and other business partners and stakeholders. We believe our future success will depend in part on our ability to adapt to and thrive in the digital environment. Therefore, one of our top priorities is to digitalize the Coca-Cola system by, among other things, creating more relevant and more personalized experiences wherever our system interacts with consumers, whether in a digital environment or through digital devices in an otherwise physical environment; finding ways to create more powerful digital tools and capabilities for the Coca-Cola system’s retail customers to enable them to grow their businesses; and digitalizing operations through the use of data, artificial intelligence, automation, robotics and digital devices to increase efficiency and productivity. If we are not successful in our efforts to digitalize the Coca-Cola system, our ability to increase sales and improve margins may be negatively affected, and the cost and expenses we have incurred or may incur in connection with our digitalization initiatives may adversely impact our financial performance.
If negative publicity, whether or not warranted, concerning product safety or quality, workplace and human rights, obesity or other issues damages our brand image, corporate reputation and social license to operate, our business may suffer.
Our success depends in large part on our ability to maintain the brand image of our existing products, build the brand image for new products and brand extensions, and maintain our corporate reputation and social license to operate. However, our continuing investment in advertising and marketing and our strong commitment to product safety and quality and human rights have not always had, and may not in the future always have, the desired impact on our products’ brand image and on consumer preferences. Product safety or quality issues, actual or perceived, or allegations of product contamination, even when false or unfounded, could tarnish the image of the affected brands and may cause consumers to choose other products. In some emerging markets, the production and sale of counterfeit or “spurious” products, which we and our bottling partners may not be able to fully combat, may damage the image and reputation of our products. In addition, from time to time, we and our executives have engaged, and may in the future engage, in public policy endeavors that are either directly related to our products and packaging or to our business operations and the general economic climate affecting the Company. These engagements in public policy debates have been, and could in the future be, the subject of criticism from advocacy groups or others that have a differing point of view and could result in adverse media and consumer reaction, including product boycotts. Similarly, our sponsorship relationships and associations with influencers have subjected us in the past, and could subject us in the future, to negative publicity as a result of actual or alleged misconduct by individuals, hosts or entities associated with organizations we sponsor or support financially or through in-kind contributions, as well as by the influencers we collaborate with who may engage in actions or express opinions that may negatively reflect on our brand. Likewise, campaigns by activists connecting us, or our bottling system or supply chain, with workplace, human rights or animal welfare issues, whether actual or perceived, could adversely impact our corporate image and reputation. Additionally, negative postings or comments on social media or networking websites about the Company or one of its brands, even if inaccurate or malicious, have in the past, and could in the future, generate adverse publicity that could damage the reputation of our brands or the Company. Furthermore, allegations, even if untrue, that we are not respecting internationally recognized human rights; actual or perceived failure by our suppliers or other business partners to comply with applicable workplace and labor laws, including child labor laws, or their actual or perceived abuse or misuse of migrant workers; actual or perceived failure by our suppliers, joint venture partners or other business partners to engage in proper animal welfare practices; and adverse publicity surrounding obesity and health concerns related to our products, water usage, environmental impact, labor relations or the like could negatively affect our Company’s overall reputation and brand image, which in turn could have a negative impact on our products’ acceptance by consumers. In addition, if we fail to respect our employees’ and our supply chain workers’ human rights, or inadvertently discriminate against any group of employees or hiring prospects, our ability to hire and retain the best talent will be diminished, which could have an adverse impact on our overall business.
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If we are unable to successfully manage new product launches, our business and financial results could be adversely affected.
Due to the highly competitive nature of the commercial beverage industry, the Company continually introduces new products and evolves existing products to stimulate consumer demand. For instance, the Company has directly entered the alcohol beverage category in numerous markets outside the United States, and in the United States, the Company has established a wholly owned, indirect, firewalled subsidiary, which authorizes alcohol-licensed third parties to use certain of our trademarks and related intellectual property on alcohol beverages that contain Company beverage bases. The success of new and evolved products depends on several factors, including timely and successful product development, adherence to new global and/or local standards of practice, consumer acceptance and stakeholder perception. Such endeavors may also involve significant risks and uncertainties, including greater execution risks; higher costs; lower rates of sales; distraction of management from existing operations; lower product, category or industry knowledge and expertise; slower than expected or inadequate return on investments; increased competitive pressures; stakeholder scrutiny; and reliance on the performance of third parties. As we become subject to additional governmental regulations, including alcohol regulations related to licensing, trade and pricing practices, labeling, advertising, promotion and marketing practices, and relationships with distributors, we may become exposed to the risk of increased compliance costs and disruptions to our existing business.
RISKS RELATED TO THE COCA-COLA SYSTEM
We rely on our bottling partners for a significant portion of our business. If we are unable to maintain good relationships with our bottling partners, our business could suffer.
We generate a significant portion of our net operating revenues by selling concentrates and syrups to independent bottling partners. As independent companies, our bottling partners, some of which are publicly traded companies, make their own business decisions that may not always align with our interests. In addition, some of our bottling partners have the right to manufacture or distribute their own products or certain products of other beverage companies. If we are unable to maintain operating and strategic alignment or agree on appropriate pricing and marketing and advertising support, or if our bottling partners are not satisfied with our brand innovation and development efforts, they may take actions that, while maximizing     their own short-term profits, may be detrimental to our Company or our brands, or they may devote more of their resources         to business opportunities or products other than those of the Company. Such actions could, in the long term, have an adverse effect on our profitability.
If our bottling partners’ financial condition deteriorates, our business and financial results could be affected.
In the vast majority of our markets, our products are sold and distributed by independent bottling partners, and we therefore derive a significant portion of our net operating revenues from sales of concentrates and syrups to independent bottling partners. Accordingly, the success of our business depends in part on our bottling partners’ financial strength and profitability. While under our agreements with our bottling partners we generally have the right to unilaterally change the prices we charge for our concentrates and syrups, our ability to do so may be materially limited by our bottling partners’ financial condition and their ability to pass price increases along to their customers. In addition, we have investments in certain of our bottling partners, which we account for under the equity method, and our operating results include our proportionate share of such bottling partners’ income or loss. Our bottling partners’ financial condition is affected in large part by conditions and events that are beyond our and their control, including competitive and general market conditions; the availability of capital and other financing resources on reasonable terms; loss of major customers; changes in or additional regulations; or disruptions of bottling operations that may be caused by strikes, work stoppages, labor unrest, natural disasters, international conflicts, acts of war, health epidemics, pandemics or other catastrophic events. A deterioration of the financial condition or results of operations of one or more of our major bottling partners could adversely affect our net operating revenues from sales of concentrates and syrups; and, if such deterioration involves one or more of our equity method investee bottling partners, it could also result in a decrease in our equity income and/or impairments of our equity method investments.
We may from time to time engage in refranchising activities or divestitures of certain brands or businesses, which could adversely affect our business and results of operations.
As part of our strategic initiative to focus on our core business of building brands and leading our system of bottling partners, we continue to seek opportunities to refranchise our consolidated bottling operations. Our refranchising activities require significant attention and effort on the part of, and therefore may be a distraction for, senior management. If we are unable to complete future refranchising transactions on terms and conditions favorable to us, or if our refranchising partners are not efficient or not aligned with our long-term vision for the Coca-Cola system, our business and results of operations could be adversely affected. Additionally, we have divested and may in the future divest certain brands or businesses. These divestitures may adversely impact our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition if we are unable to offset impacts from the loss of revenue associated with the divested brands or businesses, or if we are otherwise unable to achieve the anticipated benefits or cost savings from such divestitures.
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RISKS RELATED TO REGULATORY AND LEGAL MATTERS
Increases in income tax rates, changes in income tax laws or regulations, or unfavorable resolutions of tax matters could have a material adverse impact on our financial results.
We are subject to income tax in the United States and numerous other jurisdictions in which we generate profits. Our overall effective income tax rate is a function of applicable local tax rates in the jurisdictions in which we operate, tax treaties between such jurisdictions, and the geographic mix of our income before income taxes, which is itself impacted by currency movements. Consequently, the isolated or combined effects of unfavorable movements in tax rates, geographic mix or foreign currency exchange rates could reduce our net income. Tax laws and regulations, including rates of taxation, are subject to revisions by individual taxing jurisdictions, and such revisions may result from multilateral agreements.
Many jurisdictions have enacted legislation and adopted policies resulting from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (“OECD”) Anti-Base Erosion and Profit Shifting project. The OECD is currently coordinating a two pillared project on behalf of the G20 and other participating countries which would grant additional taxing rights over profits earned by multinational enterprises to the countries in which their products are sold and services rendered. Pillar One would allow countries to reallocate a portion of profits earned by multinational businesses with an annual global revenue exceeding €20 billion and a profit margin of over 10% to applicable market jurisdictions. While the OECD issued draft language for the international implementation of Pillar One in October 2023, both the substantive rules and implementation process remain under discussion at the OECD so the timetable for any implementation remains uncertain.
In December 2021, the OECD issued Pillar Two model rules which would establish a global per-country minimum tax of 15%, and the European Union has approved a directive requiring member states to incorporate similar provisions into their respective domestic laws. The directive requires the rules to initially become effective for fiscal years starting on or after December 31, 2023. While it is uncertain whether the United States will enact legislation to adopt Pillar Two, numerous countries have enacted legislation, or have indicated their intent to adopt legislation, to implement certain aspects of Pillar Two effective January 1, 2024, with general implementation of the remaining global minimum tax rules by January 1, 2025. The OECD and implementing countries are expected to continue to make further revisions to their legislation and release additional guidance.
The Company will continue to monitor developments to determine any potential impact in the countries in which we operate. To the extent additional legislative changes take place in the countries in which we operate, it is possible that these changes may increase uncertainty and have a material impact on our net income and cash flow. Significant judgment is required in determining our annual income tax expense and in evaluating our tax positions. Although we believe our tax estimates are reasonable, the final determination of tax audits and any related disputes could be materially different from our historical income tax provisions, estimates and accruals. The results of audits or related disputes could have a material adverse effect on our financial statements for the period or periods for which the applicable final determinations are made and for periods for which the statute of limitations is open.
For instance, the United States Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) is seeking to increase our U.S. taxable income for tax years 2007 through 2009 by an amount that creates a potential additional U.S. federal income tax liability of approximately $3.3 billion for that period, plus interest. The Company firmly believes that the IRS’ claims are without merit and is pursuing, and will continue to pursue, all available administrative and judicial remedies necessary to vigorously defend its position. On November 18, 2020, the U.S. Tax Court (“Tax Court”) issued an opinion (“Opinion”) predominantly siding with the IRS. On November 8, 2023, the Tax Court issued a supplemental opinion (together with the original Tax Court opinion, “Opinions”) also siding with the IRS as to the validity of the blocked-income regulations and its application to the Brazilian legal restrictions. Although the Company disagrees with the unfavorable portions of the Opinions and intends to vigorously defend its position, considering all avenues of appeal, there is no assurance that the courts will ultimately rule in the Company’s favor. It is therefore possible that all or some of the unfavorable portions of the Opinions could ultimately be upheld. In that event, the Company would be subject to significant additional liabilities for the years at issue and potentially also for the subsequent years if the unfavorable portions of the Opinions were to be applied to the foreign licensees covered within the scope of the Opinions. Moreover, the IRS could successfully appeal the portions of the Opinions that are favorable to the Company and/or assert new claims for additional tax relating to the subsequent years by broadening the scope to cover additional foreign licensees. These adjustments could have a material adverse impact on the Company’s financial position, results of operations and cash flows. Any such adjustments related to years prior to 2018, either in the litigation period or thereafter, may also have an impact on the transition tax payable as part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“Tax Reform Act”). For additional information regarding the tax litigation, refer to Part I, “Item 3. Legal Proceedings” of this report.
Increased or new indirect taxes could negatively affect our business.
Our business operations are subject to numerous duties or taxes that are not based on income, sometimes referred to as “indirect taxes,” including import duties, tariffs, excise taxes, sales or value-added taxes, taxes on sweetened or aerated beverages, packaging taxes, carbon taxes, property taxes and payroll taxes, in many of the jurisdictions in which we operate. In addition, in the past, the U.S. Congress considered imposing a federal excise tax on beverages sweetened with sugar, HFCS or other
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nutritive sweeteners and may consider similar proposals in the future. As federal, state and local governments in the United States and throughout the world experience significant budget deficits, some lawmakers have singled out beverages among a plethora of revenue-raising items and have imposed or increased, or proposed to impose or increase, sales or similar taxes on beverages, particularly sweetened beverages and alcohol beverages, as well as packaging and/or packaging materials. Increases in or the imposition of new indirect taxes on our business operations or products would increase the cost of products or, to the extent levied directly on consumers, make our products less affordable, which may negatively impact our net operating revenues and profitability.
Changes in laws and regulations relating to beverage containers and packaging could increase our costs and reduce demand for our products.
We and our bottlers offer, among other beverage containers, nonrefillable containers in the United States and in various other markets around the world. Legal requirements have been enacted in various jurisdictions requiring that deposits or certain ecotaxes or fees be charged in connection with the sale, marketing and use of certain beverage containers. Other proposals relating to beverage container deposits, recycling, recycling content, tethered bottle caps, ecotax and/or product stewardship, or prohibitions on certain types of plastic products, packages and cups (including packaging containing PFAS) have been introduced and/or adopted in various jurisdictions, and we anticipate that similar legislation or regulations may be proposed in the future at federal, state and local levels, both in the United States and elsewhere. Consumers’ increased concerns and changing attitudes about solid waste streams and environmental responsibility and the related publicity could result in the adoption of additional such legislation or regulations in the future. If these types of requirements are adopted and implemented on a large scale, they could affect our costs or require changes in our distribution model, which could reduce our net operating revenues and profitability.
Significant additional labeling or warning requirements or limitations on the marketing or sale of our products may inhibit sales of affected products.
Various jurisdictions have adopted, and may seek to adopt, significant additional product labeling or warning requirements or limitations on the marketing or sale of our products because of what they contain or allegations that they cause adverse health effects. If these types of requirements become applicable to one or more of our products under current or future environmental or health laws or regulations, they may inhibit sales of such products or make it necessary for us to reformulate certain of our products, resulting in adverse effects on our business.
For example, under one such law in California, known as Proposition 65, if the state has determined that a substance causes cancer or harms human reproduction or development, a warning must be provided for any product sold in the state that exposes consumers to that substance, unless the exposure falls under an established safe harbor level or another exemption is applicable. For additional information regarding Proposition 65, refer to the heading “Governmental Regulation” set forth in Part I, “Item 1. Business” of this report. If we were required to add Proposition 65 warnings on the labels of one or more of our beverage products produced for sale in California, the resulting consumer reaction to the warnings and potential adverse publicity could negatively affect our sales both in California and in other markets.
Litigation or legal proceedings could expose us to significant liabilities and damage our reputation.
We are party to various litigation claims and legal proceedings in the ordinary course of business, including, but not limited to, those arising out of our advertising and marketing practices, product claims and labels, competition, distribution and pricing, personal data protection and privacy, intellectual property and commercial disputes, tax disputes, and environmental and employment matters. We evaluate these litigation claims and legal proceedings to assess the likelihood of unfavorable outcomes and to estimate, if possible, the amount of potential losses. Based on these assessments and estimates, we establish reserves and/or disclose the relevant litigation claims or legal proceedings, as appropriate. These assessments and estimates are based on the information available to management at the time and involve a significant amount of management judgment. Actual outcomes or losses may differ materially from our current assessments and estimates.
We conduct business in markets with high-risk legal compliance environments, which exposes us to increased legal and reputational risk.
We have bottling and other business operations in markets with high-risk legal compliance environments. Our policies and procedures require strict compliance by our employees and agents with all United States and local laws and regulations and consent orders applicable to our business operations, including those prohibiting improper payments to government officials. Nonetheless, our policies, procedures and related training programs may not always ensure full compliance by our employees and agents with all applicable legal requirements. Improper conduct by our employees or agents could damage our reputation in the United States and internationally or lead to litigation or legal proceedings that could result in civil or criminal penalties, including substantial monetary fines as well as disgorgement of profits.
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Failure to adequately protect, or disputes relating to, trademarks, formulas and other intellectual property rights could harm our business.
Our trademarks, formulas and other intellectual property rights (refer to the heading “Patents, Copyrights, Trade Secrets and Trademarks” in Part I, “Item 1. Business” of this report) are essential to the success of our business. We cannot be certain that the legal steps we are taking around the world are sufficient to protect our intellectual property rights or that, notwithstanding legal protection, others do not or will not infringe or misappropriate our intellectual property rights. If we fail to adequately protect our intellectual property rights, or if changes in laws diminish or remove the current legal protections available to them, the competitiveness of our products may be eroded and our business could suffer. In addition, we could come into conflict with third parties over intellectual property rights, which could result in disruptive and expensive litigation. Any of the foregoing could harm our business.
Changes in, or failure to comply with, the laws and regulations applicable to our products or our business operations could increase our costs or reduce our net operating revenues.
Our Company is subject to various laws and regulations in the countries and territories throughout the world in which we do business, including laws and regulations relating to competition, distribution and pricing, product safety, product design, advertising and labeling, container deposits, recycling, recycled content, product stewardship, the protection of the environment, occupational health and safety, employment and labor practices, machine learning and artificial intelligence, personal data protection and privacy, and data security. For additional information regarding laws and regulations applicable to our business, refer to the heading “Governmental Regulation” set forth in Part I, “Item 1. Business” of this report. Changes in applicable laws or regulations or evolving interpretations thereof, changes in enforcement priorities of regulators, and differing or competing regulations and standards across the markets where our products or raw materials are made, manufactured, distributed or sold, have in the past resulted in, and could continue to result in, higher compliance costs, higher capital expenditures and higher production costs, or make it necessary for us to reformulate certain of our products, resulting in adverse effects on our business. In addition, increased or additional regulations to limit and/or report carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions as a result of concern over climate change; to discourage the use of plastic materials, including regulations relating to recovery and/or disposal of plastic bottles and other packaging materials due to environmental concerns; to limit or impose additional costs on commercial water use due to local water scarcity concerns; or to address wastewater discharge to protect local bodies of water, have in the past and could continue to result in increased compliance costs, capital expenditures and other financial obligations for us and our bottling partners, which could affect our profitability, or may impede the production, distribution, marketing and sale of our products, which could affect our net operating revenues. Failure to comply with various laws and regulations (or allegations thereof), such as U.S. trade sanctions, the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Office of Foreign Assets Control trade sanction regulations and anti-boycott regulations; antitrust and competition laws; anti-modern slavery laws; anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws; data privacy laws, including the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation and China’s Personal Information Protection Law; tax laws and regulations; and a variety of other applicable local, national and multinational regulations and laws, could result in litigation or criminal or civil enforcement actions, including voluntary and involuntary document requests, the assessment of damages, the imposition of penalties, the suspension of production or distribution, costly changes to equipment or processes due to required corrective action, or the cessation or interruption of operations at our or our bottling partners’ facilities, as well as damage to our or our bottling partners’ image and reputation, all of which could harm our or our bottling partners’ profitability.
RISKS RELATED TO FINANCE, ACCOUNTING AND INVESTMENTS
Fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates could have a material adverse effect on our financial results.
We earn revenues, pay expenses, own assets and incur liabilities in countries using many currencies other than the U.S. dollar. In 2023, we derived $29.2 billion of net operating revenues from operations outside the United States. Because our consolidated financial statements are presented in U.S. dollars, we must translate revenues, income and expenses, as well as assets and liabilities, into U.S. dollars at exchange rates in effect during or at the end of each reporting period. Therefore, increases or decreases in the value of the U.S. dollar against other currencies affect our net operating revenues, operating income and the value of balance sheet items denominated in foreign currencies. Global events, including political instability, international conflicts, trade disputes, economic sanctions, inflation, increasing interest rates and emerging market volatility, and the resulting uncertainties, may cause currencies to fluctuate in relation to the U.S. dollar. Due to the geographic diversity of our operations, weakness in some currencies may be offset by strength in other currencies over time. We also use derivative financial instruments to further reduce our net exposure to foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations. However, fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, particularly the strengthening of the U.S. dollar against major currencies or the currencies of large developing countries, could materially affect our financial results.
If interest rates increase, our net income could be negatively affected.
We maintain levels of debt that we consider prudent based on our cash flows, interest coverage ratio and percentage of debt to capital. We use debt financing to lower our cost of capital, which increases our return on shareowners’ equity. This exposes us
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to adverse changes in interest rates. When and to the extent appropriate, we use derivative financial instruments to reduce our exposure to interest rate risks. However, our financial risk management program may not be successful in reducing the risks inherent in exposures to interest rate fluctuations. On December 31, 2021, the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority, the governing body responsible for regulating the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”), ceased to publish certain LIBOR reference rates. Other LIBOR reference rates, including U.S. dollar overnight, 1-month, 3-month, 6-month and 12-month maturities, ceased to be published in July 2023. As a result of the discontinuation of LIBOR, we have amended our LIBOR-referencing agreements to either reference the Secured Overnight Financing Rate or include mechanics for selecting an alternative rate, but it is possible that these changes may have an adverse impact on our financing costs as compared to LIBOR in the long term. Our interest expense may also be affected by our credit ratings. In assessing our credit strength, credit rating agencies consider our capital structure and financial policies as well as the consolidated balance sheet and other financial information of the Company. In addition, some credit rating agencies also consider financial information of certain of our major bottling partners. It is our expectation that the credit rating agencies will continue using this methodology. If our credit ratings were to be downgraded as a result of changes in our capital structure; our major bottling partners’ financial performance; changes in the credit rating agencies’ methodology in assessing our credit strength; the credit agencies’ perception of the impact of credit market conditions on our or our major bottling partners’ current or future financial performance and financial condition; or for any other reason, our cost of borrowing could increase. Additionally, if the credit ratings of certain bottling partners in which we have equity method investments were to be downgraded, such bottling partners’ interest expense could increase, which would reduce our equity income.
If we are unable to achieve our overall long-term growth objectives, the value of an investment in our Company could be negatively affected.
We have established and publicly announced certain long-term growth objectives. These objectives are based on, among other things, our evaluation of our growth prospects, which are generally driven by the sales potential of our many beverage products, some of which are more profitable than others, and on an assessment of the potential price and product mix. We may not be able to realize the sales potential and the price and product mix necessary to achieve our long-term growth objectives.
Default by or failure of one or more of our counterparty financial institutions could cause us to incur significant losses.
As part of our hedging activities, we enter into transactions involving derivative financial instruments, including forward contracts, commodity futures contracts, option contracts, collars and swaps, with various financial institutions. In addition, we have significant amounts of cash, cash equivalents and other investments on deposit or in accounts with banks or other financial institutions in the United States and abroad. As a result, we are exposed to the risk of default by or failure of counterparty financial institutions. The risk of counterparty default or failure may be heightened during economic downturns and periods of uncertainty in the financial markets. If one of our counterparties were to become insolvent or file for bankruptcy, our ability to recover losses incurred as a result of default or to retrieve our assets that are deposited or held in accounts with such counterparty may be limited by the counterparty’s liquidity or the applicable laws governing the insolvency or bankruptcy proceedings. In the event of default by or failure of one or more of our counterparties, we could incur significant losses, which could negatively impact our results of operations and financial condition.
We may be required to recognize impairment charges that could materially affect our financial results.
We assess our noncurrent assets, including trademarks, goodwill and other intangible assets, equity method investments and other long-lived assets, as and when required by accounting principles generally accepted in the United States to determine whether they are impaired and, if they are, we record appropriate impairment charges. Our equity method investees also perform similar recoverability and impairment tests, and we record our proportionate share of impairment charges recorded by them adjusted, as appropriate, for the impact of items such as basis differences, deferred taxes and deferred gains. It is possible that we may be required to record significant impairment charges or our proportionate share of significant impairment charges recorded by equity method investees in the future and, if we do so, our net income could be materially adversely affected.
RISKS RELATED TO CYBERSECURITY AND DATA PRIVACY
If we are unable to protect our information systems against service interruption, misappropriation of data or cybersecurity incidents, our operations could be disrupted, we may suffer financial losses and our reputation may be damaged.
We rely on networks and information systems and other technology (“information systems”), including the Internet and third-party hosted services, to support a variety of business processes and activities, including procurement and supply chain, manufacturing, distribution, invoicing and collection of payments, employee processes, consumer marketing, mergers and acquisitions, and research and development. We use information systems to process financial information and results of operations for internal reporting purposes and to comply with regulatory financial reporting and legal and tax requirements. In addition, we depend on information systems for digital marketing activities and electronic communications among our locations around the world and between Company employees and our bottlers, customers, suppliers, consumers and other third parties. Because information systems are critical to many of the Company’s operating activities, our business may be impacted by
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system shutdowns, service disruptions or cybersecurity incidents. These incidents may be caused by failures during routine operations, such as system upgrades, or by user errors, as well as network or hardware failures, malicious or disruptive software, unintentional or malicious actions of employees or contractors, cyberattacks by hackers, criminal groups or nation-state organizations (which may include deepfake or social engineering schemes, ransomware and other forms of malware, business email compromise, cyber extortion, denial of service, or attempts to exploit vulnerabilities or gain unauthorized access), geopolitical events, natural disasters, failures or impairments of telecommunications networks, or other catastrophic events. Cybercriminals have increasingly demonstrated advanced capabilities, such as use of zero-day vulnerabilities, and rapid integration of new technology such as generative artificial intelligence. In addition, cybersecurity incidents could result in unauthorized or accidental access to or disclosure of material confidential information or regulated personal data. If our information systems or third-party information systems on which we rely suffer severe damage, disruption or shutdown and our business continuity plans do not effectively resolve the issues in a timely manner, we could experience delays in reporting our financial results, and we may lose revenue and profits as a result of our inability to timely manufacture, distribute, invoice and collect payments for concentrates or finished products. Unauthorized or accidental access to, or destruction, loss, alteration, disclosure, falsification or unavailability of, information, or unauthorized access to machines and equipment could result in violations of data protection laws and regulations, misuse or malfunction of machines and equipment, damage to the reputation and credibility of the Company, loss of opportunities to acquire or divest of businesses or brands, and loss of ability to commercialize products developed through research and development efforts and, therefore, could have a negative impact on net operating revenues. In addition, we may suffer financial and reputational damage because of lost or misappropriated confidential information belonging to us, our current or former employees, our bottling partners, other customers or suppliers, or consumers or other data subjects, and may become exposed to legal action and increased regulatory oversight, including governmental investigations, enforcement actions and regulatory fines. The Company could also be required to spend significant financial and other resources to remedy the damage caused by a cybersecurity incident or to repair or replace networks and information systems. These risks are also present with respect to our bottling partners, distributors, joint venture partners and suppliers that generally use separate information systems, not integrated with the information systems of the Company, and that have cybersecurity programs and processes that differ in scope and complexity from our overall cybersecurity programs and processes. While we have established a third-party risk management program to address security risks, including relating to our bottling partners, our ability to monitor their security measures is limited, and we may experience secondary contractual, regulatory financial and reputational harm as a result of cybersecurity attacks, phishing attacks, viruses, malware, ransomware, hacking or similar breaches experienced by our bottling partners. These risks may also be present to the extent a business or bottler we have acquired, but which does not use our information systems, experiences severe damage, a system shutdown, service disruption or a cybersecurity incident.
Like most major corporations, the Company’s information systems are a target of attacks. In addition, third-party providers of data hosting or cloud services, as well as our bottling partners, distributors, joint venture partners, suppliers or acquired businesses that use separate information systems, may experience cybersecurity incidents that may involve data we share with them. Although the cybersecurity incidents that we have experienced to date, as well as those reported to us by our third-party partners, have not had a material effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations, such incidents could have a material adverse effect on us in the future. In order to address risks to our information systems, we continue to make investments in personnel, technologies and training. Data protection laws and regulations around the world often require “reasonable,” “appropriate” or “adequate” technical and organizational security measures, and the interpretation and application of those laws and regulations are often uncertain and evolving; there can be no assurance that our security measures will be deemed adequate, appropriate or reasonable by a regulator or court. Moreover, even security measures that are deemed adequate, appropriate, reasonable or in accordance with applicable legal requirements may not protect the information we maintain against increasingly sophisticated attacks. In addition to potential fines, we could be subject to mandatory corrective action due to a cybersecurity incident, which could adversely affect our business operations and result in substantial costs for years to come. While we have purchased cybersecurity insurance, there are no assurances that the coverage would be adequate in relation to any incurred losses. Moreover, as cyberattacks increase in frequency and magnitude, we may be unable to obtain cybersecurity insurance in types and amounts we view as appropriate for our operations.
If we fail to comply with privacy and data protection laws, we could be subject to adverse publicity, business disruption, data loss, government enforcement actions and/or private litigation, any of which could negatively affect our business and operating results.
In the ordinary course of our business, we receive, process, transmit and store information relating to identifiable individuals (“personal data”), including employees, former employees, vendors, third-party personnel, customers and consumers with whom we interact. As a result, we are subject to a variety of continuously evolving and developing laws and regulations in numerous jurisdictions regarding privacy and data protection. These privacy and data protection laws may include different standards and obligations or may be interpreted and applied differently from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and may create inconsistent or conflicting requirements. In addition, new legislation in this area may be enacted in other jurisdictions at any time or may revise the law in jurisdictions that already have privacy regulations. These laws impose operational requirements
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for companies receiving or processing personal data, and many provide for significant penalties for noncompliance. Some laws and regulations also impose obligations regarding cross-border data transfers of personal data. These requirements with respect to personal data have subjected and may continue in the future to subject the Company to, among other things, additional costs and expenses and have required and may in the future require costly changes to our business practices and information technology and security systems, policies, procedures and practices. In addition, some countries are considering or have enacted data localization or residency laws, which require that certain data be maintained, stored and/or processed within their country of origin. Maintaining local data centers in individual countries could increase our operating costs significantly. Our security controls over personal data, the training of employees and vendors on data privacy and data security, and the policies, procedures and practices we have implemented or may implement in the future may not prevent the improper disclosure of personal data by us or the third-party service providers and vendors whose technology, systems and services we use in connection with the receipt, storage and transmission of personal data. Our bottling partners, distributors, joint venture partners and suppliers have privacy and security controls and policies over personal data that differ in scope and complexity from our policies, procedures and practices, and we may also experience secondary contractual, regulatory, financial and reputational harm as a result of improper disclosure of personal data by our bottling partners. Unauthorized access to or improper disclosure of personal data in violation of privacy and data protection laws could harm our reputation, cause loss of consumer confidence, subject us to regulatory enforcement actions (including penalties, fines and investigations), and result in private litigation against us, which could result in loss of revenue, increased costs, liability for monetary damages, fines and/or criminal prosecution, all of which could negatively affect our business and operating results. We have incurred, and will continue to incur, expenses to comply with privacy and data protection standards and protocols imposed by law, regulation, industry standards and contractual obligations. Increased regulation of data collection, use, disclosure and retention practices, including self-regulation and industry standards, changes in existing laws and regulations, enactment of new laws and regulations, increased enforcement activity, and changes in interpretation of laws, could increase our cost of compliance and operation, limit our ability to grow our business or otherwise harm our business.
RISKS RELATED TO ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL FACTORS
Our business is subject to evolving sustainability regulatory requirements and expectations, which exposes us to increased costs and legal and reputational risks.
We have established and publicly announced sustainability goals and aspirations. We also report progress related to the circular economy of packaging; water stewardship; climate; portfolio; sustainable agriculture; human and workplace rights and diversity, equity and inclusion. These goals reflect our current plans and aspirations and are not guarantees that we will be able to achieve them. Our ability to achieve our sustainability goals and targets and to accurately and transparently report our progress presents numerous operational, financial, legal and other risks and is dependent on the actions of our bottling partners, suppliers and other third parties, some of which are outside of our control. If we are unable to meet our sustainability goals or evolving stakeholder expectations and industry standards, or if we are perceived to have not responded appropriately to the growing concern for sustainability issues, our reputation, and therefore our ability to sell products, could be negatively impacted. In addition, in recent years, investor advocacy groups and certain institutional investors have placed increasing importance on sustainability. If, as a result of their assessment of our sustainability practices, certain investors are unsatisfied with our actions or progress, they may reconsider their investment in our Company. At the same time, there also exists “anti-ESG” sentiment among certain stakeholders and government institutions, and we may face scrutiny, reputational risk, product boycotts, lawsuits or market access restrictions from these parties regarding our sustainability initiatives.
Increasing focus on sustainability matters has resulted in, and is expected to continue to result in, evolving legal and regulatory requirements, including mandatory due diligence, disclosure and reporting requirements, as well as a variety of voluntary disclosure frameworks and standards. We have incurred, and are likely to continue to incur, increased costs complying with such standards and regulations, particularly given the lack of convergence among standards. In addition, our processes and controls may not always comply with evolving standards and regulations for identifying, measuring and reporting sustainability metrics; our interpretation of reporting standards and regulations may differ from those of others; and such standards and regulations may change over time, any of which could result in significant revisions to our goals or reported progress in achieving such goals. In addition, methodologies for reporting our data may be updated and previously reported data may be adjusted to reflect improvement in availability and quality of third-party data, changing assumptions, changes in the nature and scope of our operations (including from acquisitions and divestitures), and other changes in circumstances. Any failure or perceived failure, whether or not valid, to pursue or fulfill our sustainability goals and aspirations or to satisfy various sustainability reporting standards or regulatory requirements within the timelines we announce, or at all, could increase the risk of litigation or result in regulatory actions.
Increasing concerns about the environmental impact of plastic bottles and other packaging materials could result in reduced demand for our beverage products and increased production and distribution costs.
There are increasing concerns among consumers, governments and other stakeholders about the damaging impact of the accumulation of plastic bottles and other packaging materials in the environment, particularly in the world’s waterways, lakes
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and oceans, as well as inefficient use of resources when packaging materials are not included in a circular economy. We and our bottling partners sell certain of our beverage products in plastic bottles and use other packaging materials that, while largely recyclable, may not be regularly recovered and recycled due to lack of collection and recycling infrastructure. If we and our bottling partners do not, or are perceived not to, act responsibly to address plastic materials recoverability and recycling concerns and associated waste management issues, our corporate image and brand reputation could be damaged, which may cause some consumers to reduce or discontinue consumption of some of our beverage products. In addition, from time to time we establish and publicly announce goals and targets to reduce the Coca-Cola system’s impact on the environment by, for example, increasing our use of recycled content in our packaging materials; increasing our use of packaging materials that are made in part of plant-based renewable materials; expanding our use of reusable packaging (including refillable or returnable glass and plastic bottles, as well as dispensed and fountain delivery models where consumers use refillable containers for our beverages); participating in programs and initiatives to reclaim or recover bottles and other packaging materials that are already in the environment; and taking other actions and participating in other programs and initiatives organized or sponsored by nongovernmental organizations and other groups. If we and our bottling partners fail to achieve or improperly report on our progress toward achieving our announced environmental goals and targets, the resulting negative publicity could adversely affect consumer preference for our products. In addition, in response to environmental concerns, governmental entities in the United States and in many other jurisdictions around the world have adopted, or are considering adopting, regulations and policies designed to mandate or encourage plastic packaging waste reduction and an increase in recycling rates and/or recycled content minimums, or, in some cases, restrict or even prohibit the use of certain plastic containers or packaging materials. These regulations and policies, whatever their scope or form, could increase the cost of our beverage products or otherwise put the Company at a competitive disadvantage. In addition, our increased focus on reducing plastic containers and other packaging materials waste has in the past and may continue to require us or our bottling partners to incur additional expenses and to increase our capital expenditures. A reduction in consumer demand for our products and/or an increase in costs and expenditures relating to production and distribution as a result of these environmental concerns regarding plastic bottles and other packaging materials could have an adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
Water scarcity and poor quality could negatively impact the Coca-Cola system’s costs and capacity.
Water is a main ingredient in substantially all of our products, is vital to the production of the agricultural ingredients on which our business relies and is needed in our manufacturing process. It also is critical to the prosperity of the communities we serve and the ecosystems in which we operate. Water is a limited resource in many parts of the world, facing unprecedented challenges from overexploitation, increasing demand for food and other consumer and industrial products whose manufacturing processes require water, increasing pollution and emerging awareness of potential contaminants, poor management, lack of physical or financial access to water, sociopolitical tensions due to lack of public infrastructure in certain areas of the world and the effects of climate change. As the demand for water continues to increase around the world, and as water becomes scarcer and the quality of available water deteriorates, the Coca-Cola system may incur higher costs or face capacity constraints and the possibility of reputational damage, which could adversely affect our profitability.
Increased demand for food products, decreased agricultural productivity and increased regulation of ingredient sourcing due diligence may negatively affect our business.
As part of the manufacture of our beverage products, we and our bottling partners use a number of key ingredients that are derived from agricultural commodities such as sugarcane, corn, sugar beets, citrus, coffee and tea. Increased demand for food products; decreased agricultural productivity in certain regions of the world as a result of changing weather patterns; loss of biodiversity; increased agricultural regulations, including regulation of ingredient sourcing due diligence; and other factors have in the past, and may in the future, limit the availability and/or increase the cost of such agricultural commodities and could impact the food security of communities around the world. If we are unable to implement programs focused on economic opportunity and environmental sustainability to address these agricultural challenges and fail to make a strategic impact on food security through joint efforts with bottlers, farmers, communities, suppliers and key partners, as well as through our increased and continued investment in sustainable agriculture, our ability to source raw materials for use in our manufacturing processes and the affordability of our products and ultimately our business and results of operations could be negatively impacted.
Climate change and legal or regulatory responses thereto may have a long-term adverse impact on our business and results of operations.
There is increasing concern that a gradual increase in global average temperatures due to increased concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is causing significant changes in weather patterns around the globe and an increase in the frequency and severity of natural disasters. Decreased agricultural productivity in certain regions of the world as a result of changing weather patterns may limit the availability or increase the cost of key agricultural commodities, such as sugarcane, corn, sugar beets, citrus, coffee and tea, which are important ingredients for our products, and could impact the food security of communities around the world. Climate change may also exacerbate extreme weather, resulting in water scarcity or flooding, and cause a further deterioration of water quality in affected regions, which could limit water availability for the Coca-Cola system’s bottling operations. Increased frequency or duration of extreme weather conditions could also impair
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production capabilities, disrupt our supply chain or impact demand for our products. Increasing concern over climate change also may result in additional legal or regulatory requirements designed to reduce or mitigate the effects of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions on the environment, and/or may result in increased disclosure obligations. Increased energy or compliance costs and expenses due to increased legal or regulatory requirements may cause disruptions in, or an increase in the costs associated with, the manufacturing and distribution of our beverage products. The physical effects and transition costs of climate change and legal, regulatory or market initiatives to address climate change could have a long-term adverse impact on our business and results of operations. In addition, from time to time we establish and publicly announce goals and targets to reduce the Coca-Cola system’s carbon footprint by increasing our use of recycled packaging materials, expanding our renewable energy usage, and participating in environmental and sustainability programs and initiatives organized or sponsored by nongovernmental organizations and other groups to reduce greenhouse gas emissions industrywide. If we and our bottling partners fail to achieve or improperly report on our progress toward achieving our carbon footprint reduction goals and targets, the resulting negative publicity could adversely affect consumer preference for our beverage products.
Adverse weather conditions could reduce the demand for our products.
The sales of our products are influenced to some extent by weather conditions in the markets in which we operate. Unusually cold or rainy weather during the summer months may have a temporary effect on the demand for our products and contribute to lower sales, which could have an adverse effect on our results of operations for such periods.
ITEM 1B.  UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
Not applicable.
ITEM 1C.  CYBERSECURITY
Cybersecurity Risk Management and Strategy
We face various cyber risks, including, but not limited to, risks related to unauthorized access, misuse, data theft, computer viruses, system disruptions, ransomware, malicious software and other intrusions. We utilize a multilayered, proactive approach to identify, evaluate, mitigate and prevent potential cyber and information security threats through our cybersecurity risk management program. Our cybersecurity risk management program is integrated into our broader Enterprise Risk Management (“ERM”) program, which is designed to identify, assess, prioritize and mitigate risks across the organization to enhance our resilience and support the achievement of our strategic objectives. This integrated approach helps ensure that cyber risks are not viewed in isolation, but are assessed, prioritized and managed in alignment with the Company’s operational, financial and strategic risks, assisting the Company in more effectively managing interdependencies among risks and enhancing risk mitigation strategies.
We devote significant resources to protecting the security of our computer systems, software, networks and other technology assets. Our efforts are designed to adapt with the evolution of information security risks and appropriate best practices and include physical, administrative and technical safeguards. Our practices are generally developed from, and benchmarked against, recognized cybersecurity frameworks, such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework. Our newly acquired businesses and consolidated bottling operations maintain separate cybersecurity programs and processes that may differ in scope and complexity from the Company’s overall cybersecurity programs and processes. However, for all consolidated entities, our cybersecurity risk management program is designed to help coordinate the Company’s identification of, response to and recovery from, cybersecurity incidents and includes processes to triage, assess the severity of, escalate, contain, investigate and remediate incidents, as well as to comply with applicable legal obligations.
Our internal audit team assesses the effectiveness of our internal controls relating to cybersecurity. Our management team also engages certain outside advisors and consultants to assist in the identification, oversight, evaluation and management of cybersecurity risks on a regular basis, as well as to advise on specific topics. For example, we conduct tests that help discover potential vulnerabilities, including external penetration testing and tabletop and other exercises, to evaluate our core information systems and cybersecurity practices that enable improved decision-making and prioritization, as well as to promote monitoring and reporting across compliance functions. As part of our overall risk mitigation strategy, the Company also maintains cyber insurance coverage; however, such insurance may not be sufficient in type or amount to cover us against claims related to security breaches, cyberattacks and other related breaches.
In order to oversee and identify risks from cybersecurity threats associated with the Company’s independent bottling partners, distributors, wholesalers, retailers and other business partners, as well as our use of third-party service providers, we maintain a third-party risk management program designed to help protect against the misuse of information technology. We have various processes and procedures to evaluate cybersecurity threats associated with third parties, including requiring key third-party service providers to complete initial and periodic security assessments. In addition, our Global Chief Information Security Officer (“CISO”) and other senior leaders regularly meet with key bottling partners to discuss cybersecurity risks and
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mitigation programs in order to advance risk management capabilities and proactively share cybersecurity guidelines and best practices.
We have not identified any cybersecurity threats that have materially affected or are reasonably likely to materially affect our business strategy, results of our operations, or financial condition. However, we have been the target of cyber attacks and expect them to continue as cybersecurity threats have been rapidly evolving in sophistication and becoming more prevalent in the industry. We cannot eliminate all risks from cybersecurity threats or provide assurances that we have not experienced an undetected cybersecurity incident in the past or that we will not experience such an incident in the future. For more information on the risks from cybersecurity threats that we face, refer to Part I, “Item 1A. Risk Factors.”
Cybersecurity Governance and Oversight
The Company’s cybersecurity risk management program is supervised by our CISO, who reports directly to the Company’s Chief Information Officer (“CIO”). The CISO and his team are responsible for leading enterprise-wide cybersecurity strategy, policy, standards, architecture and processes. Our current CISO received his Master of Business Administration degree from Columbia University and has over 20 years of cybersecurity experience, including relevant prior senior leadership positions held with three other large companies.
The CISO chairs the Company’s Cybersecurity Oversight Council, a cross-functional management committee that drives awareness, ownership and alignment across broad governance and risk stakeholder groups for effective cybersecurity risk management. The Cybersecurity Oversight Council is sponsored by the Company’s Global General Counsel and CIO and is composed of senior leaders from our privacy, legal, information technology, cybersecurity, internal audit and global security and asset protection functions, among others. Subject matter experts are also invited, as appropriate. The Cybersecurity Oversight Council meets at least quarterly and has responsibility for oversight and validation of the Company’s cybersecurity strategic direction, risks and threats, priorities, resource allocation, capabilities and planning. The Cybersecurity Oversight Council acts in alignment with the Company’s Risk Steering Committee, another cross-functional management committee, which provides strategic direction and oversight over the Company’s ERM program. The CISO and his team, as well as the Cybersecurity Oversight Council, are informed about and monitor the prevention, detection, mitigation and remediation of cybersecurity incidents in accordance with the Company’s cyber incident response plan.
The Audit Committee of the Board of Directors is charged with oversight of cybersecurity matters and receives regular reports from the CISO and the CIO on, among other things, the Company’s cyber risks and threats, the status of projects to strengthen the Company’s information security systems, assessments of the Company’s security program and the emerging threat landscape. In accordance with our cyber incident response plan, the Audit Committee is promptly informed by management of cybersecurity incidents with the potential to materially adversely affect the Company or its information systems and is regularly updated about incidents with lesser impact potential. The Chair of the Audit Committee regularly briefs the full Board on these matters. In addition, the Board also periodically receives cybersecurity updates directly from management.
In an effort to detect and defend against cyber threats, the Company annually provides its employees with various cybersecurity and data protection training programs. These programs cover timely and relevant topics, including social engineering, phishing, password protection, confidential data protection, asset use and mobile security, and educate employees on the importance of reporting all incidents promptly to the Company’s centrally managed cyber defense and security operations.
ITEM 2.  PROPERTIES
Our worldwide headquarters is located on a 35-acre complex in Atlanta, Georgia. The complex includes several office buildings which are used by Corporate employees and North America operating segment employees. In addition, the complex includes technical and engineering facilities along with a reception center.
We own or lease additional facilities, real estate and office space throughout the world, which we use for administrative, manufacturing, processing, packaging, storage, warehousing, distribution and retail operations. These properties are generally included in the geographic operating segment in which they are located, with the exception of our Costa retail stores, which are included in the Global Ventures operating segment, and facilities related to our consolidated bottling and distribution operations, which are included in the Bottling Investments operating segment.
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The following table summarizes our principal production facilities, distribution and storage facilities, and retail stores by operating segment and Corporate as of December 31, 2023:
Principal Concentrate and/or Syrup PlantsPrincipal Beverage Manufacturing/Bottling PlantsPrincipal Distribution and Storage FacilitiesPrincipal Retail Stores
OwnedLeasedOwnedLeasedOwnedLeasedOwnedLeased
Europe, Middle East & Africa— — 27 — 13 
Latin America— — — — — 
North America10 — — 39 — 
Asia Pacific— — — — 
Global Ventures— — — — 1,575 
Bottling Investments— — 81 104 112 — — 
Corporate— — — — — — 
Total31 — 94 116 201 — 1,593 
Management believes that our Company’s facilities used for the production of our products are suitable and adequate, that they are being appropriately utilized in line with past experience, and that they have sufficient production capacity for their present intended purposes. The extent of utilization of our production facilities varies based upon seasonal demand for our products. However, management believes that, with the exception of certain dairy products that require specialized equipment, additional production can be achieved at the existing facilities by adding personnel and capital equipment or, at some facilities, by adding shifts of personnel or expanding the facilities. The Company is in the process of increasing our dairy production capacity. We continuously review our anticipated requirements for facilities and, on the basis of that review, may from time to time acquire or lease additional facilities and/or dispose of existing facilities.
ITEM 3.  LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
The Company is involved in various legal proceedings, including the proceedings specifically discussed below. Management
believes that, except as disclosed in “U.S. Federal Income Tax Dispute” below, the total liabilities of the Company that may arise as a result of currently pending legal proceedings will not have a material adverse effect on the Company taken as a whole.
Aqua-Chem Litigation
On December 20, 2002, the Company filed a lawsuit (The Coca-Cola Company v. Aqua-Chem, Inc., Civil Action No. 2002CV631-50) in the Superior Court of Fulton County, Georgia (“Georgia Case”), seeking a declaratory judgment that the Company has no obligation to its former subsidiary, Aqua-Chem, Inc., now known as Cleaver-Brooks, Inc. (“Aqua-Chem”), for any past, present or future liabilities or expenses in connection with any claims or lawsuits against Aqua-Chem. Subsequent to the Company’s filing but on the same day, Aqua-Chem filed a lawsuit (Aqua-Chem, Inc. v. The Coca-Cola Company, Civil Action No. 02CV012179) in the Circuit Court, Civil Division of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin (“Wisconsin Case”). In the Wisconsin Case, Aqua-Chem sought a declaratory judgment that the Company is responsible for all liabilities and expenses not covered by insurance in connection with certain of Aqua-Chem’s general and product liability claims arising from occurrences prior to the Company’s sale of Aqua-Chem in 1981, and a judgment for breach of contract in an amount exceeding $9 million for costs incurred by Aqua-Chem to date in connection with such claims. The Wisconsin Case initially was stayed, pending final resolution of the Georgia Case, and later was voluntarily dismissed without prejudice by Aqua-Chem.
The Company owned Aqua-Chem from 1970 to 1981. During that time, the Company purchased over $400 million of insurance coverage, which also insures Aqua-Chem for some of its prior and future costs for certain product liability and other claims. The Company sold Aqua-Chem to Lyonnaise American Holding, Inc., in 1981 under the terms of a stock sale agreement. The 1981 agreement, and a subsequent 1983 settlement agreement, outlined the parties’ rights and obligations concerning past and future claims and lawsuits involving Aqua-Chem. Cleaver-Brooks, a division of Aqua-Chem, manufactured boilers, some of which contained asbestos gaskets. Aqua-Chem was first named as a defendant in asbestos lawsuits in or around 1985 and currently has approximately 15,000 active claims pending against it.
The parties agreed in 2004 to stay the Georgia Case pending the outcome of insurance coverage litigation filed by certain Aqua-Chem insurers on March 26, 2004. In the coverage action, five plaintiff insurance companies filed suit (Century Indemnity Company, et al. v. Aqua-Chem, Inc., The Coca-Cola Company, et al., Case No. 04CV002852) in the Circuit Court, Civil Division of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, against the Company, Aqua-Chem and 16 insurance companies. Several of the policies that were the subject of the coverage action had been issued to the Company during the period (1970 to 1981) when the Company owned Aqua-Chem. The complaint sought a determination of the respective rights and obligations under the insurance policies issued with regard to asbestos-related claims against Aqua-Chem. The action also sought a monetary
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judgment reimbursing any amounts paid by the plaintiffs in excess of their obligations. Two of the insurers, one with a $15 million policy limit and one with a $25 million policy limit, asserted cross-claims against the Company, alleging that the Company and/or its insurers are responsible for Aqua-Chem’s asbestos liabilities before any obligation is triggered on the part of the cross-claimant insurers to pay for such costs under their policies.
Aqua-Chem and the Company filed and obtained a partial summary judgment determination in the coverage action that the insurers for Aqua-Chem and the Company were jointly and severally liable for coverage amounts, but reserving judgment on other defenses that might apply. During the course of the Wisconsin insurance coverage litigation, Aqua-Chem and the Company reached settlements with several of the insurers, including plaintiffs, who paid funds into escrow accounts for payment of costs arising from the asbestos claims against Aqua-Chem. On July 24, 2007, the Wisconsin trial court entered a final declaratory judgment regarding the rights and obligations of the parties under the insurance policies issued by the remaining defendant insurers, which judgment was not appealed. The judgment directs, among other things, that each insurer whose policy is triggered is jointly and severally liable for 100% of Aqua-Chem’s losses up to policy limits. The court’s judgment concluded the Wisconsin insurance coverage litigation.
The Company and Aqua-Chem continued to pursue and obtain coverage agreements for the asbestos-related claims against Aqua-Chem with those insurance companies that did not settle in the Wisconsin insurance coverage litigation. The Company anticipated that a final settlement with three of those insurers (“Chartis insurers”) would be finalized in May 2011, but the Chartis insurers repudiated their settlement commitments and, as a result, Aqua-Chem and the Company filed suit against them in Wisconsin state court to enforce the coverage-in-place settlement or, in the alternative, to obtain a declaratory judgment validating Aqua-Chem and the Company’s interpretation of the court’s judgment in the Wisconsin insurance coverage litigation.
In February 2012, the parties filed and argued a number of cross-motions for summary judgment related to the issues of the enforceability of the settlement agreement and the exhaustion of policies underlying those of the Chartis insurers. The court granted defendants’ motions for summary judgment that the 2011 Settlement Agreement and 2010 Term Sheet were not binding contracts, but denied their similar motions related to plaintiffs’ claims for promissory and/or equitable estoppel. On or about May 15, 2012, the parties entered into a mutually agreeable settlement/stipulation resolving two major issues: exhaustion of underlying coverage and control of defense. On or about January 10, 2013, the parties reached a settlement of the estoppel claims and all of the remaining coverage issues, with the exception of one disputed issue relating to the scope of the Chartis insurers’ defense obligations in two policy years. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the Company and Aqua-Chem on that one open issue and entered a final appealable judgment to that effect following the parties’ settlement. On January 23, 2013, the Chartis insurers filed a notice of appeal of the trial court’s summary judgment ruling. On October 29, 2013, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of the Company and Aqua-Chem. On November 27, 2013, the Chartis insurers filed a petition for review in the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, and on December 11, 2013, the Company filed its opposition to that petition. On April 16, 2014, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin denied the Chartis insurers’ petition for review.
The Georgia Case remains subject to the stay agreed to in 2004.
U.S. Federal Income Tax Dispute
On September 17, 2015, the Company received a Statutory Notice of Deficiency (“Notice”) from the IRS seeking approximately $3.3 billion of additional federal income tax for years 2007 through 2009. In the Notice, the IRS stated its intent to reallocate over $9 billion of income to the U.S. parent company from certain of its foreign affiliates that the U.S. parent company licensed to manufacture, distribute, sell, market and promote its products in certain non-U.S. markets.
The Notice concerned the Company’s transfer pricing between its U.S. parent company and certain of its foreign affiliates. IRS rules governing transfer pricing require arm’s-length pricing of transactions between related parties such as the Company’s U.S. parent and its foreign affiliates.
To resolve the same transfer pricing issue for the tax years 1987 through 1995, the Company and the IRS had agreed in 1996 on an arm’s-length methodology for determining the amount of U.S. taxable income that the U.S. parent company would report as compensation from its foreign licensees. The Company and the IRS memorialized this accord in a closing agreement resolving that dispute (“Closing Agreement”). The Closing Agreement provided that, absent a change in material facts or circumstances or relevant federal tax law, in calculating the Company’s income taxes going forward, the Company would not be assessed penalties by the IRS for using the agreed-upon tax calculation methodology that the Company and the IRS agreed would be used for the 1987 through 1995 tax years.
The IRS audited and confirmed the Company’s compliance with the agreed-upon Closing Agreement methodology in five successive audit cycles for tax years 1996 through 2006.
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The September 17, 2015, Notice from the IRS retroactively rejected the previously agreed-upon methodology for the 2007 through 2009 tax years in favor of an entirely different methodology, without prior notice to the Company. Using the new tax calculation methodology, the IRS reallocated over $9 billion of income to the U.S. parent company from its foreign licensees for tax years 2007 through 2009. Consistent with the Closing Agreement, the IRS did not assert penalties, and it has yet to do so.
The IRS designated the Company’s matter for litigation on October 15, 2015. Litigation designation is an IRS determination that forecloses to a company any and all alternative means for resolution of a tax dispute. As a result of the IRS’ designation of the Company’s matter for litigation, the Company was forced to either accept the IRS’ newly imposed tax assessment and pay the full amount of the asserted tax or litigate the matter in the federal courts. The matter remains subject to the IRS’ litigation designation, preventing the Company from any attempt to settle or otherwise mutually resolve the matter with the IRS.
The Company consequently initiated litigation by filing a petition in the Tax Court in December 2015, challenging the tax adjustments enumerated in the Notice.
Prior to trial, the IRS increased its transfer pricing adjustment by $385 million, resulting in an additional tax adjustment of $135 million. The Company obtained a summary judgment in its favor on a different matter related to Mexican foreign tax credits, which thereafter effectively reduced the IRS’ potential tax adjustment by $138 million.
The trial was held in the Tax Court from March through May 2018, and final post-trial briefs were filed and exchanged in April 2019.
On November 18, 2020, the Tax Court issued the Opinion in which it predominantly sided with the IRS but agreed with the Company that dividends previously paid by the foreign licensees to the U.S. parent company in reliance upon the Closing Agreement should continue to be allowed to offset royalties, including those that would become payable to the Company in accordance with the Opinion. On November 8, 2023, the Tax Court issued a supplemental opinion, siding with the IRS in concluding both that the blocked-income regulations apply to the Company’s operations and that the Tax Court opinion in 3M Co. & Subs. v. Commissioner (February 9, 2023) controlled as to the validity of those regulations.
The Company believes that the IRS and the Tax Court misinterpreted and misapplied the applicable regulations in reallocating income earned by the Company’s foreign licensees to increase the Company’s U.S. tax. Moreover, the Company believes that the retroactive imposition of such tax liability using a calculation methodology different from that previously agreed upon by the IRS and the Company, and audited by the IRS for over a decade, is unconstitutional. The Company intends to assert its claims on appeal and vigorously defend its position.
In determining the amount of tax reserve to be recorded as of December 31, 2020, the Company completed the required two-step evaluation process prescribed by Accounting Standards Codification 740, Accounting for Income Taxes. In doing so, we consulted with outside advisors, and we reviewed and considered relevant laws, rules, and regulations, including, but not limited to, the Opinions and relevant caselaw. We also considered our intention to vigorously defend our positions and assert our various well-founded legal claims via every available avenue of appeal. We concluded, based on the technical and legal merits of the Company’s tax positions, that it is more likely than not the Company’s tax positions will ultimately be sustained on appeal. In addition, we considered a number of alternative transfer pricing methodologies, including the methodology asserted by the IRS and affirmed in the Opinions (“Tax Court Methodology”), that could be applied by the courts upon final resolution of the litigation. Based on the required probability analysis, we determined the methodologies we believe the federal courts could ultimately order to be used in calculating the Company’s tax. As a result of this analysis, we recorded a tax reserve of $438 million during the year ended December 31, 2020 related to the application of the resulting methodologies as well as the different tax treatment applicable to dividends originally paid to the U.S. parent company by its foreign licensees, in reliance upon the Closing Agreement, that would be recharacterized as royalties in accordance with the Opinions and the Company’s analysis.
The Company’s conclusion that it is more likely than not the Company’s tax positions will ultimately be sustained on appeal is unchanged as of December 31, 2023. However, we updated our calculation of the methodologies we believe the federal courts could ultimately order to be used in calculating the Company’s tax. As a result of the application of the required probability analysis to these updated calculations and the accrual of interest through the current reporting period, we updated our tax reserve as of December 31, 2023 to $439 million.
While the Company strongly disagrees with the IRS’ positions and the portions of the Opinions affirming such positions, it is possible that some portion or all of the adjustment proposed by the IRS and sustained by the Tax Court could ultimately be upheld. In that event, the Company would likely be subject to significant additional liabilities for tax years 2007 through 2009, and potentially also for subsequent years, which could have a material adverse impact on the Company’s financial position, results of operations and cash flows.
The Company calculated the potential impact of applying the Tax Court Methodology to reallocate income from foreign licensees potentially covered within the scope of the Opinions, assuming such methodology were to be ultimately upheld by the
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courts, and the IRS were to decide to apply that methodology to subsequent years, with consent of the federal courts. This impact would include taxes and interest accrued through December 31, 2023 for the 2007 through 2009 litigated tax years and for subsequent tax years from 2010 through 2023. The calculations incorporated the estimated impact of correlative adjustments to the previously accrued transition tax payable under the Tax Reform Act. The Company estimates that the potential aggregate incremental tax and interest liability could be approximately $16 billion as of December 31, 2023. Additional income tax and interest would continue to accrue until the time any such potential liability, or portion thereof, were to be paid. We currently project the continued application of the Tax Court Methodology in future years, assuming similar facts and circumstances as of December 31, 2023, would result in an incremental annual tax liability that would increase the Company’s effective tax rate by approximately 3.5%.
The Company and the IRS are now in the process of agreeing on the tax impacts of the Opinions. Subsequent to the completion of this process, the Tax Court will render a decision in the case. The Company will have 90 days thereafter to file a notice of appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. The IRS will then seek to collect, and the Company expects to pay, any additional tax related to the 2007 through 2009 tax years reflected in the Tax Court decision (and interest thereon). The Company currently estimates that the payment to be made at that time related to the 2007 through 2009 tax years, which is included in the above estimate of the potential aggregate incremental tax and interest liability, would be approximately $5.8 billion (including interest accrued through December 31, 2023), plus any additional interest accrued through the time of payment. Some or all of this amount, plus accrued interest, would be refunded if the Company were to prevail on appeal.
ITEM 4.  MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
Not applicable.
ITEM X.  INFORMATION ABOUT OUR EXECUTIVE OFFICERS
The following are the executive officers of our Company as of February 20, 2024:
NameAgePosition
Manuel Arroyo
56
Executive Vice President since January 2024. Global Chief Marketing Officer since January 2020 and, prior to that, President of the Asia Pacific Group from January 2019 to December 2020. President of the Mexico business unit from July 2017 to December 2018, and prior to that, General Manager for Iberia from February 2017. Prior to rejoining the Company in February 2017, Chief Executive Officer of Deoleo, S.A., a Spanish multinational olive oil processing company, from May 2015 to September 2016, and Senior Vice President and President, Asia Pacific, of S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc., a multinational consumer product manufacturer, from September 2014 to May 2015. President of the Company’s ASEAN business unit from 2010 to August 2014.
Henrique Braun

55
Executive Vice President since January 2024 and President, International Development, with oversight of seven of the Company’s operating units, since January 2023. President of the Latin America operating unit from October 2020 to December 2022. President of the Brazil business unit from September 2016 to September 2020, and President of the Greater China and Korea business unit from April 2013 to August 2016.
Lisa Chang55Executive Vice President since January 2024 and Global Chief People Officer since March 2019 when she joined the Company. Senior Vice President from March 2019 to December 2023. Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer for AMB Group LLC, which is the investment management and shared services arm of The Blank Family of Businesses, from 2014 through 2018. Prior to joining AMB Group LLC, Vice President of Human Resources for International at Equifax Inc. from 2013 through 2014, where she led human resources for all of its global locations.
Monica Howard Douglas51
Executive Vice President since January 2024 and Global General Counsel since April 2021. Senior Vice President from April 2021 to December 2023, and Chief Compliance Officer and Associate General Counsel of the North America operating unit from January 2018 to April 2021. Legal Director for the Southern and East Africa business unit from September 2013 to December 2017, and Vice President of Supply Chain and Consumer Affairs and Senior Managing Counsel, Coca-Cola Refreshments, from 2008 to September 2013.
Nikolaos Koumettis59President, Europe operating unit since January 2021, and prior to that, President of the Europe, Middle East and Africa Group from January 2019. President of the Central and Eastern Europe business unit from April 2016 to December 2018, and President of the Central and Southern Europe business unit from April 2011 to April 2016.
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NameAgePosition
Jennifer K. Mann51Executive Vice President since January 2024 and President, North America operating unit since January 2023. Senior Vice President from May 2017 to December 2023. President, Global Ventures from January 2019 to December 2022, Chief People Officer from May 2017 to March 2019, and Chief of Staff for James Quincey, then President and Chief Operating Officer and later Chief Executive Officer, from October 2015 to October 2018. Vice President and General Manager of Coca-Cola Freestyle from June 2012 to October 2015.
John Murphy62President since October 2022 and Chief Financial Officer since March 2019. Executive Vice President from March 2019 to September 2022, and prior to that, Senior Vice President and Deputy Chief Financial Officer from January 2019 to March 2019. President of the Asia Pacific Group from August 2016 to December 2018, and President of the South Latin business unit from January 2013 to August 2016.
Beatriz Perez54Executive Vice President since January 2024 and Global Chief Communications, Sustainability and Strategic Partnerships Officer since May 2017. Senior Vice President from May 2017 to December 2023. Served as the Company’s first Chief Sustainability Officer from July 2011 to April 2017, and as Vice President, Global Partnerships and Licensing, Retail and Attractions from July 2016 to April 2017. Chair of The Coca-Cola Foundation, Inc., the Company’s primary international philanthropic arm, since October 2017.
Bruno Pietracci49President, Latin America operating unit since February 2023, and prior to that, President of the Africa operating unit from January 2021 to January 2023. President of the Africa and Middle East business unit from February 2020 to December 2020, President of the South and East Africa business unit from July 2018 to January 2020, and Vice President of operations for the Europe, Middle East and Africa Group from November 2016 to June 2018.
Nancy Quan57Executive Vice President since January 2024, and prior to that, Senior Vice President from January 2019 to December 2023. Global Chief Technical and Innovation Officer since February 2021, Chief Technical Officer from January 2019 to February 2021, and Chief Technical Officer of Coca-Cola North America from July 2016 to December 2018. Global R&D Officer from January 2012 to July 2016.
James Quincey59Chairman of the Board of Directors since April 2019 and Chief Executive Officer since May 2017. Elected to the Board of Directors in April 2017. President from August 2015 to December 2018, and Chief Operating Officer from August 2015 to April 2017.
All executive officers serve at the pleasure of the Board of Directors. There is no family relationship between any of the Directors or executive officers of the Company.
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Part II
ITEM 5.  MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
The principal United States market in which the Company’s common stock is listed and traded is the New York Stock Exchange and the corresponding trading symbol is “KO.”
While we have historically paid dividends to holders of our common stock on a quarterly basis, the declaration and payment of future dividends will depend on many factors, including, but not limited to, our earnings, financial condition, business development needs and regulatory considerations, and are at the discretion of our Board of Directors.
As of February 16, 2024, there were 182,362 shareowner accounts of record. This figure does not include a substantially greater number of “street name” holders or beneficial holders of our common stock, whose shares are held of record by banks, brokers and other financial institutions.
The information under the subheading “Equity Compensation Plan Information” under the principal heading “Compensation” in the Company’s Proxy Statement for the 2024 Annual Meeting of Shareowners (“Company’s 2024 Proxy Statement”), to be filed with the SEC, is incorporated herein by reference.
During the year ended December 31, 2023, no equity securities of the Company were sold by the Company that were not registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.
The following table presents information with respect to purchases of common stock of the Company made during the three months ended December 31, 2023 by the Company or any “affiliated purchaser” of the Company as defined in Rule 10b-18(a)(3) under the Exchange Act:
PeriodTotal Number of
Shares Purchased
1
Average
Price Paid
Per Share
Total Number of
Shares Purchased as Part of the Publicly
Announced Plan
2
Maximum Number of Shares That May
Yet Be Purchased
Under the Publicly
Announced Plan
September 30, 2023 through October 27, 20232,660,342 $55.28 2,660,200 119,149,975 
October 28, 2023 through November 24, 20238,576,806 57.02 8,576,806 110,573,169 
November 25, 2023 through December 31, 20237,731,904 58.70 7,721,097 102,852,072 
Total18,969,052 $57.46 18,958,103 
1The total number of shares purchased includes: (1) shares purchased, if any, pursuant to the 2019 Plan described in footnote 2 below, and (2) shares surrendered, if any, to the Company to pay the exercise price and/or to satisfy tax withholding obligations in connection with so-called stock swap exercises of employee stock options and/or the vesting of restricted stock issued to employees.
2In February 2019, the Company publicly announced that our Board of Directors had authorized a plan (“2019 Plan”) for the Company to purchase up to 150 million shares of our common stock. This column discloses the number of shares purchased, if any, pursuant to the 2019 Plan during the indicated time periods (including shares purchased pursuant to the terms of preset trading plans meeting the requirements of Rule 10b5-1 under the Exchange Act).









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Performance Graph
Comparison of Five-Year Cumulative Total Shareowner Return Among The Coca-Cola Company,
the Dow Jones U.S. Food & Beverage Total Return Index and the S&P 500 Index
2662

December 31,201820192020202120222023
The Coca-Cola Company$100 $121 $124 $138 $152 $145 
Dow Jones U.S. Food & Beverage Total Return Index100 125 135 153 165 158 
S&P 500 Index100 131 156 200 164 207 
The total shareowner return is based on a $100 investment on December 31, 2018 and assumes that dividends were reinvested on the day of issuance.
ITEM 6.  RESERVED
ITEM 7.  MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
The following Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (“MD&A”) is intended to help the reader understand The Coca-Cola Company, our operations and our present business environment. MD&A is provided as a supplement to, and should be read in conjunction with, our consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes thereto contained in “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this report. MD&A includes the following sections:
Our Business — a general description of our business and its challenges and risks.
Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates — a discussion of accounting policies that require critical judgments and estimates.
Operations Review — an analysis of our consolidated results of operations for 2023 and 2022 and year-to-year comparisons between 2023 and 2022. An analysis of our consolidated results of operations for 2022 and 2021 and year-
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to-year comparisons between 2022 and 2021 can be found in MD&A in Part II, Item 7 of the Company’s Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022.
Liquidity, Capital Resources and Financial Position — an analysis of cash flows, contractual obligations, foreign exchange, and the impact of inflation and changing prices.
OUR BUSINESS
General
The Coca-Cola Company is a total beverage company, and beverage products bearing our trademarks, sold in the United States since 1886, are now sold in more than 200 countries and territories. We own or license and market numerous beverage brands, which we group into the following categories: Trademark Coca-Cola; sparkling flavors; water, sports, coffee and tea; juice, value-added dairy and plant-based beverages; and emerging beverages. We own and market several of the world’s largest nonalcoholic sparkling soft drink brands, including Coca-Cola, Sprite, Fanta, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar and Diet Coke/Coca-Cola Light.
We make our branded beverage products available to consumers throughout the world through our network of independent bottling partners, distributors, wholesalers and retailers as well as the Company’s consolidated bottling and distribution operations. Beverages bearing trademarks owned by or licensed to us account for 2.2 billion of the estimated 64 billion servings of all beverages consumed worldwide every day.
We believe our success depends on our ability to connect with consumers by providing them with a wide variety of beverage options to meet their desires, needs and lifestyles. Our success further depends on the ability of our people to execute effectively, every day.
Our Company operates in two lines of business: concentrate operations and finished product operations.
Our concentrate operations typically generate net operating revenues by selling beverage concentrates, sometimes referred to as “beverage bases,” syrups, including fountain syrups, and certain finished beverages to authorized bottling operations (to which we typically refer as our “bottlers” or our “bottling partners”). Our bottling partners either combine concentrates with still or sparkling water and sweeteners (depending on the product), or combine syrups with still or sparkling water, to produce finished beverages. The finished beverages are packaged in authorized containers, such as cans and refillable and nonrefillable glass and plastic bottles, bearing our trademarks or trademarks licensed to us and are then sold to retailers directly or, in some cases, through wholesalers or other bottlers. In addition, outside the United States, our bottling partners are typically authorized to manufacture fountain syrups, using our concentrates, which they sell to fountain retailers for use in producing beverages for immediate consumption, or to authorized fountain wholesalers who in turn sell and distribute the fountain syrups to fountain retailers. Our concentrate operations are included in our geographic operating segments and our Global Ventures operating segment.
Our finished product operations generate net operating revenues by selling sparkling soft drinks and a variety of other finished beverages to retailers, or to distributors and wholesalers who in turn sell the beverages to retailers. Generally, finished product operations generate higher net operating revenues but lower gross profit margins than concentrate operations. These operations consist primarily of our consolidated bottling and distribution operations, which are included in our Bottling Investments operating segment. In certain markets, the Company also operates non-bottling finished product operations in which we sell finished beverages to distributors and wholesalers that are generally not one of the Company’s bottling partners. These operations are generally included in one of our geographic operating segments or our Global Ventures operating segment. Additionally, we sell directly to consumers through retail stores operated by Costa. These sales are included in our Global Ventures operating segment. In the United States, we manufacture fountain syrups and sell them to fountain retailers, who use the fountain syrups to produce beverages for immediate consumption, or to authorized fountain wholesalers or bottling partners who in turn sell and distribute the fountain syrups to fountain retailers. These fountain syrup sales are included in our North America operating segment.
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The following table sets forth the percentage of total net operating revenues attributable to concentrate operations and finished product operations:
Year Ended December 31,20232022
Concentrate operations58 %56 %
Finished product operations42 44 
Total100 %100 %
The following table sets forth the percentage of total worldwide unit case volume attributable to concentrate operations and finished product operations:
Year Ended December 31,20232022
Concentrate operations83 %82 %
Finished product operations17 18 
Total100 %100 %
We operate in the highly competitive commercial beverage industry. We face strong competition from numerous other general and specialty beverage companies. We, along with other beverage companies, are affected by a number of factors, including, but not limited to, the cost to manufacture and distribute products, consumer spending, economic conditions, availability and quality of water, consumer preferences, inflation, geopolitical conditions including international conflicts, local and national laws and regulations, foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations, fuel prices, weather patterns and health crises.
Despite the dynamic world in which we are currently operating, we believe we are well positioned to create value for our Company and our stakeholders. In an effort to support our future growth, we are continuing to invest in our portfolio of brands, our strategic capabilities and our people. We are focused on the following strategic priorities: unlocking the potential of our portfolio of strong global, regional and scaled local brands; developing a robust innovation pipeline focusing on scalable initiatives; increasing consumer-centric marketing effectiveness and efficiency; winning in the marketplace with aligned data-driven revenue growth management and execution capabilities; and further embedding sustainability goals into our operations.
Challenges and Risks
Being a global enterprise provides unique opportunities for our Company. Challenges and risks accompany those opportunities. Our management has identified certain challenges and risks that demand the attention of our Company and the commercial beverage industry. Of these, six key strategic business challenges and risks are discussed below.
Obesity
Obesity continues to impact individuals, communities and countries worldwide. There is concern among consumers, public health professionals and governments about the health problems associated with obesity. This concern represents a significant challenge to our industry. We understand that obesity is a complex public health challenge, and we are committed to being a part of the solution.
We recognize the uniqueness of consumers’ lifestyles and dietary choices. Therefore, we continue to:
offer an expanded portfolio of beverage choices, including reduced-, low- and no-calorie beverage options;
provide transparent nutrition information, featuring calories on the front of most of our packages;
provide our beverages in a range of packaging sizes, including small sizes to enable portion control; and
market responsibly, including no advertising targeted to children under 13.
The heritage of our Company is to lead, and innovation is critical for leadership. As such, we are resolute in continuing to innovate and are committed to partnering with suppliers to invest in research and development of new noncaloric sweeteners and flavors that help us create the best tasting beverages, including options with low or no calories. We want to be a helpful and credible partner in the fight against obesity. Across the Coca-Cola system, we are mobilizing our assets in marketing and in community outreach to increase awareness and spur action.
Evolving Consumer Product Preferences
We are impacted by shifting consumer demographics and needs, on-the-go lifestyles and consumers who are empowered with more information than ever. As a consequence of these changes, many consumers want more beverage choices, personalization, a focus on sustainability, and transparency related to our products and packaging. We are committed to meeting changing consumer needs and to generating growth through our evolving portfolio of beverage brands and products (including numerous
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low- and no-calorie products); selectively expanding into other profitable categories of the commercial beverage industry; investing in innovative and sustainable packaging; and including easy-to-access information about our beverages on our website.
Evolving Competitive Landscape and Competing in the Digital Marketplace
Our Company faces strong competition from well-established global companies as well as numerous regional and local companies. Additionally, the rapidly evolving digital landscape and growth of e-commerce in many markets has led to dramatic shifts in consumer shopping habits and patterns. Consumers are rapidly embracing shopping via mobile device applications, e-commerce retailers and e-commerce websites or platforms, which presents new challenges to maintain the competitiveness and relevancy of our brands. As a result, we must continuously strengthen our capabilities in marketing and innovation to compete in a digital environment and maintain brand loyalty and market share. In addition, we are increasing our investments in e-commerce to support retail and meal delivery services, offering more package sizes that are fit-for-purpose for online sales and shifting more consumer and trade promotions to digital.
Product Safety and Quality
We strive to meet the highest standards in both product safety and product quality. We are aware that some consumers have concerns and negative viewpoints regarding certain ingredients used in our products. We only use ingredients that are authorized for use by regulatory authorities in each of the markets in which we operate. The Coca-Cola system works every day to produce high-quality, safe and refreshing beverages for consumers around the world. We have rigorous product and ingredient safety and quality standards designed to ensure safety and quality in each of our products, and we drive innovation that provides new beverage options to satisfy consumers’ evolving needs and preferences.
We work to ensure consistent safety and quality through strong governance and compliance with applicable regulations and standards. We stay current with new regulations, industry best practices and marketplace conditions, and we engage with standard-setting and industry organizations. Additionally, we manufacture and distribute our products according to strict policies, requirements and specifications set forth in an integrated quality management program that continually measures all operations within the Coca-Cola system against the same stringent standards. Our quality management program also identifies and mitigates risks and drives improvement. In our quality laboratories, we stringently measure the quality attributes of ingredients as well as samples of finished products collected from the marketplace.
We perform due diligence to ensure that product and ingredient safety and quality standards are maintained in the more than 200 countries and territories where our products are sold. We regularly assess the relevance of our requirements and standards and continually work to improve and refine them across our entire supply chain.
Sustainability Matters
Investors and stakeholders increasingly focus on sustainability matters. We acknowledge that we have a role to play in developing and implementing solutions that help build resilience across our business. We report our sustainability progress in the following areas: circular economy of packaging; water stewardship; climate; portfolio; sustainable agriculture; human and workplace rights and diversity, equity and inclusion. Our ability to achieve our sustainability goals is dependent on many factors, including, but not limited to, our actions along with the actions of various stakeholders, such as our bottling partners, suppliers, governments, nongovernmental organizations, communities, and other third parties, some of which are outside of our control.
Talent Acquisition and Retention
Competition for existing and prospective personnel has increased, especially in light of changing worker expectations and talent marketplace variability regarding flexible work models. In addition, the broader labor market is experiencing a shortage of qualified workers, which has further increased competition for qualified employees that we want and may require for our future business needs.
Our people and our culture are critical business priorities, and we strive to be a global employer of choice that attracts and retains high-performing talent with the passion, skills and mindsets to drive us on our purpose to refresh the world and make a difference. We are committed to building an equitable and inclusive culture that inspires and supports the growth of our employees, serves our communities and shapes a strong and more sustainable business.
See “Item 1A. Risk Factors” in Part I of this report for additional information about risks and uncertainties facing our Company.
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CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES AND ESTIMATES
Our consolidated financial statements are prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (“U.S. GAAP”), which require management to make estimates, judgments and assumptions that affect the amounts reported in our consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes. We believe our most critical accounting policies and estimates relate to the following:
Principles of Consolidation
Recoverability of Equity Method Investments and Indefinite-Lived Intangible Assets
Pension Plan Valuations
Revenue Recognition
Income Taxes
Management has discussed the development, selection and disclosure of critical accounting policies and estimates with the Audit Committee of our Company’s Board of Directors. While our estimates and assumptions are based on our knowledge of current events and on actions we may undertake in the future, actual results may ultimately differ from these estimates and assumptions. For a discussion of the Company’s significant accounting policies, refer to Note 1 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Principles of Consolidation
Our Company consolidates all entities that we control by ownership of a majority voting interest. Additionally, there are situations in which consolidation is required even though the usual condition of consolidation (i.e., ownership of a majority voting interest) does not apply. Generally, this occurs when an entity holds an interest in another business enterprise that was achieved through arrangements that do not involve voting interests, which results in a disproportionate relationship between such entity’s voting interests in, and its exposure to the economic risks and potential rewards of, the other business enterprise. This disproportionate relationship results in what is known as a variable interest, and the entity in which another entity holds a variable interest is referred to as a “VIE.” An enterprise must consolidate a VIE if it is determined to be the primary beneficiary of the VIE. The primary beneficiary has both (1) the power to direct the activities of the VIE that most significantly impact the entity’s economic performance and (2) the obligation to absorb losses or the right to receive benefits from the VIE that could potentially be significant to the VIE.
Our Company holds interests in certain VIEs, primarily bottling operations, for which we were not determined to be the primary beneficiary. Our variable interests in these VIEs primarily relate to equity investments, profit guarantees or subordinated financial support. Refer to Note 12 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements. Although these financial arrangements resulted in our holding variable interests in these entities, they did not empower us to direct the activities of the VIEs that most significantly impact the VIEs’ economic performance. Creditors of our VIEs do not have recourse against the general credit of the Company, regardless of whether the VIEs are accounted for as consolidated entities.
We use the equity method to account for investments in companies if our investment provides us with the ability to exercise significant influence over the operating and financial policies of the investee. Our consolidated net income includes our Company’s proportionate share of the net income or loss of these companies. Our judgment regarding the level of influence over each equity method investee includes considering key factors, such as our ownership interest, representation on the board of directors, participation in policy-making decisions, other commercial arrangements and material intercompany transactions.
We eliminate from our financial results all significant intercompany transactions, including the intercompany transactions with consolidated VIEs and the intercompany portion of transactions with equity method investees.
Recoverability of Equity Method Investments and Indefinite-Lived Intangible Assets
Our Company faces many uncertainties and risks related to various economic, political and regulatory environments in the countries and territories in which we operate, particularly in developing and emerging markets. Refer to the heading “Our Business — Challenges and Risks” above and “Item 1A. Risk Factors” in Part I of this report as well as the heading “Operations Review” below for additional information related to our present business environment. As a result, management must make numerous assumptions, which involve a significant amount of judgment, when performing impairment tests of equity method investments and indefinite-lived intangible assets in various regions around the world. The performance of impairment tests involves critical accounting estimates. These estimates require significant management judgment and include inherent uncertainties. Factors that management must estimate include, among others, the economic lives of the assets, sales volume, pricing, royalty rates, cost of raw materials, delivery costs, long-term growth rates, discount rates, marketing spending, foreign currency exchange rates, tax rates, capital spending and proceeds from the sale of assets. The variability of these factors
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depends on a number of conditions, and thus our accounting estimates may change from period to period. These factors are even more difficult to estimate when global financial markets are highly volatile. As these factors are often interdependent and may not change in isolation, we do not believe it is practicable or meaningful to present the impact of changing a single factor. If we had used other assumptions and estimates when impairment tests were performed, impairment charges could have resulted. Furthermore, if management uses different assumptions in future periods, or if different conditions exist in future periods, impairment charges could result. The total future impairment charges we may be required to record could be material.
Equity Method Investments
Equity method investments are reviewed for impairment whenever significant events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of the investment might not be recoverable. When such events or changes occur, we evaluate the fair value compared to our cost basis in the investment. The fair values of most of our Company’s investments in publicly traded companies are readily available based on quoted market prices. For investments in nonpublicly traded companies, management’s assessment of fair value is based on various valuation methodologies, including discounted cash flows, estimates of sales proceeds, and appraisals, as appropriate. We consider the assumptions that we believe a market participant would use in evaluating estimated future cash flows when employing the discounted cash flow or estimates of sales proceeds valuation methodologies. The ability to accurately predict future cash flows, especially in emerging and developing markets, may impact the determination of fair value. In the event the fair value of an investment declines below our cost basis, management is required to determine if the decline in fair value is other than temporary. If management determines the decline is other than temporary, an impairment charge is recorded. Management’s assessment as to the nature of a decline in fair value is based on, among other things, the length of time and the extent to which the market value has been less than our cost basis; the financial condition and near-term prospects of the issuer; and our intent and ability to retain the investment for a period of time sufficient to allow for any anticipated recovery in market value. Refer to Note 17 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for a discussion of impairment charges, if applicable.
Indefinite-Lived Intangible Assets
Impairment tests for indefinite-lived intangible assets must be performed at least annually, or more frequently if events or circumstances indicate that an asset may be impaired. Our Company performs the annual impairment tests as of the first day of our third fiscal quarter. We perform impairment tests using various valuation methodologies, including discounted cash flow models and a market approach, to determine the fair value of the indefinite-lived intangible asset or the reporting unit, as applicable. The ability to accurately predict future cash flows, especially in emerging and developing markets, may impact the determination of fair value. When performing these impairment tests, we estimate the fair values of the assets using management’s best assumptions, which we believe are consistent with those a market participant would use. The estimates and assumptions used in these tests are evaluated and updated as appropriate.
For indefinite-lived intangible assets, other than goodwill, if the carrying amount exceeds the fair value, an impairment charge is recognized in an amount equal to that excess. The Company has the option to perform a qualitative assessment of indefinite-lived intangible assets, other than goodwill, rather than completing the impairment test. The Company must assess whether it is more likely than not that the fair value of the intangible asset is less than its carrying amount. If the Company concludes that this is the case, it must perform the impairment testing described above.
We perform impairment tests of goodwill at our reporting unit level, which is generally one level below our operating segments. Our operating segments are primarily based on geographic responsibility, which is consistent with the way management runs our business. Our geographic operating segments are generally subdivided into smaller geographic regions. These geographic regions are our reporting units. Our Global Ventures operating segment includes the results of our Costa, innocent and doğadan businesses, as well as fees earned pursuant to distribution coordination agreements between the Company and Monster, each of which is its own reporting unit. The Bottling Investments operating segment includes all of our consolidated bottling operations, regardless of geographic location. Generally, each consolidated bottling operation within our Bottling Investments operating segment is its own reporting unit. Goodwill is assigned to the reporting unit or units that benefit from the synergies arising from each business combination.
In order to test for goodwill impairment, the Company compares the fair value of the reporting unit to its carrying value, including goodwill. If the fair value of the reporting unit is less than its carrying amount, goodwill is written down for the amount by which the carrying amount exceeds the reporting unit’s fair value. However, the impairment charge recognized cannot exceed the carrying amount of goodwill. The assumptions used in our impairment testing models are consistent with those we believe a market participant would use. The Company has the option to perform a qualitative assessment of goodwill rather than completing the impairment test. The Company must assess whether it is more likely than not that the fair value of the reporting unit is less than its carrying amount. If the Company concludes that this is the case, it must perform the impairment testing discussed above. Otherwise, the Company does not need to perform any further assessment.
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Intangible assets acquired in recent transactions are naturally more susceptible to impairment, because they are recorded at fair value based on recent operating plans and macroeconomic conditions present at the time of acquisition. Consequently, if operating results and/or macroeconomic conditions deteriorate shortly after an acquisition, it could result in the impairment of the acquired assets. A deterioration of macroeconomic conditions may not only negatively impact the estimated operating cash flows used in our cash flow models but may also negatively impact other assumptions used in our analyses, including, but not limited to, the discount rates. If the discount rates change, our Company may recognize an impairment of an intangible asset in spite of realizing actual cash flows that are equal to, or greater than, our previously forecasted amounts. Refer to Note 2 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for a discussion of recent acquisitions, if applicable.
In November 2021, the Company acquired the remaining 85% ownership interest in, and now owns 100% of BodyArmor, which offers a line of sports performance and hydration beverages. The Company allocated $4.2 billion of the purchase price to the BodyArmor trademark. As of December 31, 2023, the fair value of this trademark approximates its carrying value. If the near-term operating results of this trademark do not achieve our current financial projections, or if the macroeconomic conditions change causing the discount rate to increase without an offsetting increase in the operating results, it is likely that we would be required to recognize an impairment charge. Management will continue to monitor the fair value of this trademark in future periods.
Pension Plan Valuations
Our Company sponsors a qualified pension plan covering substantially all U.S. employees as well as unfunded nonqualified pension plans for certain employees in the United States. In addition, our Company and its subsidiaries have various pension plans outside the United States.
Management is required to make certain critical estimates related to the actuarial assumptions used to determine our pension obligations and our net periodic pension cost or income. We believe the two most critical assumptions are the discount rate and the expected long-term rate of return on plan assets. Our actuarial assumptions are reviewed annually, or more frequently to the extent that a settlement or curtailment occurs. Changes in these assumptions could have a material impact on the measurement of our pension obligations and our net periodic pension cost or income.
The discount rate assumption used to account for pension plans reflects the rate at which the benefit obligations could be effectively settled. The discount rate for U.S. and certain non-U.S. plans is determined using a matching technique whereby the rates of a yield curve, developed from high-quality debt securities, are applied to projected benefit cash flows to determine the appropriate effective discount rate. For other non-U.S. plans, we base the discount rate assumption on comparable indices within each of the respective countries. The Company measures the service cost and interest cost components of net periodic pension cost or income by applying the specific spot rates along the yield curve to the plans’ projected cash flows.
The expected long-term rate of return on plan assets is based upon the long-term outlook of our investment strategy as well as our historical returns and volatilities for each asset class. We also review current levels of interest rates and inflation to assess the reasonableness of our expected long-term rate of return on plan assets. Our investment objective for our pension assets is to ensure all funded pension plans have sufficient assets to meet their benefit obligations when they become due. As a result, the Company periodically revises asset allocations, where appropriate, to seek to improve returns and manage risk.
In 2023, the Company’s total cost related to pension plans was $120 million, which included $38 million of net periodic pension cost and net charges of $82 million, primarily due to settlements and special termination benefits. In 2024, we expect our net periodic pension cost to be approximately $51 million. The increase in net periodic pension cost is primarily due to the net impact of the decrease in the weighted-average discount rate at December 31, 2023 compared to December 31, 2022.
As of December 31, 2023, the U.S. qualified pension plan represented 63% and 56% of the Company’s consolidated projected benefit obligation and pension plan assets, respectively. For this plan, we estimate that a 50 basis-point decrease in the discount rate would result in an $8 million increase in our 2024 net periodic pension cost, and we estimate that a 50 basis-point decrease in the expected long-term rate of return on plan assets would result in a $19 million increase in our 2024 net periodic pension cost.
Refer to Note 14 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information about our pension plans and related actuarial assumptions.
Revenue Recognition
Revenue is recognized when performance obligations under the terms of the contracts with our customers are satisfied. Our performance obligation generally consists of the promise to sell concentrates, syrups or finished products to our bottling partners, wholesalers, distributors or retailers. Control of the concentrates, syrups or finished products is transferred upon shipment to, or receipt at, our customers’ locations, as determined by the specific terms of the contract. Upon transfer of control to the customer, which completes our performance obligation, revenue is recognized. Our sales terms generally do not allow for
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a right of return except for matters related to any manufacturing defects on our part. After completion of our performance obligation, we have an unconditional right to consideration as outlined in the contract. Our receivables will generally be collected in less than six months, in accordance with the underlying payment terms. All of our performance obligations under the terms of contracts with our customers have an original duration of one year or less.
In most markets, in an effort to allow our Company and our bottling partners to grow together through shared value, aligned financial objectives and the flexibility necessary to meet consumers’ always changing needs and tastes, we have implemented an incidence-based concentrate pricing model. Under this model, the concentrate price we charge is impacted by a number of factors, including, but not limited to, bottler pricing, the channels in which the finished products produced from the concentrates are sold, and package mix. The amounts associated with the arrangements described above represent variable consideration, an estimate of which is included in the transaction price as a component of net operating revenues in our consolidated statement of income upon completion of our performance obligations. The total revenue recorded, including any variable consideration, cannot exceed the amount for which it is probable that a significant reversal will not occur when uncertainties related to variability are resolved. As a result, we are recognizing revenue based on our faithful depiction of the consideration that we expect to receive. In making our estimates of variable consideration, we consider past results and make significant assumptions related to: (1) customer sales volumes; (2) customer ending inventories; (3) customer selling price per unit; (4) selling channels; and (5) discount rates, rebates and other pricing allowances, as applicable. In gathering data to estimate our variable consideration, we generally calculate our estimates using a portfolio approach at the country and product line level rather than at the individual contract level. The result of making these estimates will impact the line items trade accounts receivable or accounts payable and accrued expenses in our consolidated balance sheet, as applicable. The actual amounts ultimately paid and/or received may be different from our estimates.
Income Taxes
Our annual effective tax rate is based on our income and the tax laws in the various jurisdictions in which we operate. Significant judgment is required in determining our annual income tax expense and in evaluating our tax positions. We establish reserves to remove some or all of the tax benefit of any of our tax positions at the time we determine that the position becomes uncertain based upon one of the following conditions: (1) the tax position is not “more likely than not” to be sustained; (2) the tax position is “more likely than not” to be sustained, but for a lesser amount; or (3) the tax position is “more likely than not” to be sustained, but not in the financial period in which the tax position was originally taken. For purposes of evaluating whether or not a tax position is uncertain, (1) we presume the tax position will be examined by the relevant taxing authority that has full knowledge of all relevant information; (2) the technical merits of a tax position are derived from authorities such as legislation and statutes, legislative intent, regulations, rulings and caselaw and their applicability to the facts and circumstances of the tax position; and (3) each tax position is evaluated without consideration of the possibility of offset or aggregation with other tax positions taken. We adjust these reserves, including any impact on the related interest and penalties, in light of changing facts and circumstances, such as the progress of a tax audit. Refer to the heading “Operations Review — Income Taxes” below and Note 15 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
A number of years may elapse before a particular uncertain tax position is audited and finally resolved. The number of years subject to tax audits or tax assessments varies depending on the tax jurisdiction. The tax benefit that has been previously reserved because of a failure to meet the “more likely than not” recognition threshold would be recognized in income tax expense in the first interim period when the uncertainty disappears under any one of the following conditions: (1) the tax position is “more likely than not” to be sustained; (2) the tax position, amount and/or timing is ultimately settled through negotiation or litigation; or (3) the statute of limitations for the tax position has expired. Settlement of any particular issue would usually require the use of cash. Refer to Note 12 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Tax laws require certain items to be included in the tax return at different times than when these items are reflected in the consolidated financial statements. As a result, the annual effective tax rate reflected in our consolidated financial statements is different from that reported in our tax return (our cash tax rate). Some of these differences are permanent, such as expenses that are not deductible in our tax return, and some differences reverse over time, such as depreciation expense. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are determined based on temporary differences between the book basis and tax basis of assets and liabilities. The tax rates used to determine deferred tax assets or liabilities are the enacted tax rates in effect for the year and for the manner in which the differences are expected to reverse. Based on the evaluation of all available information, the Company recognizes future tax benefits, such as net operating loss carryforwards, to the extent that realizing these benefits is considered more likely than not.
We evaluate our ability to realize the tax benefits associated with deferred tax assets by analyzing our forecasted taxable income using both historical and projected future operating results; the reversal of existing taxable temporary differences; taxable income in prior carryback years (if permitted); and the availability of tax planning strategies. A valuation allowance is required
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to be established unless management determines that it is more likely than not that the Company will ultimately realize the tax benefit associated with a deferred tax asset.
The Company does not record a U.S. deferred tax liability for the excess of the book basis over the tax basis of its investments in foreign subsidiaries to the extent that the basis difference meets the indefinite reversal criteria. These criteria are met if the foreign subsidiary has invested, or will invest, the undistributed earnings indefinitely. The decision as to the amount of undistributed earnings that the Company intends to maintain in non-U.S. subsidiaries takes into account various items, including, but not limited to, forecasts and budgets of financial needs of cash for working capital, liquidity plans, capital improvement programs, merger and acquisition plans, and planned loans to other non-U.S. subsidiaries. The Company also evaluates its expected cash requirements in the United States. Other factors that can influence that determination are local restrictions on remittances (for example, in some countries a central bank application and approval are required in order for the Company’s local country subsidiary to pay a dividend), economic stability and asset risk. Refer to Note 15 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
OPERATIONS REVIEW
Our organizational structure consists of the following operating segments: Europe, Middle East and Africa; Latin America; North America; Asia Pacific; Global Ventures; and Bottling Investments. Our operating structure also includes Corporate, which consists of a center and a platform services organization. For additional information regarding our operating segments and Corporate, refer to Note 20 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Structural Changes, Acquired Brands and Newly Licensed Brands
In order to continually improve upon the Company’s operating performance, from time to time, we engage in buying and selling ownership interests in bottling partners and other manufacturing operations. In addition, we periodically acquire brands and their related operations or enter into license agreements for certain brands to supplement our beverage offerings. These items impact our operating results and certain key metrics used by management in assessing the Company’s performance.
Unit case volume growth is a key metric used by management to evaluate the Company’s performance because it measures demand for our products at the consumer level. The Company’s unit case volume represents the number of unit cases (or unit case equivalents) of Company beverage products directly or indirectly sold by the Company and its bottling partners to customers or consumers and, therefore, reflects unit case volume for both consolidated and unconsolidated bottlers. Refer to the heading “Beverage Volume” below.
Concentrate sales volume represents the amount of concentrates, syrups, source waters and powders/minerals (in all instances expressed in unit case equivalents) sold by, or used in finished products sold by, the Company to its bottling partners or other customers. For Costa non-ready-to-drink beverage products, concentrate sales volume represents the amount of beverages, primarily measured in number of transactions (in all instances expressed in unit case equivalents), sold by the Company to customers or consumers. Refer to the heading “Beverage Volume” below.
When we analyze our net operating revenues, we generally consider the following factors: (1) volume growth (concentrate sales volume or unit case volume, as applicable); (2) changes in price, product and geographic mix; (3) foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations; and (4) acquisitions and divestitures (including structural changes as defined below), as applicable. Refer to the heading “Net Operating Revenues” below. The Company sells concentrates and syrups to both consolidated and unconsolidated bottling partners. The ownership structure of our bottling partners impacts the timing of recognizing concentrate revenue and concentrate sales volume. When we sell concentrates or syrups to our consolidated bottling partners, we do not recognize the concentrate revenue or concentrate sales volume until the bottling partner has sold finished products manufactured from the concentrates or syrups to a third party. When we sell concentrates or syrups to our unconsolidated bottling partners, we recognize the concentrate revenue and concentrate sales volume when the concentrates or syrups are sold to the bottling partner. The subsequent sale of the finished products manufactured from the concentrates or syrups to a third party does not impact the timing of recognizing the concentrate revenue or concentrate sales volume. When we account for an unconsolidated bottling partner as an equity method investment, we eliminate the intercompany profit related to concentrate sales to the extent of our ownership interest, until the equity method investee has sold finished products manufactured from the concentrates or syrups to a third party. We typically report unit case volume when finished products manufactured from the concentrates or syrups are sold to a third party, regardless of our ownership interest in the bottling partner, if any.
We generally refer to acquisitions and divestitures of bottling operations as “structural changes,” which are a component of acquisitions and divestitures. Typically, structural changes do not impact the Company’s unit case volume or concentrate sales volume on a consolidated basis or at the geographic operating segment level. We recognize unit case volume for all sales of Company beverage products, regardless of our ownership interest in the bottling partner, if any. However, the unit case volume reported by our Bottling Investments operating segment is generally impacted by structural changes because it only includes the
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unit case volume of our consolidated bottling operations. Refer to Note 2 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information on the Company’s acquisitions and divestitures.
“Acquired brands” refers to brands acquired during the past 12 months. Typically, the Company has not reported unit case volume or recognized concentrate sales volume related to acquired brands in periods prior to the closing of a transaction. Therefore, the unit case volume and concentrate sales volume related to an acquired brand are incremental to prior year volume. We generally do not consider the acquisition of a brand to be a structural change.
“Licensed brands” refers to brands not owned by the Company but for which we hold certain rights, generally including, but not limited to, distribution rights, and from which we derive an economic benefit when the related products are sold. Typically, the Company has not reported unit case volume or recognized concentrate sales volume related to a licensed brand in periods prior to the beginning of the term of a license agreement. Therefore, in the year that a license agreement is entered into, the unit case volume and concentrate sales volume related to a licensed brand are incremental to prior year volume. We generally do not consider the licensing of a brand to be a structural change.
In August 2022, the Company acquired a controlling interest in a bottling operation in Malawi. The impact of this acquisition has been included as a structural change in our analysis of net operating revenues on a consolidated basis as well as for the Bottling Investments and Europe, Middle East and Africa operating segments. Additionally, the Company refranchised our bottling operations in Cambodia and Vietnam in November 2022 and January 2023, respectively, the impact of which has been included as a structural change in our analysis of net operating revenues on a consolidated basis as well as for the Bottling Investments and Asia Pacific operating segments.
In May 2023 and July 2022, the Company acquired certain brands in Asia Pacific. The impact of acquiring these brands has been included in acquisitions and divestitures in our analysis of net revenues on a consolidated basis as well as for the Asia Pacific operating segment.
Beverage Volume
We measure the volume of Company beverage products sold in two ways: (1) unit cases of finished products and (2) concentrate sales. As used in this report, “unit case” means a unit of measurement equal to 192 U.S. fluid ounces of finished beverage (24 eight-ounce servings), with the exception of unit case equivalents for Costa non-ready-to-drink beverage products, which are primarily measured in number of transactions; and “unit case volume” means the number of unit cases (or unit case equivalents) of Company beverage products directly or indirectly sold by the Company and its bottling partners to customers or consumers. Unit case volume consists primarily of beverage products bearing Company trademarks. Also included in unit case volume are certain brands licensed to, or distributed by, our Company, and brands owned by Coca-Cola system bottlers for which our Company provides marketing support and from the sale of which we derive an economic benefit. In addition, unit case volume includes sales by certain joint ventures in which the Company has an ownership interest. We believe unit case volume is one of the indicators of the underlying strength of the Coca-Cola system because it measures demand for our products at the consumer level. The unit case volume numbers used in this report are derived based on estimates received by the Company from its bottling partners and distributors. Concentrate sales volume represents the amount of concentrates, syrups, source waters and powders/minerals (in all instances expressed in unit case equivalents) sold by, or used in finished beverages sold by, the Company to its bottling partners or other customers. For Costa non-ready-to-drink beverage products, concentrate sales volume represents the amount of beverages, primarily measured in number of transactions (in all instances expressed in unit case equivalents), sold by the Company to customers or consumers. Unit case volume and concentrate sales volume growth rates are not necessarily equal during any given period. Factors such as seasonality, bottlers’ inventory practices, supply point changes, timing of price increases, new product introductions and changes in product mix can create differences between unit case volume and concentrate sales volume growth rates. In addition to these items, the impact of unit case volume from certain joint ventures in which the Company has an ownership interest, but to which the Company does not sell concentrates, syrups, source waters or powders/minerals, may give rise to differences between unit case volume and concentrate sales volume growth rates.
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Information about our volume growth worldwide and by operating segment is as follows:
Percent Change 2023 versus 2022
Unit Cases
1,2
Concentrate Sales
Worldwide%

%
Europe, Middle East & Africa(2)— 
Latin America
North America(1)(1)
Asia Pacific— 
Global Ventures

Bottling Investments(1)
3
         N/A
1Bottling Investments operating segment data reflects unit case volume growth for consolidated bottlers only.
2Geographic and Global Ventures operating segment data reflect unit case volume growth for all bottlers, both consolidated and unconsolidated, and distributors in the applicable geographic areas. Global Ventures operating segment data also reflects unit case volume growth for Costa retail stores.
3After considering the impact of structural changes, unit case volume for Bottling Investments grew 6%.
Unit Case Volume
The Coca-Cola system sold 33.3 billion and 32.7 billion unit cases of our products in 2023 and 2022, respectively.
Unit case volume in Europe, Middle East and Africa decreased 2%, which included a 3% decline in sparkling flavors, a 14% decline in juice, value-added dairy and plant-based beverages, a 1% decline in Trademark Coca-Cola, and a 2% decline in water, sports, coffee and tea. The operating segment reported declines in unit case volume of 6% in the Europe operating unit and 1% in the Eurasia and Middle East operating unit, partially offset by growth in unit case volume of 3% in the Africa operating unit. The decline in unit case volume in Europe, Middle East and Africa was primarily due to the suspension of the Company’s business in Russia in March 2022.
In Latin America, unit case volume increased 5%, which included 5% growth in Trademark Coca-Cola, 9% growth in water, sports, coffee and tea, 2% growth in sparkling flavors and 3% growth in juice, value-added dairy and plant-based beverages. The operating segment’s volume performance included 5% growth in both Mexico and Brazil.
Unit case volume in North America decreased 1%, which included a 5% decline in water, sports, coffee and tea, partially offset by 3% growth in juice, value-added dairy and plant-based beverages and 1% growth in sparkling flavors. Trademark Coca-Cola performance was even.
In Asia Pacific, unit case volume increased 3%, which included 4% growth in both sparkling flavors and Trademark Coca-Cola, 10% growth in juice, value-added dairy and plant-based beverages, and 1% growth in water, sports, coffee and tea. The operating segment reported growth in unit case volume of 11% in the India and Southwest Asia operating unit, 2% in the Greater China and Mongolia operating unit, and 1% in both the ASEAN and South Pacific and the Japan and South Korea operating units.
Unit case volume for Global Ventures increased 4%, driven by growth in energy drinks, partially offset by a 1% decline in both water, sports, coffee and tea as well as juice, value-added dairy and plant-based beverages.
Unit case volume for Bottling Investments decreased 1%, which primarily reflects the impact of refranchising our bottling operations in Vietnam and Cambodia, partially offset by growth in India and South Africa.
Concentrate Sales Volume
In 2023, worldwide concentrate sales volume and unit case volume both grew 2% compared to 2022. The differences between concentrate sales volume and unit case volume growth rates for the operating segments were primarily due to the timing of concentrate shipments and the impact of unit case volume from certain joint ventures in which the Company has an ownership interest, but to which the Company does not sell concentrates, syrups, source waters or powders/minerals.
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Net Operating Revenues
Net operating revenues were $45,754 million in 2023, compared to $43,004 million in 2022, an increase of $2,750 million, or 6%.
The following table illustrates, on a percentage basis, the estimated impact of the factors resulting in the increase (decrease) in net operating revenues on a consolidated basis and for each of our operating segments:
Percent Change 2023 versus 2022
Volume1
Price, Product & Geographic MixForeign Currency Exchange Rate Fluctuations
Acquisitions & Divestitures2
Total
Consolidated%10 %(4)%(1)%6 %
Europe, Middle East & Africa— 19 (12)— 7 
Latin America16 (3)— 19 
North America(1)— — 7 
Asia Pacific— (5) 
Global Ventures— — 8 
Bottling Investments(7)(8) 
Note: Certain rows may not add due to rounding.
1Represents the percent change in net operating revenues attributable to the increase (decrease) in concentrate sales volume for our geographic operating segments and our Global Ventures operating segment (expressed in unit case equivalents) after considering the impact of acquisitions and divestitures, if any. For our Bottling Investments operating segment, this represents the percent change in net operating revenues attributable to the increase (decrease) in unit case volume after considering the impact of structural changes, if any. Our Bottling Investments operating segment data reflects unit case volume growth for consolidated bottlers only after considering the impact of structural changes, if any. Refer to the heading “Beverage Volume” above.
2Includes structural changes, if any. Refer to the heading “Structural Changes, Acquired Brands and Newly Licensed Brands” above.
Refer to the heading “Beverage Volume” above for additional information related to changes in our unit case and concentrate sales volumes.
“Price, product and geographic mix” refers to the change in net operating revenues caused by factors such as price changes, the mix of products and packages sold, and the mix of channels and geographic territories where the sales occurred. The impact of price, product and geographic mix is calculated by subtracting the change in net operating revenues resulting from volume increases or decreases, fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, and acquisitions and divestitures from the total change in net operating revenues. Management believes that providing investors with price, product and geographic mix enhances their understanding about the combined impact that the following items had on the Company’s net operating revenues: (1) pricing actions taken by the Company and, where applicable, our bottling partners; (2) changes in the mix of products and packages sold; (3) changes in the mix of channels where products were sold; and (4) changes in the mix of geographic territories where products were sold. Management uses this measure in making financial, operating and planning decisions and in evaluating the Company’s performance.
Price, product and geographic mix had a 10% favorable impact on our consolidated net operating revenues. Price, product and geographic mix was impacted by a variety of factors and events, including, but not limited to, the following:
Europe, Middle East and Africa — favorable pricing initiatives, including inflationary pricing in Türkiye and Zimbabwe, partially offset by unfavorable geographic mix;
Latin America — favorable pricing initiatives, including inflationary pricing in Argentina, along with favorable channel and product mix, partially offset by increased funding for promotional and marketing support;
North America — favorable pricing initiatives and favorable channel, package and product mix;
Asia Pacific — favorable pricing initiatives, partially offset by unfavorable geographic mix and increased funding for promotional and marketing support;
Global Ventures — favorable pricing initiatives and favorable channel mix, primarily due to the favorable performance of Costa in the United Kingdom, offset by unfavorable product mix and the impact of no longer receiving COVID-related incentives in the current year; and
Bottling Investments — favorable pricing initiatives across most markets, partially offset by unfavorable geographic mix.
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The favorable pricing initiatives for the year ended December 31, 2023 in all operating segments included carryover pricing increases from the prior year.
Fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates decreased our consolidated net operating revenues by 4%. This unfavorable impact was primarily due to a stronger U.S. dollar compared to certain foreign currencies, including the Argentine peso, Zimbabwean dollar, South African rand, Nigerian naira, Turkish lira, Japanese yen, Indian rupee and Chinese yuan, which had an unfavorable impact on our Latin America; Europe, Middle East and Africa; Asia Pacific; and Bottling Investments operating segments. The unfavorable impact of a stronger U.S. dollar compared to the currencies listed above was partially offset by the impact of a weaker U.S. dollar compared to certain other foreign currencies, including the Mexican peso, which had a favorable impact on our Latin America operating segment. Refer to the heading “Liquidity, Capital Resources and Financial Position — Foreign Exchange” below for additional information about the impact of foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations.
“Acquisitions and divestitures” generally refers to acquisitions and divestitures of brands or businesses, some of which the Company considers to be structural changes. The impact of acquisitions and divestitures is the difference between the change in net operating revenues and the change in what our net operating revenues would have been if we removed the net operating revenues associated with an acquisition or a divestiture from either the current year or the prior year, as applicable. Management believes that quantifying the impact that acquisitions and divestitures had on the Company’s net operating revenues provides investors with useful information to enhance their understanding of the Company’s net operating revenue performance by improving their ability to compare our year-to-year results. Management considers the impact of acquisitions and divestitures when evaluating the Company’s performance. Refer to the heading “Structural Changes, Acquired Brands and Newly Licensed Brands” above for additional information related to acquisitions and divestitures.
Net operating revenue growth rates are impacted by sales volume; price, product and geographic mix; foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations; and acquisitions and divestitures. The size and timing of acquisitions and divestitures are not consistent from period to period. Based on current spot rates and our hedging coverage in place, we expect foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations will have an unfavorable impact on our full year 2024 net operating revenues.
Information about our net operating revenues by operating segment and Corporate as a percentage of Company net operating revenues is as follows:
Year Ended December 31,20232022
Europe, Middle East & Africa16.2 %16.0 %
Latin America12.7 11.4 
North America36.6 36.5 
Asia Pacific10.3 11.0 
Global Ventures6.7 6.6 
Bottling Investments17.2 18.3 
Corporate0.3 0.2 
Total100.0 %100.0 %
The percentage contribution of each operating segment fluctuates over time due to net operating revenues in some operating segments growing at a faster rate compared to other operating segments. In addition, foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations impact the percentage contribution of each operating segment. For additional information about the impact of foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations, refer to the heading “Liquidity, Capital Resources and Financial Position — Foreign Exchange” below.
Gross Profit Margin
Gross profit margin is a ratio calculated by dividing gross profit by net operating revenues. Management believes gross profit margin provides investors with useful information related to the profitability of our business prior to considering all of the selling, general and administrative expenses and other operating charges incurred. Management uses this measure in making financial, operating and planning decisions and in evaluating the Company’s performance.
Our gross profit margin increased to 59.5% in 2023 from 58.1% in 2022. This increase was primarily due to the impact of favorable pricing initiatives, favorable channel and package mix, and structural changes. The impact of these items was partially offset by the unfavorable impact of foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations and increased commodity costs.
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Selling, General and Administrative Expenses
The following table sets forth the components of selling, general and administrative expenses (in millions):
Year Ended December 31,20232022
Selling and distribution expenses$2,599 $2,767 
Advertising expenses5,010 4,319 
Stock-based compensation expense254 356 
Other operating expenses6,109 5,438 
Selling, general and administrative expenses$13,972 $12,880 
Selling, general and administrative expenses increased $1,092 million, or 8%, in 2023. This increase was primarily due to higher advertising and other operating expenses, partially offset by decreases in selling and distribution expenses and stock-based compensation expense. The increase in other operating expenses was primarily due to higher other marketing expenses and increased charitable donations, as well as higher annual incentive expense and other employee benefit costs. The decrease in selling and distribution expenses was primarily a result of the refranchising of our bottling operations in Vietnam and Cambodia. The decrease in stock-based compensation expense was primarily due to the cumulative expense that was recorded in 2022 resulting from the impact a more favorable financial outlook had on the outstanding nonvested performance share units. In 2023, foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations decreased selling, general and administrative expenses by 3%.
As of December 31, 2023, we had $267 million of total unrecognized compensation cost related to nonvested stock-based compensation awards granted under our plans, which we expect to recognize over a weighted-average period of 1.7 years as stock-based compensation expense. This expected cost does not include the impact of any future stock-based compensation awards. Refer to Note 13 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Other Operating Charges
Other operating charges incurred by operating segment and Corporate were as follows (in millions):
Year Ended December 31,20232022
Europe, Middle East & Africa$ $(7)
Latin America — 
North America26 19 
Asia Pacific35 57 
Global Ventures — 
Bottling Investments — 
Corporate1,890 1,146 
Total$1,951 $1,215 
In 2023, the Company recorded other operating charges of $1,951 million. These charges consisted of $1,702 million related to the remeasurement of our contingent consideration liability to fair value in conjunction with our acquisition of fairlife in 2020, $164 million related to the Company’s productivity and reinvestment program and $35 million related to the discontinuation of certain manufacturing operations in Asia Pacific. In addition, other operating charges included $27 million related to the restructuring of our North America operating unit, $15 million for the amortization of noncompete agreements related to the BodyArmor acquisition in 2021 and $8 million related to tax litigation expense.
In 2022, the Company recorded other operating charges of $1,215 million. These charges primarily consisted of $1,000 million related to the remeasurement of our contingent consideration liability to fair value in conjunction with the fairlife acquisition, $85 million related to the Company’s productivity and reinvestment program and $57 million related to the impairment of a trademark in Asia Pacific. In addition, other operating charges included $38 million related to the restructuring of our North America operating unit and $38 million related to the BodyArmor acquisition, which included various transition and transaction costs, employee retention costs and the amortization of noncompete agreements, net of the reimbursement of distributor termination fees recorded in 2021. These charges were partially offset by a net gain of $6 million due to revisions of management’s estimates related to the Company’s strategic realignment initiatives.
Refer to Note 2 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information on the BodyArmor acquisition. Refer to Note 12 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information related to the tax litigation. Refer to Note 17 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information on the fairlife contingent consideration and the impairment charge. Refer to Note 19 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information on the
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Company’s restructuring initiatives. Refer to Note 20 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for the impact these charges had on our operating segments and Corporate.
Operating Income and Operating Margin
Information about our operating income contribution by operating segment and Corporate on a percentage basis is as follows:
Year Ended December 31,20232022
Europe, Middle East & Africa37.2 %36.3 %
Latin America30.3 26.3 
North America39.2 34.3 
Asia Pacific18.0 21.1 
Global Ventures2.9 1.7 
Bottling Investments5.1 4.5 
Corporate(32.7)(24.2)
Total100.0 %100.0 %
Operating margin is a ratio calculated by dividing operating income by net operating revenues. Management believes operating margin provides investors with useful information related to the profitability of our business after considering selling, general and administrative expenses and other operating charges. Management uses this measure in making financial, operating and planning decisions and in evaluating the Company’s performance.
Information about our operating margin on a consolidated basis and by operating segment and Corporate is as follows:
Year Ended December 31,20232022
Consolidated24.7 %25.4 %
Europe, Middle East & Africa56.8 57.4 
Latin America58.9 58.5 
North America26.4 23.9 
Asia Pacific43.2 48.9 
Global Ventures10.7 6.5 
Bottling Investments7.4 6.2 
Corporate**
*    Calculation is not meaningful.
Operating income was $11,311 million in 2023, compared to $10,909 million in 2022, an increase of $402 million, or 4%. The increase in operating income was primarily driven by concentrate sales volume growth of 2% and favorable pricing initiatives. These items were partially offset by higher commodity costs; higher selling, general and administrative expenses; higher other operating charges; and an unfavorable foreign currency exchange rate impact.
The decrease in our operating margin on a consolidated basis was primarily due to higher commodity costs, increased marketing spending, higher other operating charges and the unfavorable impact of foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations. The impact of these items was partially offset by favorable pricing initiatives.
In 2023, fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates unfavorably impacted consolidated operating income by 8% due to a stronger U.S. dollar compared to certain foreign currencies, including the Argentine peso, Zimbabwean dollar, Turkish lira, euro, South African rand, and Japanese yen, which had an unfavorable impact on our Latin America; Europe, Middle East and Africa; Bottling Investments; and Asia Pacific operating segments. The unfavorable impact of a stronger U.S. dollar compared to the currencies listed above was partially offset by the impact of a weaker U.S. dollar compared to certain other foreign currencies, including the Mexican peso, which had a favorable impact on our Latin America operating segment. Refer to the heading “Liquidity, Capital Resources and Financial Position — Foreign Exchange” below.
The Company’s Europe, Middle East and Africa operating segment reported operating income of $4,202 million and $3,958 million for the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022, respectively. The increase in operating income was primarily driven by favorable pricing initiatives, partially offset by higher commodity costs, increased marketing spending, higher operating expenses and an unfavorable foreign currency exchange rate impact of 14%.
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Latin America reported operating income of $3,432 million and $2,870 million for the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022, respectively. The increase in operating income was primarily driven by concentrate sales volume growth of 6% and favorable pricing initiatives, partially offset by higher commodity costs, increased marketing spending, higher operating expenses and an unfavorable foreign currency exchange rate impact of 5%.
Operating income for North America for the years ended