SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
|☒||ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020
|☐||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
COCA COLA CO
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
|(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation)||(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)|
|One Coca-Cola Plaza|
|(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 class||Trading Symbol(s)||Name of each exchange on which registered|
|Common Stock, $0.25 Par Value||KO||New York Stock Exchange|
|Floating Rate Notes Due 2021||KO21C||New York Stock Exchange|
|0.75% Notes Due 2023||KO23B||New York Stock Exchange|
|0.500% Notes Due 2024||KO24||New York Stock Exchange|
|1.875% Notes Due 2026||KO26||New York Stock Exchange|
|0.750% Notes Due 2026||KO26C||New York Stock Exchange|
|1.125% Notes Due 2027||KO27||New York Stock Exchange|
|0.125% Notes Due 2029||KO29A||New York Stock Exchange|
|1.250% Notes Due 2031||KO31||New York Stock Exchange|
|0.375% Notes Due 2033||KO33||New York Stock Exchange|
|1.625% Notes Due 2035||KO35||New York Stock Exchange|
|1.100% Notes Due 2036||KO36||New York Stock Exchange|
|0.800% Notes Due 2040||KO40B||New 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 filer||☐||Non-accelerated filer||☐||Smaller reporting company||☐||Emerging 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 ☒
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 26, 2020, the last business day of the Registrant's most recently completed second fiscal quarter, was $185,656,336,397 (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 22, 2021 was 4,309,311,676.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the Company's Proxy Statement for the Annual Meeting of Shareowners to be held on April 20, 2021 are incorporated by reference in Part III.
THE COCA-COLA COMPANY AND SUBSIDIARIES
Table of Contents
|Part I|| || |
Unresolved Staff Comments
Mine Safety Disclosures
|Part II|| || |
Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
Financial Statements and Supplementary Data
Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure
Controls and Procedures
|Part III|| || |
Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance
Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence
Principal Accountant Fees and Services
|Part IV|| || |
Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules
Form 10-K Summary
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 earnings 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.
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.
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 nonalcoholic beverage brands, which we group into the following category clusters: sparkling soft drinks; water, enhanced water and sports drinks; juice, dairy and plant-based beverages; tea and coffee; and energy drinks. We own and market four of the world's top five nonalcoholic sparkling soft drink brands: Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Fanta and Sprite.
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 — the world's largest nonalcoholic beverage distribution system. Beverages bearing trademarks owned by or licensed to the Company account for 1.9 billion of the approximately 62 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, and rooted in our strategy to drive net operating revenue growth and generate long-term value. We are determined to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic a better and stronger company.
The vision for our next stage of growth has three connected pillars:
•Loved Brands. We craft meaningful brands and a choice of drinks that people love and that refresh them in body and spirit.
•Done Sustainably. We use our leadership to be part of the solution to achieve positive change in the world and to 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 broad communities we call home.
We were 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.
The Company's operating structure is the basis for our internal financial reporting. Our operating structure includes the following operating segments, which are sometimes referred to as "operating groups" or "groups":
•Europe, Middle East and Africa
Our operating structure also includes Corporate, which consists of two components: (1) a center focused on strategic initiatives, policy and governance; and (2) an enabling services organization focused on both simplifying and standardizing key transactional processes and providing support to business units through global centers of excellence.
For additional information about our operating segments and Corporate, refer to Note 19 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 an intermediate product 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 beverage products bearing trademarks licensed to us by third parties for which we provide marketing support and from the sale of which we derive economic benefit; and
•"Trademark Coca-Cola Beverages" or "Trademark Coca-Cola" means beverages bearing the trademark Coca-Cola or any trademark that includes Coca-Cola or Coke (that is, Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Life, 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 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 Apple, etc.; "Trademark Sprite" includes Sprite, Diet Sprite, Sprite Zero, Sprite Light, etc.; and "Trademark Simply" includes Simply Orange, Simply Apple, Simply Grapefruit, etc.).
Our Company markets, manufactures and sells:
•beverage concentrates, sometimes referred to as "beverage bases," and syrups, including fountain syrups (we refer to this part of our business as our "concentrate business" or "concentrate operations"); and
•finished sparkling soft drinks and other nonalcoholic beverages (we refer to this part of our business as our "finished product business" or "finished product operations").
Generally, finished product operations generate higher net operating revenues but lower gross profit margins than concentrate operations.
Our concentrate operations typically generate net operating revenues by selling concentrates, 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 sweeteners (depending on the product), still water or sparkling water, 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 concentrate, 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 nonalcoholic beverages, such as water, enhanced water and sports drinks; juice, dairy and plant-based beverages; tea and coffee; and energy drinks, to retailers, or to distributors and wholesalers who in turn sell the beverages to retailers. 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 outlets operated by Costa Limited ("Costa"), which is 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 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, Schweppes,* Sprite, and Thums Up;
•water, enhanced water and sports drinks: Aquarius, Ciel, Dasani, glacéau smartwater, glacéau vitaminwater, Ice Dew, I LOHAS, Powerade, and Topo Chico;
•juice, dairy and plant-based beverages: AdeS, Del Valle, fairlife, innocent, Minute Maid, Minute Maid Pulpy, and Simply; and
•tea and coffee: Ayataka, Costa, doğadan, FUZE TEA, Georgia, Gold Peak, HONEST TEA, and Kochakaden.
* Schweppes is owned by the Company in certain countries other than the United States.
In addition to the beverage brands we own, we also provide marketing support and otherwise participate in the sales of other nonalcoholic beverage brands through licenses, joint ventures and strategic partnerships, including, but not limited to, the following:
•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.
•We have a strategic partnership with Aujan Industries Company J.S.C. ("Aujan"), one of the largest independent beverage companies in the Middle East. We own 50 percent of the entity that holds the rights in certain territories to brands produced and distributed by Aujan, including Rani, a juice brand, and Barbican, a flavored malt beverage brand.
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. Employing our business strategy, our Company seeks to further optimize its portfolio of brands, products and services in order to create and satisfy consumer demand in every market.
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 — the world's largest nonalcoholic beverage distribution system. Consumers enjoy finished beverage products bearing trademarks owned by or licensed to us at a rate of 1.9 billion servings each day. Our strong and stable bottling and distribution system helps us to capture growth by manufacturing, distributing and selling existing, enhanced and new innovative products to consumers throughout the world.
The Coca-Cola system sold 29.0 billion, 30.3 billion and 29.6 billion unit cases of our products in 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively. In 2019, with the exception of ready-to-drink products, the Company did not report unit case volume for Costa, a component of the Global Ventures operating segment. However, unit case volume reported in 2020 includes both Costa ready-to-drink and non-ready-to-drink products.
Sparkling soft drinks represented 69 percent of our worldwide unit case volume in 2020, 2019 and 2018. Trademark Coca-Cola accounted for 47 percent, 45 percent and 45 percent of our worldwide unit case volume in 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively. In 2020, unit case volume in the United States represented 18 percent of the Company's worldwide unit case volume. Of the U.S. unit case volume, 61 percent was attributable to sparkling soft drinks. Trademark Coca-Cola accounted for 43 percent of U.S. unit case volume. Unit case volume outside the United States represented 82 percent of the Company's worldwide unit case volume for 2020. The countries outside the United States in which our unit case volumes were the largest were Mexico, China, Brazil and Japan, which together accounted for 32 percent of our worldwide unit case volume. Of the non-U.S. unit case volume, 71 percent was attributable to sparkling soft drinks. Trademark Coca-Cola accounted for 48 percent of non-U.S. unit case volume.
Our five largest independent bottling partners based on unit case volume in 2020 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, including Mexico City, as well as southeast and northeast Mexico), Guatemala (nationwide), Nicaragua (nationwide), Costa Rica (nationwide), Panama (nationwide), Colombia (most of the country), Venezuela (nationwide), Brazil (greater São Paulo, Campiñas, Santos, the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, the state of Paraná, the state of Santa Catarina, part of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, part of the state of Goiás, part of the state of Rio de Janeiro and part of the state of Minas Gerais), Argentina (federal capital of Buenos Aires and surrounding areas) and Uruguay (nationwide);
•Coca-Cola European Partners plc ("CCEP"), which has bottling and distribution operations in Andorra, Belgium, continental France, Germany, Great Britain, Iceland, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, 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, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Northern Ireland, Poland, Republic of Ireland, Romania, the Russian Federation, 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 parts of the states of New Mexico, Oklahoma and Arkansas in the United States; and
•Swire Beverages, which has bottling and distribution operations in 11 provinces and the Shanghai Municipality in the eastern and southern areas of mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and territories in 13 states in the western United States.
In 2020, these five bottling partners combined represented 40 percent 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.
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 ourselves 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. In addition, in some instances we have agreed or may in the future agree with a bottler with respect to concentrate pricing on a prospective basis for specified time periods. Also, 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 concentrate are sold, and package mix.
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. The 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 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 ("PBs"), converted their legacy bottler's agreements to CBAs, to which we refer as "PB 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 certain 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.
Promotions 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. The aggregate amount provided by our Company to bottlers, resellers and other customers of our Company's products, principally for participation in promotional and marketing programs, was $4.1 billion in 2020.
Investments in Bottling Operations
Most of our branded beverage products are prepared, packaged, sold and distributed 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 selected 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 revenues and profits at the bottler level, which in turn generate increased sales for our Company's concentrate business. 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.
Sales of our nonalcoholic ready-to-drink beverages are somewhat seasonal, with the second and third calendar quarters accounting for the highest sales volumes. The volume of sales in the beverage business may be affected by weather conditions.
The nonalcoholic and alcoholic beverage segments of the commercial beverage industry are highly competitive, consisting 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; various water products, including flavored and enhanced waters; juices and nectars; fruit drinks and dilutables (including syrups and powdered drinks); coffees and teas; energy drinks; sports and other performance-enhancing hydration beverages; milk and other dairy-based drinks; 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 alcoholic beverage segment in numerous markets outside the United States. In the United States, the Company has chosen to authorize alcohol-licensed third parties to use certain of its brands on alcoholic beverages. Competitive products include all flavored alcoholic beverages of varying alcoholic 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., Groupe Danone, The Kraft Heinz Company, Suntory Beverage & Food Limited, Unilever, AB InBev, Constellation Brands, Kirin Holdings, Heineken Holdings and Diageo. We also compete against numerous regional and local companies and, increasingly, against smaller companies that are developing micro brands 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 marking, product and ingredient innovation, increased efficiency in production techniques, the introduction of new packaging, 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 associates. Our competitive challenges include strong competition across both nonalcoholic and alcoholic beverages 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.
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 high fructose corn syrup ("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. 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. Among other things, CCBSS provides procurement services to our Company and to our bottling partners for the purchase of various goods and services in the United States, 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 greening disease and the variability of weather conditions that can impact 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, greening disease is reducing the number of trees and increasing grower costs and prices.
Our consolidated bottling operations and our non-bottling finished product operations also purchase various other raw materials including, but not limited to, polyethylene terephthalate ("PET") resin, preforms and bottles; glass and aluminum bottles; aluminum and steel cans; plastic closures; aseptic fiber packaging; labels; cartons; cases; postmix packaging; and carbon dioxide. We generally purchase these raw materials from multiple suppliers and historically have not experienced significant shortages.
Patents, Copyrights, Trade Secrets and Trademarks
Our Company owns numerous patents, copyrights and trade secrets and other know-how and technology, which we collectively refer to in this report 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 formulae are among the important trade secrets of our Company.
We 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 authorize our bottlers to use applicable Company trademarks in connection with their manufacture, sale and distribution of Company products. In addition, we grant licenses to third parties from time to time to use certain of our trademarks in conjunction with certain merchandise and food products.
Our Company is required to comply, and it is our policy to comply, with all applicable laws in the numerous countries throughout the world in which we do business. In many jurisdictions, compliance with competition laws is of special importance to us, and 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, transportation, distribution, advertising, 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; competition laws; federal, state and local workplace health and safety laws; various federal, state and local environmental protection laws; privacy and personal data protection laws; and various other federal, state and local statutes and regulations. Outside the United States, our business is subject to numerous similar statutes and regulations, as well as other legal and regulatory requirements.
Under a California law known as Proposition 65, if the state has determined that a substance causes cancer or harms human reproduction, 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 does not require a warning if the manufacturer of a product 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;
•the result of necessary cooking; or
•subject to another applicable exemption.
One or more substances that are currently on the Proposition 65 lists, or that may be added in the future, can be detected in certain Company products at low levels that are safe. With respect to substances that have not yet been listed under Proposition 65, the Company takes the position that listing is not scientifically justified. With respect to substances that are already listed, the Company takes the position 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. The state of California and other parties, however, have in the past taken a contrary position and may do so in the future.
Bottlers of our beverage products presently offer and use 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 overseas 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 and/or product stewardship also apply in various jurisdictions in the United States and overseas. We anticipate that additional such legal requirements may be proposed or enacted in the future at local, state and federal 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 of water resources and the discharge of wastewater. Our policy is to comply with all such legal requirements. Compliance with these provisions has not had, and we do not expect such compliance to have, any material adverse effect on our Company's capital expenditures, net income or competitive position.
We are also subject to various federal, state and international laws and regulations related to privacy and data protection, including the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR") as well as the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 ("CCPA"), which became effective on January 1, 2020. The interpretation and application of data privacy and data protection laws and regulations are often uncertain and are evolving in the United States and internationally. We monitor pending and proposed legislation and regulatory initiatives to ascertain their relevance to and potential impact on our business and develop strategies to address regulatory trends and developments, including any required changes to our privacy and data protection compliance programs and policies.
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 and inclusion, as well as 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 Management Development Committee of our Board of Directors oversees succession planning and talent development for our senior executives.
We believe people are our most important asset, and we strive to attract high-performing talent. As of December 31, 2020 and 2019, our Company had approximately 80,300 and 86,200 employees, respectively, of which approximately 9,300 and 10,100, respectively, were located in the United States. The decrease in the total number of employees was primarily due to the Company's strategic realignment initiatives and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our Costa retail stores, partially offset by the January 2020 acquisition of fairlife, LLC ("fairlife"). Our Company, through its divisions and subsidiaries, is a party to numerous collective bargaining agreements. As of December 31, 2020, approximately 900 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 mirrors the markets we serve is a strategic business priority and critical to the Company's success. We take a comprehensive view of diversity and inclusion across different races, ethnicities, tribes, religions, socioeconomic backgrounds, generations, abilities, and expressions of gender and sexual identity.
As of December 31, 2020, we had approximately 8,900 employees located in the United States, excluding the employees of fairlife. Of these employees, 38 percent and 43 percent were female and people of color, respectively.
We are focused on social justice issues, including racial and gender equity, both in the United States and around the world. In 2020, we started implementing a multifaceted racial equity plan in the United States, which set 10-year employee representation goals that reflect the country's racial and ethnic diversity. We also strive to be 50 percent led by women, in addition to growing and developing our female workforce overall. Diversity and inclusion metrics, which highlight progress and drive accountability, are shared with our senior leaders on a quarterly basis, and our Global Women's Leadership Council, composed of 15 female and male executives, focuses on accelerating the development and promotion of women into roles of increasing responsibility and influence.
We also periodically conduct pay equity analyses to help identify any unsupported distinctions in pay between employees of different races, gender and/or age, as permitted by local law. We make adjustments to base pay, where appropriate. Also, during the annual rewards cycle, we perform an adverse impact analysis on base pay, annual incentives and long-term incentives to help ensure fairness.
We support a number of employee business resource groups ("BRGs") that are an integral part of our diversity, equity and inclusion strategy. Our BRGs provide employees with the opportunity to engage with colleagues based on shared interests in ethnic backgrounds, gender, sexual orientation, military service and work roles.
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 the structure of our compensation packages provides 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 grades.
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.
Leadership, Training and Development
We focus on investing in inspirational leadership, learning opportunities and capabilities to equip our global workforce with the skills they need while improving 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 offer a variety of programs that contribute to our leadership, training and development goals, including: (1) Coca-Cola U Digital Classroom, a hybrid space, equal parts classroom, studio, and online experience that combines the engaged learning environment of a traditional classroom with the flexibility, efficiency and scalability of digital delivery; (2) LinkedIn Learning,
an online learning platform that provides relevant content of more than 16,000 expert-led courses; (3) 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; and (4) Emerging Stronger Coaching Program, a customized virtual coaching application that offers access to professional development coaches to support leadership development.
COVID-19 Health Measures
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we implemented measures to help ensure the health, safety and security of our employees, while constantly monitoring the rapidly evolving situation and adapting our efforts and responses. Around the world, we are endeavoring to follow guidance from authorities and health officials. This includes having the majority of our office-based employees work remotely, imposing travel restrictions and implementing safety measures for employees continuing critical on-site work including, but not limited to, social distancing practices, temperature checks, health symptom attestations when entering our facilities, and the use of personal protective equipment as appropriate and in accordance with local laws and regulations. Our system and production facilities have also implemented additional cleaning and sanitization routines and split shifts to ensure that we can continue to keep our brands in supply.
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 or 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
The COVID-19 pandemic has had, and we expect will continue to have, certain negative impacts on our business, and such impacts have had, and may continue to have, a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
The public health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures that have been taken or that may be taken in the future by governments, businesses, including us and our bottling partners, and the public at large to limit the spread of COVID-19 have had, and we expect will continue to have, certain negative impacts on our business including, without limitation, the following:
•We have experienced a decrease in sales of certain of our products in markets around the world as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, sales of our products in the away-from-home channels have been significantly negatively affected by shelter-in-place regulations or recommendations, closings of restaurants and cancellations of major sporting and other events that were imposed as a result of the initial COVID-19 outbreak. While some of these restrictions have been lifted or eased in many jurisdictions as the rates of COVID-19 infections have decreased or stabilized, resurgence of the pandemic in some markets has slowed the reopening process. If COVID-19 infection trends increase, the pandemic intensifies or expands geographically or efforts to curb the pandemic are ineffective, the negative impacts of the pandemic on our sales could be more prolonged and may become more severe. While we initially experienced increased sales in the at-home channels from pantry loading as consumers stocked up on certain of our products with the expectation of spending more time at home during the crisis, such increased sales levels have not, and we expect will not, fully offset the sales pressures we have experienced, and we expect will continue to
experience, in the away-from-home channels while shelter-in-place and social distancing mandates or recommendations are in effect.
•In certain COVID-19 affected markets, consumer demand has shifted away from some of our more profitable beverages and away-from-home consumption to lower-margin products and at-home consumption, and this shift in consumer purchasing patterns is likely to continue while shelter-in-place and social distancing behaviors are mandated or encouraged.
•We are accelerating our business strategy and are taking certain actions to address challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and deliver on our commitment to emerge stronger from this crisis. These actions include focusing investments on a defined growth portfolio by prioritizing brands best positioned for consumer reach; streamlining the innovation pipeline through initiatives that are scalable regionally or globally, as well as maintaining a disciplined approach to local experimentation; refreshing our marketing approach, with a focus on improving our marketing investment effectiveness and efficiency; and investing in new capabilities to capitalize on emerging shifts in consumer behaviors that we anticipate may last beyond this crisis. These actions, which may require substantial additional investment of management time and financial resources, may not be sufficient to accomplish our goals.
•We have experienced temporary disruptions in certain of our concentrate production operations. We have taken measures to protect our employees and facilities around the world, which efforts have included, but have not been limited to, checking the temperature of employees when they enter our facilities, requiring employees to wear masks and other protective clothing as appropriate, and implementing additional cleaning and sanitization routines. These measures may not be sufficient to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among our employees and, therefore, we may face additional concentrate production disruptions in the future, which may place constraints on our ability to supply concentrates to our bottling partners in a timely manner or may increase our concentrate supply costs.
•We have faced, and may continue to face, delays in the delivery of concentrates to our bottling partners as a result of shipping delays due to, among other things, additional safety requirements imposed by port authorities, closures of or congestion at ports, and capacity constraints experienced by our transportation contractors.
•Some of our bottling partners have experienced, and may experience in the future, temporary plant closures, production slowdowns and disruptions in distribution operations as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their respective businesses.
•Disruptions in supply chains have placed, and may continue to place, constraints on our and our bottling partners' ability to source beverage containers, such as glass bottles and cans, which has increased, and in the future may increase, our and their packaging costs.
•As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including related governmental guidance or directives, we have required most office-based employees, including most employees based at our global headquarters in Atlanta, to work remotely. We may experience reductions in productivity and disruptions to our business routines while our remote work policy remains in place.
•Actions we have taken or may take, or decisions we have made or may make, as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic may result in legal claims or litigation against us. Deteriorating economic and political conditions in many of our major markets affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as increased unemployment, decreases in disposable income, declines in consumer confidence, or economic slowdowns or recessions, have caused a decrease in demand for our products. Continuing economic and political uncertainties in such markets may slow down or prevent the recovery of the demand for our products or may even further erode such demand.
•Governmental authorities in the United States and throughout the world may increase or impose new income taxes or indirect taxes, or revise interpretations of existing tax rules and regulations, as a means of financing the costs of stimulus and other measures enacted or taken, or that may be enacted or taken in the future, to protect populations and economies from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Such actions could have an adverse effect on our results of operations and/or cash flows.
•We may be required to record significant impairment charges with respect to noncurrent assets, including trademarks, goodwill and other intangible assets, equity method investments, and other long-lived assets whose fair values may be negatively affected by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our operations. In addition, we are required to record impairment charges related to our proportionate share of impairment charges that may be recorded by equity method investees, and such charges may be significant.
In addition to the above risks, the COVID-19 pandemic may exacerbate existing risks related to our business including risks related to changes in the retail landscape or the loss of key retail or foodservice customers, fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates; the ability of third-party service providers and business partners to fulfill their respective commitments and
responsibilities to us in a timely manner and in accordance with the agreed-upon terms; and failure of or default by one or more of our counterparty financial institutions on their obligations to us.
The resumption of normal business operations after the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may be delayed or constrained by the pandemic's lingering effects on our bottling partners, consumers, suppliers and/or third-party service providers.
Any of the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including those described above, alone or in combination with others, may have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows. The full extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic will negatively affect our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows will depend on future developments that are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted, including the scope and duration of the pandemic, the duration of the various shelter-in-place orders and reopening plans across the globe, and actions taken, or that may be taken in the future, by governmental authorities and other third parties in response to the pandemic.
If we do not realize the economic benefits we anticipate from our productivity initiatives, including our recently announced reorganization and related strategic realignment initiatives, or are unable to successfully manage their possible negative consequences, our business operations could be adversely affected.
Over the last three years, we worked to develop the strategies and evolve our culture to equip us to grow and become a total beverage company, while improving efficiency. In late 2020, we took a series of strategic steps to transform our organizational structure and to reallocate certain resources aimed at emerging stronger from the pandemic, including voluntary and involuntary reductions in employees. We have incurred and expect we will incur in future periods significant expenses in connection with the reorganization and related reduction in employees. If we are unable to timely capture the efficiencies, cost savings and revenue growth opportunities we anticipate from these actions, our results of operations in future periods could be negatively affected. In addition, the reorganization and related reduction in employees may become a distraction for our managers and employees remaining with the Company; 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 in the future; disrupt or weaken our internal control and financial reporting structures; and/or give rise to negative publicity, which could affect our corporate reputation. If we are unable to successfully manage these possible negative consequences of our reorganization and reduction in employees, our business operations could be adversely affected.
In addition, we believe that improved productivity is essential to achieving our long-term growth objectives and, therefore, a leading priority of our Company is to continuously search for productivity opportunities in our business. Some of the actions we may take from time to time in pursuing these opportunities may give rise to the same risks described above. If we are unable to successfully manage the possible negative consequences of our future 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, develop, retain and motivate 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. We may not be able to successfully compete for, attract and/or retain the high-quality and diverse employee talent that we want and that our future business needs may require, such as employees with e-commerce, social media and digital marketing and advertising 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 associates due to an increase in aggressive recruiting for best-in-class talent could deplete our institutional knowledge base and erode our competitiveness. Any of the foregoing could have a negative impact on our business.
Increased competition could hurt our business.
We operate in the highly competitive nonalcoholic and alcoholic beverage segments of the global 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 various local markets and segments 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 such prices, as may be necessary in response to commodity and other cost increases. Such pressures may also increase marketing costs and in-store placement and slotting 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 and
brand loyalty and market share while we selectively expand into other profitable categories in the nonalcoholic and alcoholic beverage segments of the commercial beverage industry, our business could be negatively affected.
If we are unable to renew collective bargaining agreements on satisfactory terms, or we or our bottling partners experience strikes, work stoppages or labor unrest, our business could suffer.
Many of our associates 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 associates 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 benefits needs of our associates. 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.
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 in turn depends on our ability to correctly anticipate customer and consumer acceptance and trends; obtain, maintain and enforce necessary intellectual property protections; 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 blurring of the lines between retail channels, particularly in Europe and the United States. Larger retailers may seek lower prices from us and our bottling partners, may demand increased marketing or promotional expenditures, 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 build the Coca-Cola system's 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 operations in emerging and developing markets, our growth rate 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 employee resources could impede our abilities in such markets. Moreover, the supply of our products in emerging and developing markets must match consumers' 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.
Increases in the cost, disruption of supply or shortage of energy or fuel could affect our profitability.
Our consolidated bottling operations operate a large fleet of trucks and other motor vehicles to distribute and deliver
beverage products to customers. In addition, we use a significant amount of electricity, natural gas and other energy sources to operate our concentrate, syrup and juice production plants and the bottling plants and distribution facilities operated by our consolidated bottling operations. An increase in the price, disruption of supply or shortage of fuel and other energy sources in countries in which we have concentrate plants, or in any of the major markets in which our consolidated bottling operations operate, which may be caused by increasing demand, by events such as natural disasters, power outages and the like, or by government regulations, taxes, policies or programs designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to address climate change, could increase our operating costs and negatively impact our profitability. Our independent bottling partners also operate large fleets of trucks and other motor vehicles to distribute and deliver beverage products to their own customers and use a significant amount of electricity, natural gas and other energy sources to operate their own bottling plants and distribution facilities. An increase in the price, disruption of supply or shortage of fuel and other energy sources in any of the major markets in which our independent bottling partners operate could increase the affected independent bottling partners' operating costs and thus indirectly negatively impact our results of operations.
Increases in the cost, disruption of supply or shortage of ingredients, other raw materials, packaging materials, aluminum cans and other containers could harm our business.
We and our bottling partners use various ingredients in our business, including 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; packaging materials such as PET, bio-based PET and recycled PET for bottles; and aluminum cans and other containers. For additional information regarding ingredients, other raw materials, packaging materials and containers we use in our business, refer to the heading "Raw Materials" set forth in Part I, "Item 1. Business" of this report. The prices of these ingredients, other raw materials, packaging materials, aluminum cans and other containers fluctuate depending on market conditions. Substantial increases in the prices of our or our bottling partners' ingredients, other raw materials, packaging materials, aluminum cans and other containers, to the extent they cannot be recouped through increases in the prices of finished beverage products, could increase our and our bottling partners' operating costs and reduce our profitability. Increases in the prices of our finished products resulting from a higher cost of ingredients, other raw materials, packaging materials, aluminum cans and other containers could affect affordability in some markets and reduce Coca-Cola system sales. In addition, some of our ingredients, such as aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and saccharin, as well as some packaging containers, such as aluminum cans, are available from a limited number of suppliers, and certain other ingredients are available from only one source each. Furthermore, some of our suppliers are located in countries experiencing political or other risks. 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 ingredient that is available from a limited number of suppliers or from only one source.
The citrus industry is impacted by the variability of weather conditions and by greening disease, which affect the supply and quality of orange juice and orange juice concentrate, which are important raw materials for our business. 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, greening disease is reducing the number of citrus trees and increasing grower costs and prices. Adverse weather conditions may affect the supply of other 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.
An increase in the cost, a sustained interruption in the supply, or a shortage of some of these ingredients, other raw materials, packaging materials, aluminum cans and other containers that may be caused by changes in or the enactment of new laws and regulations; a deterioration of our or our bottling partners' relationships with suppliers; supplier quality and reliability issues; trade disruptions; changes in supply chain; and increases in tariffs that may be caused by the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union, commonly referred to as "Brexit"; or events such as natural disasters, widespread outbreaks of infectious diseases (such as the COVID-19 pandemic), power outages, labor strikes, political uncertainties or governmental instability, or the like could negatively impact our net operating revenues and profits.
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 global beverage industry, the Company continually introduces new products and evolves existing products to stimulate customer demand. For instance, the Company has directly entered the alcoholic beverages segment in numerous markets outside the United States, and in the United States, the Company has authorized alcohol-licensed third parties to use certain of its brands on alcoholic beverages. The success of new and evolved products
depends on a number of factors, including timely and successful development and consumer acceptance. Such endeavors may also involve significant risks and uncertainties, including distraction of management from current operations, greater than expected liabilities and expenses, inadequate return on capital, exposure to additional regulations and reliance on the performance of third parties. If we become subject to additional government 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 disruption to our core business.
RISKS RELATED TO CONSUMER DEMAND FOR OUR PRODUCTS
Obesity and other health-related concerns may reduce demand for some of our products.
There is growing concern among consumers, public health professionals and government agencies about the health problems associated with obesity. Increasing public concern about obesity; other health-related public concerns surrounding consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages; possible new or increased taxes on sugar-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 sugar-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 sugar-sweetened beverages may reduce demand for, or increase the cost of, our sugar-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 sugar-sweetened beverages and the perceived undesirability of artificial ingredients; shifting consumer demographics; changes in consumer tastes and needs coupled with a rapid expansion of beverage options and potential delivery methods; changes in consumer lifestyles; concerns regarding location of origin or source of ingredients and raw materials and the environmental 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 by, our packaging containers and other materials; concerns about the health and welfare of animals in our dairy supply chain; dramatic shifts in consumer shopping patterns as a result of the rapidly evolving digital landscape; 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 past 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 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. If we or our bottling partners fail to comply with applicable product safety and quality standards, or if our beverage products taken to the market are or become contaminated or adulterated by any means, we may be required to conduct costly product recalls and may become subject to product liability claims and negative publicity, 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.
Public debate and concern about perceived negative health consequences of certain ingredients in our beverage products, such as 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 compound that is formed during the manufacturing of certain types of caramel coloring used in cola-type 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 actual or perceived health consequences of the presence of such ingredients or substances in our beverage products or in packaging materials, whether or not justified, could result in additional governmental regulations concerning the advertising, marketing, labeling, packaging or sale of our beverages; possible 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 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 up 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 may not 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 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 can occasionally be the subject of backlash from advocacy groups that have a differing point of view and could result in adverse media and consumer reaction, including product boycotts. Similarly, our sponsorship relationships could subject us to negative publicity as a result of actual or alleged misconduct by individuals or entities associated with organizations we sponsor or support financially or through in-kind contributions. Likewise, campaigns by activists connecting us, or our bottling system or supply chain, with workplace and human rights 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, could generate adverse publicity that could damage the reputation of our brands or the Company. Furthermore, the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, endorsed by the United Nations Human Rights Council, outline how businesses should implement the corporate responsibility to respect human rights principles included in the United Nations "Protect, Respect and Remedy" framework on human rights. Allegations, even if untrue, that we are not respecting one or more of the 30 human rights found in the United Nations Universal Declaration of 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; 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 protect our associates' and our supply chain employees' human rights, or inadvertently discriminate against any group of associates 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.
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, many 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 provide an appropriate mix of incentives to our bottling partners through a combination of 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 energy and resources to business opportunities or products other than those of the Company. Such actions could, in the long run, have an adverse effect on our profitability.
If our bottling partners' financial condition deteriorates, our business and financial results could be affected.
We derive a significant portion of our net operating revenues from sales of concentrates and syrups to independent bottling partners and, therefore, the success of our business depends 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 in the territories in which they operate; the availability of capital and other financing resources on reasonable terms; loss of major customers; additional regulations; or disruptions of bottling operations that may be caused by strikes, work stoppages, labor unrest, natural disasters 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 major equity method investee bottling partners, it could also result in a decrease in our equity income and/or impairments of our equity method investments.
If we do not successfully integrate and manage our consolidated bottling operations or other acquired businesses or brands, our financial results could suffer.
From time to time we acquire or take control of bottling operations, often in underperforming markets where we believe we can use our resources and expertise to improve performance. In addition, we routinely evaluate opportunities to acquire other businesses or brands to expand our beverage portfolio and capabilities. We may incur unforeseen liabilities and obligations in connection with acquiring, taking control of or managing acquired bottling operations, other businesses or brands and may encounter unexpected difficulties and costs in restructuring and integrating them into our Company's operating and internal control structures. We may also experience delays in extending our Company's internal control over financial reporting to newly acquired or consolidated bottling operations or other newly acquired businesses, which may increase the risk of failure to prevent misstatements in their financial records and in our consolidated financial statements. In addition, our product quality and safety programs and controls may not be sufficiently robust to effectively cope with the expanded range of product offerings introduced through newly acquired businesses or brands, which may increase our costs or subject us to negative publicity. Also, we may not be able to successfully manage the additional complexities involved with overseeing the various supply chain models as we expand our product offerings and seek to manage acquired businesses in a more independent, less integrated manner. Our financial performance depends in large part on how well we can manage and improve the performance of consolidated bottling operations and other acquired businesses or brands. However, we may not be able to achieve our strategic and financial objectives for such bottling operations, businesses or brands. If we incur unforeseen liabilities, obligations and costs in connection with acquiring or integrating bottling operations or other businesses, experience internal control or product quality failures, or are unable to achieve our strategic and financial objectives for consolidated bottling operations and other acquired businesses or brands, our consolidated results could be negatively affected.
If we do not successfully manage our refranchising activities, our business and results of operations could be adversely affected.
As part of our strategic initiative to refocus on our core business of building brands and leading our system of bottling partners, we continue to seek opportunities to refranchise 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 our expected timetable and on terms and conditions favorable to us; our refranchising partners are not efficient and aligned with our long-term vision for the Coca-Cola system; or we are unable to maintain good relationships with the refranchised bottling operations, our business and results of operations could be adversely affected.
RISKS RELATED TO REGULATORY AND LEGAL MATTERS
Increases in income tax rates, changes in income tax laws or unfavorable resolution 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 taxes, which is itself impacted by currency movements. Consequently, the isolated or combined effects of unfavorable movements in tax rates, geographic mix or foreign exchange rates could reduce our after-tax income. Tax laws, including rates of taxation, are subject to revision by individual taxing jurisdictions which 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 considering proposals that could expand the jurisdictional scope and level of taxation of certain cross-border income and potentially impose some form of global minimum tax. It is possible that the adoption of these or other proposals could have a material impact on our after-tax income and cash flows. 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. Although the Company disagrees with the unfavorable portions of the Opinion 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 Opinion 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 Opinion were to be applied to the foreign licensees covered within the scope of the Opinion. Moreover, the IRS could successfully appeal the portions of the Opinion 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 have an impact on the transition tax payable as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 ("Tax Reform Act").
Increased or new indirect taxes in the United States and throughout the world 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 sugar-sweetened beverages, packaging taxes, property taxes and payroll taxes, in many of the jurisdictions in which we operate, including indirect taxes imposed by state and local governments. In addition, in the past, the U.S. Congress considered imposing a federal excise tax on beverages sweetened with sugar, HFCS or other 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 sugar-sweetened beverages. 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 currently offer nonrefillable containers in the United States and in various other markets around the world. Legal requirements have been enacted in various jurisdictions in the United States and overseas 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, tethered bottle caps, ecotax and/or product stewardship or even prohibitions on certain types of plastic products, packages and cups have been introduced in various jurisdictions in the United States and overseas, and we anticipate that similar legislation or regulations may be proposed in the future at local, state and federal 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 in any of the major markets in which we operate, 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 may seek to adopt significant additional product labeling or warning requirements or limitations on the marketing or sale of our products as a result 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 major products under current or future environmental or health laws or regulations, they may inhibit sales of such products.
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, 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 possible 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, litigation claims and legal proceedings arising out of our advertising and marketing practices, product claims and labels, 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 associates 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 associates and agents with all applicable legal requirements. Improper conduct by our associates 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.
Failure to adequately protect, or disputes relating to, trademarks, formulae and other intellectual property rights could harm our business.
Our trademarks, formulae 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's business is subject to various laws and regulations in the numerous countries throughout the world in which we do business, including laws and regulations relating to competition, product safety, advertising and labeling, container deposits, recycling and product stewardship, the protection of the environment, occupational health and safety, employment and labor practices, 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, including increased or additional regulations to limit 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, or to limit or impose additional costs on commercial water use due to local water scarcity concerns, may 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. In addition, failure to comply with U.S. trade sanctions, the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other applicable laws or regulations could result in litigation, the assessment of damages, the imposition of penalties, suspension of production or distribution, costly changes to equipment or processes due to required corrective action, or a 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 currencies other than the U.S. dollar, including the euro, the Japanese yen, the Brazilian real and the Mexican peso. In 2020, we used 70 functional currencies in addition to the U.S. dollar and derived $21.7 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. For information regarding the estimated impact of currency fluctuations on our consolidated and operating segment net operating revenues for 2020 and 2019, refer to the heading "Operations Review — Net Operating Revenues" set forth in Part II, "Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" of this report. Because of the geographic diversity of our operations, weakness in some currencies may be offset by strength in others 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 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. In addition, in July 2017, the United Kingdom's Financial Conduct Authority, the governing body responsible for regulating the London Interbank Offered Rate ("LIBOR"), announced that it will no longer compel or persuade financial institutions and panel banks to submit rates for the calculation of LIBOR after 2021. This decision is expected to result in the discontinuance of the use of LIBOR as a reference rate for commercial loans and other indebtedness. Although the impact of the possible discontinuance of LIBOR publication and transition to alternative reference rates remains unclear, it is possible that these changes may have an adverse impact on our financing costs. 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.
Unfavorable general economic and political conditions in the United States and international markets could negatively impact our financial results.
In 2020, our net operating revenues in the United States were $11.3 billion, or 34 percent, of our total net operating revenues, and our operations outside the United States accounted for $21.7 billion, or 66 percent, of our total net operating revenues. Unfavorable general economic conditions, such as a recession or economic slowdown, could negatively affect the affordability of, and consumer demand for, our beverages. 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 could negatively affect our overall financial performance.
Other financial uncertainties in our major markets, including uncertainties related to Brexit implementation and unstable political conditions, including civil unrest and governmental changes, could undermine global consumer confidence and reduce consumers' purchasing power, thereby reducing demand for our products. Product boycotts resulting from political activism could reduce demand for our products, while 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 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 action or policy, could also negatively affect our business.
If we are not able 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 were 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. In connection with our long-term strategic planning, in 2020 a cross-functional, networked team reviewed the Company's total portfolio, earmarking thriving global, regional and local brands with track records of sequential and incremental growth. Following this exercise, the Company expects to offer a portfolio of approximately 200 master brands, an approximate 50 percent reduction from the current number. The portfolio optimization is intended to free up resources to invest in growing trademarks and better position the Company to nurture promising local innovations, and graduate regional wins to the global stage. If we are unsuccessful in implementing this portfolio optimization, our long-term growth may be adversely affected.
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.
If we fail to realize a significant portion of the anticipated benefits of our strategic relationship with Monster, our financial results could be adversely affected.
In June 2015, we entered into a long-term strategic relationship in the global energy drink category with Monster. If we are unable to successfully manage our complex relationship with Monster, or if for any other reason we fail to realize all or a significant part of the benefits we expect from this strategic relationship and the related investment, our financial performance could be adversely affected.
RISKS RELATED TO INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, DATA PRIVACY AND DIGITIZATION
If we are unable to protect our information systems against service interruption, misappropriation of data or breaches of security, 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 personnel and our bottlers and other customers, suppliers and consumers. Because information systems are critical to many of the Company's operating activities, our business may be impacted by system shutdowns, service disruptions or security breaches. 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 common hackers, criminal groups or nation-state organizations or social-activist (hacktivist) organizations, geopolitical events, natural disasters, failures or impairments of telecommunications networks, or other catastrophic events. In addition, such incidents could result in unauthorized or accidental disclosure of material confidential information or regulated individual personal data. If our information systems 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 concentrate or finished products. Unauthorized or accidental access to, or destruction, loss, alteration, disclosure, falsification or unavailability of, information could result in violations of data privacy laws and regulations, 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. The Company could also be required to spend significant financial and other resources to remedy the damage caused by a security breach or to repair or replace networks and information systems.
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 or suppliers, may experience cybersecurity incidents that may involve data we share with them. Although the incidents that we have experienced to date 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, cyber insurance and training of Company personnel. The Company maintains an information risk management program which is supervised by information technology management and reviewed by a cross-functional committee. As part of this program, reports that include analysis of emerging risks as well as the Company's plans and strategies to address them are regularly prepared and presented to senior management and the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors.
If we fail to comply with personal data protection and privacy laws, we could be subject to adverse publicity, government enforcement actions and/or private litigation, 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"), primarily employees, former employees and consumers with whom we interact. As a result, we are subject to various U.S. federal and state and foreign laws and regulations relating to personal data. These laws have been subject to frequent changes, and new legislation in this area may be enacted in other jurisdictions at any time. These laws impose operational requirements for companies receiving or processing personal data, and many provide for significant penalties for noncompliance. 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 security systems, policies, procedures and practices. 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 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. Unauthorized access or improper disclosure of personal data in violation of personal data protection or privacy laws could harm our reputation, cause loss of consumer confidence, subject us to regulatory enforcement actions (including fines), 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.
If we are not successful in our efforts to digitize 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 that 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 digitize 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 digitizing 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 digitize the Coca-Cola system, our ability to increase sales and reduce costs may be negatively affected and the cost and expenses we have incurred or may incur in connection with our digitization initiatives may adversely impact our financial performance.
If our third-party service providers and business partners do not satisfactorily fulfill their commitments and responsibilities, 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 functions or for services in support of key portions of our operations. These third-party service providers and business partners 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. In addition, while we have procedures in place for selecting and managing 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, 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, our financial results could suffer.
RISKS RELATED TO ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL FACTORS
Increasing concerns about the environmental impact of plastic bottles and other plastic 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 proliferation and accumulation of plastic bottles and other packaging materials in the environment, particularly in the world's waterways, lakes and oceans. We and our bottling partners sell certain of our beverage products in plastic bottles and use other plastic packaging materials that are not biodegradable and, while largely recyclable, may not be regularly recovered and recycled due to low economic value or 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, 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 commitments to reduce the Coca-Cola system's impact on the environment by increasing our use of recycled plastic and other packaging materials; increasing our use of packaging materials that are made in part of plant-based renewable materials; participating in programs and initiatives to reclaim or recover plastic 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 commitments, the resulting negative publicity could adversely affect consumer preference for our beverage 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 of recycling rates or, in some cases, restricting or even prohibiting the use of 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 may require us to incur additional expenses and to increase our capital expenditures. A reduction in consumer demand for our beverage 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. 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 or net operating revenues in the long run.
Increased demand for food products and decreased agricultural productivity 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 and decreased agricultural productivity in certain regions of the world as a result of changing weather patterns and other factors may limit the availability 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 will cause 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 sources of ingredients for our products, and could impact the food security of communities around the world. Climate change may also exacerbate water scarcity 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 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. 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 effects of climate change and legal or regulatory 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 commitments to reduce the Coca-Cola system's carbon footprint by increasing our use of recycled packaging materials 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 commitments, 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
ITEM 2. PROPERTIES
Our worldwide headquarters is located on a 35-acre office complex in Atlanta, Georgia. The office complex includes our 621,000 square foot headquarters building and an 870,000 square foot building in which our North America group's main offices are located. The office complex also includes several other buildings, including our 264,000 square foot Coca-Cola Plaza building, technical and engineering facilities, and a reception center. These properties, except for the North America group's main offices, are included in Corporate. The North America group's main offices are included in the North America operating segment.
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.
The following table summarizes our principal production facilities, distribution and storage facilities, and retail stores by operating segment and Corporate as of December 31, 2020:
|Principal Concentrate and/or Syrup Plants||Principal Beverage Manufacturing/Bottling Plants||Principal Distribution and Storage Facilities||Principal Retail Stores|
|Europe, Middle East & Africa||6 ||— ||— ||— ||7 ||26 ||— ||12 |
|Latin America||5 ||— ||— ||— ||2 ||5 ||— ||— |
|North America||11 ||— ||9 ||4 ||— ||17 ||— ||— |
|Asia Pacific||6 ||— ||— ||— ||2 ||— ||— ||— |
|Global Ventures||1 ||— ||1 ||— ||— ||1 ||— ||1,731 |
|Bottling Investments||— ||— ||87 ||8 ||109 ||99 ||— ||— |
|Corporate||3 ||— ||— ||— ||— ||6 ||— ||— |
|Total||32 ||— ||97 ||12 ||120 ||154 ||— ||1,743 |
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 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. 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.
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 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 percent 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.
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 either to 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 approximately $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. The Tax Court reserved ruling on the effect of Brazilian legal restrictions on the payment of royalties by the Company's licensee in Brazil until after the Tax Court issues its opinion in the separate case of 3M Co. & Subs. v. Commissioner, T.C. Docket No. 5816-13 (filed March 11, 2013). Once the Tax Court issues its opinion in 3M Co. & Subs. v. Commissioner, the Company expects the Tax Court thereafter to render another opinion, and ultimately a final decision, in the Company's case.
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, though not limited to, the Opinion 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 Opinion ("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 Opinion and the Company's analysis.
While the Company strongly disagrees with the IRS' positions and the portions of the Opinion 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 the years at issue, and potentially also for subsequent periods, 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 Opinion, assuming such methodology is ultimately upheld by the 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, 2020 for the 2007 through 2009 litigated tax years and for subsequent tax years from 2010 to 2020. The calculations incorporated the estimated impact of correlative adjustments to the previously accrued transition tax payable under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The Company currently estimates that the potential aggregate incremental tax and interest liability could be approximately $12 billion. Additional interest would continue to accrue until the time any such potential liability, or portion thereof, is paid. The Company currently projects that the impact of the continued application of the Tax Court Methodology in future years, assuming similar facts and circumstances as of December 31, 2020, would result in an incremental annual tax liability that would increase the Company's effective tax rate by approximately 3.5 percent.
The Company does not know when the Tax Court will issue its opinion regarding the effect of Brazilian legal restrictions on the payment of royalties by the Company's licensee in Brazil for the 2007 through 2009 tax years. After the Tax Court issues its opinion on the Company's Brazilian licensee, the Company and the IRS will be provided time to agree on the tax impact, if any, of both opinions, after which the Tax Court would render a final decision in the case. The Company will have 90 days thereafter to file a notice of appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and pay the tax liability and interest related to the 2007 through 2009 tax period. The Company currently estimates that the payment to be made at that time related to the 2007 through 2009 tax period, which is included in the above estimate of the potential aggregate incremental tax and interest liability, would be approximately $4.6 billion (including interest accrued through December 31, 2020), plus any additional interest accrued through the time of payment. Some or all of this amount would be refunded if the Company were to prevail on appeal.
ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
ITEM X. INFORMATION ABOUT OUR EXECUTIVE OFFICERS
The following are the executive officers of our Company as of February 25, 2021:
Chief Marketing Officer since January 2020. 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.
President of the Latin America operating unit since January 2021, and prior to that, President of the Brazil business unit from September 2016. President of the Greater China and Korea business unit from March 2013 to September 2016.
|Lisa Chang||52||Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer since March 2019 when she joined the Company. Prior to that, 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. |
|Bradley M. Gayton||57||Senior Vice President and General Counsel since September 2020. Joined the Company from Ford Motor Company ("Ford"), a global automotive and mobility company, where he served as Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel from June 2017 and General Counsel from January 2016. Group Vice President at Ford from January 2016 to January 2019, when his title was changed without a change in his responsibilities. Assistant General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at Ford from April 2012 to December 2015.|
|Nikolaos Koumettis||56||President of the 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.|
|Robert Long||63||Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer since May 2017, and prior to that, Vice President, Research and Development from December 2016. He will be retiring from the Company effective February 28, 2021.|
|Jennifer K. Mann||48||President, Global Ventures since January 2019 and Senior Vice President since May 2017. Served as Chief People Officer from May 2017 to March 2019 and as 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 Murphy||59||Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer since March 2019, and prior to that, Senior Vice President and Deputy Chief Financial Officer from January 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 Perez||51||Senior Vice President and Chief of Communications, Sustainability and Strategic Partnerships since May 2017. Her functional title changed twice since May 2017. 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.|
|Nancy Quan||54||Senior Vice President and Chief Technical Officer since January 2019, and prior to that, Chief Technical Officer of Coca-Cola North America from July 2016. Global R&D Officer from January 2012 to July 2016. She will be assuming the position of Chief Technical and Innovation Officer effective February 28, 2021.|
|James Quincey||56||Chairman 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 April 2015 to December 2018, and Chief Operating Officer from August 2015 to April 2017.|
|Alfredo Rivera||59||President of the North America operating unit since August 2020, and prior to that, President of the Latin America Group from August 2016. President of the Latin Center business unit from January 2013 to August 2016.|
|Barry Simpson||60||Senior Vice President since December 2016 and Chief Platform Services Officer since January 1, 2021. Prior to that, Chief Information and Integrated Services Officer from January 2019, when his duties were expanded to include oversight of portions of the Company's Enabling Services organization, and Chief Information Officer from October 2016. Prior to joining the Company in January 2016 as the head of Global Business Unit Information Technology Services, Chief Information Officer of Coca-Cola Amatil Limited, a Coca-Cola bottler based in Sydney, Australia, from 2008 to December 2015.|
|Brian Smith||65||President and Chief Operating Officer since January 2019, and prior to that, President of the Europe, Middle East and Africa Group from August 2016. President of the Latin America Group from January 2013 to August 2016.|
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.
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 22, 2021, there were 197,226 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 definitive Proxy Statement for the Annual Meeting of Shareowners to be held on April 20, 2021 ("Company's 2021 Proxy Statement"), to be filed with the SEC, is incorporated herein by reference.
During the year ended December 31, 2020, 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, 2020 by the Company or any "affiliated purchaser" of the Company as defined in Rule 10b-18(a)(3) under the Exchange Act:
|Period||Total Number of|
|Total Number of|
as Part of Publicly
|Maximum Number of|
Shares That May
Yet Be Purchased
|September 26, 2020 through October 23, 2020||11,879 ||$||50.02 ||— ||161,029,667 |
|October 24, 2020 through November 20, 2020||1,966,820 ||54.00 ||— ||161,029,667 |
|November 21, 2020 through December 31, 2020||127,023 ||53.32 ||— ||161,029,667 |
|Total||2,105,722 ||$||53.93 ||— |
1The total number of shares purchased includes: (i) shares purchased pursuant to the 2012 Plan described in footnote 2 below and (ii) shares surrendered to the Company to pay the exercise price and/or to satisfy tax withholding obligations in connection with so-called stock swap exercises of employee stock options and/or the vesting of restricted stock issued to employees.
2On October 18, 2012, the Company publicly announced that our Board of Directors had authorized a plan ("2012 Plan") for the Company to purchase up to 500 million shares of our common stock. This column discloses the number of shares purchased pursuant to the 2012 Plan during the indicated time periods (including shares purchased pursuant to the terms of preset trading plans meeting the requirements of Rule 10b5-1 under the Exchange Act).
3On February 21, 2019, the Company publicly announced that our Board of Directors had authorized a new plan ("2019 Plan") for the Company to purchase up to 150 million shares of our common stock following the completion of the 2012 Plan. This column discloses the number of shares available for purchase under the 2012 Plan and the number of shares authorized for purchase under the 2019 Plan.
Comparison of Five-Year Cumulative Total Shareowner Return Among
The Coca-Cola Company, the Peer Group Index and the S&P 500 Index
Total Shareowner Return
Stock Price Plus Reinvested Dividends
|The Coca-Cola Company||$||100 ||$||100 ||$||114 ||$||122 ||$||147 ||$||150 |
|Peer Group Index||100 ||111 ||123 ||100 ||123 ||133 |
|S&P 500 Index||100 ||112 ||136 ||130 ||171 ||203 |
The total shareowner return assumes that dividends were reinvested daily and is based on a $100 investment on December 31, 2015.
The Peer Group Index is a self-constructed peer group of companies that are included in the Dow Jones Food & Beverage Index and the Dow Jones Tobacco Index, from which the Company has been excluded.
The Peer Group Index consists of the following companies: Altria Group, Inc., Archer Daniels Midland Company, Beyond Meat, Inc., The Boston Beer Company, Inc., Brown-Forman Corporation, Bunge Limited, Campbell Soup Company, Conagra Brands, Inc., Constellation Brands, Inc., Darling Ingredients Inc., Flowers Foods, Inc., General Mills, Inc., The Hain Celestial Group, Inc., Herbalife Nutrition Ltd., The Hershey Company, Hormel Foods Corporation, Ingredion Incorporated, Jefferies Financial Group Inc., Kellogg Company, Keurig Dr Pepper Inc., The Kraft Heinz Company, Lamb Weston Holdings, Inc., Lancaster Colony Corporation, McCormick & Company, Incorporated, Molson Coors Brewing Company, Mondelēz International, Inc., Monster Beverage Corporation, National Beverage Corp., PepsiCo, Inc., Performance Food Group Company, Philip Morris International Inc., Pilgrim's Pride Corporation, Post Holdings, Inc., Seaboard Corporation, The J.M. Smucker Company, TreeHouse Foods, Inc., Tyson Foods, Inc. and US Foods Holding Corp.
ITEM 6. INTENTIONALLY OMITTED
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 the nonalcoholic beverage segment of the commercial beverage industry; our progress toward emerging stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic; our core capabilities; and challenges and risks of our business.
•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 2020 and 2019 and year-to-year comparisons between 2020 and 2019. An analysis of our consolidated results of operations for 2019 and 2018 and year-to-year comparisons between 2019 and 2018 can be found in MD&A in Part II, Item 7 of the Company's Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019.
•Liquidity, Capital Resources and Financial Position — an analysis of cash flows; off-balance sheet arrangements and aggregate contractual obligations; foreign exchange; and the impact of inflation and changing prices.
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 nonalcoholic beverage brands, which we group into the following category clusters: sparkling soft drinks; water, enhanced water and sports drinks; juice, dairy and plant-based beverages; tea and coffee; and energy drinks. We own and market four of the world's top five nonalcoholic sparkling soft drink brands: Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Fanta and Sprite.
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 — the world's largest nonalcoholic beverage distribution system. Beverages bearing trademarks owned by or licensed to us account for 1.9 billion of the approximately 62 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 markets, manufactures and sells:
•beverage concentrates, sometimes referred to as "beverage bases," and syrups, including fountain syrups (we refer to this part of our business as our "concentrate business" or "concentrate operations"); and
•finished sparkling soft drinks and other nonalcoholic beverages (we refer to this part of our business as our "finished product business" or "finished product operations").
Generally, finished product operations generate higher net operating revenues but lower gross profit margins than concentrate operations.
Our concentrate operations typically generate net operating revenues by selling concentrates, 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 sweeteners (depending on the product), still water or sparkling water, 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 concentrate, 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 nonalcoholic beverages, such as water, enhanced water and sports drinks; juice, dairy and plant-based beverages; tea and coffee; and energy drinks, to retailers, or to distributors and wholesalers who in turn sell the beverages to retailers. 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 outlets operated by Costa, which is 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 the fountain syrups to fountain retailers. These fountain syrup sales are included in our North America operating segment.
The following table sets forth the percentage of total net operating revenues attributable to concentrate operations and finished product operations:
|Year Ended December 31,||2020||2019|
|Concentrate operations||56 ||%||55 ||%|
|Finished product operations||44 ||45 |
|Total||100 ||%||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,||2020||2019|
|Concentrate operations||82 ||%||83 ||%|
|Finished product operations||18 ||17 |
|Total||100 ||%||100 ||%|
The Nonalcoholic Beverage Segment of the Commercial Beverage Industry
We operate in the highly competitive nonalcoholic beverage segment of the 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, political climate, local and national laws and regulations, foreign currency fluctuations, fuel prices and weather patterns.
Emerging Stronger from the COVID-19 Pandemic
Throughout 2020, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related actions by governments around the world to attempt to contain the spread of the virus have significantly impacted our business. In particular, the outbreak and preventive measures taken to contain COVID-19 negatively impacted our unit case volume and our price, product and geographic mix in all of our operating segments, primarily due to unfavorable channel and product mix as consumer demand shifted to more at-home versus away-from-home consumption.
The Company's priorities during the COVID-19 pandemic and related business disruption are ensuring the health and safety of our employees; supporting and making a difference in the communities we serve; keeping our brands in supply and maintaining the quality and safety of our products; serving our customers across all channels as they adapt to the shifting demands of consumers during the crisis; and positioning ourselves to emerge stronger when this crisis ends.
We deployed global and regional teams to monitor the rapidly evolving situation in each of our local markets and recommended risk mitigation actions; we implemented travel restrictions; and we are following social distancing practices. Around the world, we are endeavoring to follow guidance from authorities and health officials including, but not limited to, checking the temperature of associates when entering our facilities, requiring associates to wear masks and other protective clothing as appropriate, and implementing additional cleaning and sanitization routines at system facilities. In addition, most office-based employees around the world are required to work remotely.
During times of crisis, business continuity and adapting to the needs of our customers are critical. We have developed systemwide knowledge-sharing routines and processes, which include the management of any supply chain challenges. As of the date of this filing, there has been no material impact, and we do not foresee a material impact, on our and our bottling partners' ability to manufacture or distribute our products. We are moving with speed to best serve our customers impacted by COVID-19. In partnership with our bottlers and retail customers, we are working to ensure adequate inventory levels in key channels while prioritizing core brands, key packages and consumer affordability. We are increasing investments in e-commerce to support retailer and meal delivery services, shifting toward package sizes that are fit-for-purpose for online sales, and shifting more consumer and trade promotions to digital.
Although we are experiencing a time of crisis, we are not losing sight of long-term opportunities for our business. The pandemic helped us realize we could be much bolder in our efforts to change. We believe that we will come out of this situation a better and stronger company. We identified the following key objectives to navigate the pandemic and position us to emerge stronger: winning more consumers; gaining market share; maintaining strong system economics; strengthening stakeholder impact; and equipping the organization to win. We leveraged the crisis as a catalyst to accelerate our strategy and to begin to deliver against these objectives by focusing on the following priorities: optimizing our portfolio of strong global, regional and scaled local brands; establishing a disciplined innovation framework; increasing consumer-centric marketing effectiveness and efficiency; strengthening data-driven revenue growth management and execution capabilities; enhancing system collaboration and capturing supply chain efficiencies; and evolving our organization and investing in new capabilities to support the accelerated strategy. In August 2020, the Company announced strategic steps to transform our organizational structure to better enable us to capture growth in the fast-changing marketplace. The Company is building a networked global organization designed to combine the power of scale with the deep knowledge required to win locally. Refer to Note 18 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information about our strategic realignment initiatives.
To support our ability to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic, we must continue to enhance our core capabilities of consumer marketing, commercial leadership and franchise leadership.
Marketing investments are designed to enhance consumer awareness of, and increase consumer preference for, our brands. Successful marketing investments produce long-term growth in unit case volume, per capita consumption and our share of worldwide nonalcoholic beverage sales. Through our relationships with our bottling partners and those who sell our products in the marketplace, we create and implement integrated marketing programs, both globally and locally, that are designed to heighten consumer awareness of and product appeal for our brands. In developing a strategy for a Company brand, we conduct product and packaging research, establish brand positioning, develop precise consumer communications and solicit consumer feedback. Our integrated marketing activities include, but are not limited to, advertising, point-of-sale merchandising, sales promotions and digital marketing.
We are focusing on marketing strategies to drive volume growth in emerging markets, increase our brand value in developing markets, and grow net operating revenues and profit in our developed markets. In emerging markets, we are investing in infrastructure programs that drive volume through increased access to consumers. In developing markets, where consumer access has largely been established, our focus is on differentiating our brands. In our developed markets, we continue to invest in brands and infrastructure programs but generally at a slower rate than gross profit growth.
The Coca-Cola system has millions of customers around the world who sell or serve our products directly to consumers. We focus on enhancing value for our customers and providing solutions to grow their beverage businesses. Our approach includes understanding each customer's business and needs — whether that customer is a sophisticated retailer in a developed market or a kiosk owner in an emerging market. We focus on ensuring that our customers have the right product and package offerings and the right promotional tools to create enhanced value for themselves and the Company. We are constantly looking to build new beverage consumption occasions in our customers' outlets through unique and innovative consumer experiences, product availability and delivery systems, and beverage merchandising and displays. We participate in brand-building initiatives with our customers in order to drive consumer preference for our brands. Through our commercial leadership initiatives, we embed ourselves further into our retail customers' businesses while developing strategies for better execution at the point of sale.
We must continue to improve our franchise leadership capabilities to give our Company and our bottling partners the ability to grow together through shared values, aligned incentives and a sense of urgency and flexibility that supports consumers' always changing needs and tastes. The financial health and success of our bottling partners are critical components of the Company's
success. We work with our bottling partners to identify processes that enable us to quickly achieve scale and efficiencies, and we share best practices throughout the bottling system. With our bottling partners, we work to produce differentiated beverages and packages that are appropriate for the right channels and consumers. We also design business models in specific markets to ensure that we appropriately share the value created by our beverages with our bottling partners. We must also continue to build a supply chain network that leverages the size and scale of the Coca-Cola system to gain a competitive advantage.
Challenges and Risks
Being global 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 the nonalcoholic beverage segment of the commercial beverage industry and our Company. Of these, five key challenges and risks are discussed below.
The rates of obesity affecting communities, cultures and countries worldwide continue to be too high. There is growing concern among consumers, public health professionals and government agencies about the health problems associated with obesity. This concern represents a significant challenge to our industry. We understand and recognize that obesity is a complex public health challenge and are committed to being a part of the solution.
We recognize the uniqueness of consumers' lifestyles and dietary choices. Commercially, we continue to:
•offer 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; and
•market responsibly, including no advertising targeted to children under 12.
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 to find winning solutions in the area of noncaloric sweeteners. This includes working to reduce sugar and calories in many of our beverages. We want to be a more 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 and Shopping 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 choices, personalization, a focus on sustainability and recyclability, and transparency related to our products and packaging. We are committed to meeting their needs and to generating new growth through our evolving portfolio of beverage brands and products (including numerous low- and no-calorie products), new product offerings, innovative and sustainable packaging, and ingredient education efforts. We are also committed to continuing to expand the variety of choices we provide to consumers and to providing options that reflect consumer concerns about impacts to the planet.
Increased Competition and Capabilities in the 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 has led to dramatic shifts in consumer shopping patterns and presents new challenges to competitively maintain the relevancy of our brands. We must continuously strengthen our capabilities in marketing and innovation in order to compete in a digital environment and maintain our brand loyalty and market share, while we selectively expand into other profitable categories of the nonalcoholic beverage segment of the commercial beverage industry.
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. The Coca-Cola system works every day to share safe and refreshing beverages with 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 meet 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 system 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.
Ingredient Quality and Quantity
Water quality and quantity is an issue that requires our Company's sustained attention and collaboration with other companies, suppliers, governments, nongovernmental organizations and communities where we operate. 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. Water is a critical natural resource facing unprecedented challenges from overexploitation, increased food demand, increasing pollution, poor management and the effects of climate change.
Our Company regularly assesses the specific water-related risks that we and many of our bottling partners face and has implemented a formal water risk management program. Mitigation of water risk forms the basis of our water stewardship strategic framework. This strategy is executed at the local level where we operate and includes the following elements: water use efficiency and wastewater treatment in manufacturing operations; shared watershed protection efforts; engaging local communities; and addressing water resource management in our agricultural ingredient supply chain. Such efforts are conducted in collaboration and partnership with others and are intended to help address local needs. Many of these efforts help us in achieving our goal of replenishing the water that we and our bottling partners source and use in our finished products. We are also collaborating with other companies, governments, nongovernmental organizations and communities to advocate for needed water policy reforms and action to protect water availability and quality around the world.
We believe that our Company can leverage the water-related knowledge we have developed in the communities we serve through source water availability assessments and planning, water resource management, water treatment, wastewater treatment systems and models for working with communities and partners in addressing water and sanitation needs. As demand for water continues to increase around the world, we expect continued action on our part will help with the successful long-term stewardship of this critical natural resource, both for our business and the communities we serve.
In addition, increased demand for commodities and 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 sources of ingredients for our products, and could impact the food security of communities around the world. We are dedicated to implementing our sustainable sourcing commitment, which is founded on principles that protect the environment, uphold workplace rights and help build more sustainable communities. To support this commitment, our programs focus on economic opportunity, with an emphasis on female farmers, and environmental sustainability designed to help address these agricultural challenges. Through joint efforts with farmers, communities, bottlers, suppliers and key partners, as well as our increased and continued investment in sustainable agriculture, we can together help make a positive strategic impact on food security.
All of these challenges and risks — obesity; evolving consumer preferences; increased competition and capabilities in the marketplace; product safety and quality; and ingredient quality and quantity — have the potential to have a material adverse effect on the nonalcoholic beverage segment of the commercial beverage industry and on our Company; however, we believe our Company is well positioned to appropriately address these challenges and risks.
See ''Item 1A. Risk Factors'' in Part I of this report for additional information about risks and uncertainties facing our Company.
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 Current and Noncurrent Assets
•Pension Plan Valuations
Management has discussed the development, selection and disclosure of critical accounting policies and estimates with the Audit Committee of the Company's Board of Directors. While our estimates and assumptions are based on our knowledge of current events and 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 (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 we have the 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 11 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 they 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 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 Current and Noncurrent Assets
Our Company faces many uncertainties and risks related to various economic, political and regulatory environments in the countries 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 a result, management must make numerous assumptions which involve a significant amount of judgment when completing recoverability and impairment tests of current and noncurrent assets in various regions around the world.
We perform recoverability and impairment tests of current and noncurrent assets in accordance with U.S. GAAP. For certain assets, recoverability and/or impairment tests are required only when conditions exist that indicate the carrying value may not be recoverable. For other assets, impairment tests are required at least annually, or more frequently if events or circumstances indicate that an asset may be impaired.
The assessment of recoverability and the performance of impairment tests of current and noncurrent assets involve critical accounting estimates. These estimates require significant management judgment, include inherent uncertainties and are often interdependent; therefore, they do not change in isolation. 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, inflation, cost of capital, marketing spending, foreign currency exchange rates, tax rates, capital spending, proceeds from the sale of assets and customers' financial condition. These factors are even more difficult to estimate as a result of uncertainties associated with the scope, severity and duration of the global COVID-19 pandemic and any resurgences of the pandemic including, but not limited to, the number of people contracting the virus, the impact of shelter-in-place and social distancing requirements, the impact of governmental actions across the globe to contain the virus, the timing and number of people receiving vaccinations, and the substance and pace of the post-pandemic economic recovery. The estimates we use when assessing the recoverability of assets are consistent with those we use in our internal planning. When performing 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 variability of these factors depends on a number of conditions, including uncertainties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, and thus our accounting estimates may change from period to period. Our current estimates reflect our belief that we expect COVID-19 to impact our business for the better part of 2021, with the first half of the year likely to be more challenging than the second half. We expect to see improvements in our business as vaccines become more widely available throughout the year and consumers begin to return to many of their previous routines of socializing, work and travel. The Company has certain intangible and other long-lived assets that are more dependent on cash flows generated in the away-from-home channels and/or that generate cash flows in geographic areas that are more heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and are therefore more susceptible to impairment. In addition, intangible and other long-lived assets we 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 at the time of acquisition. If we had used other assumptions and estimates when tests of these assets were performed, impairment charges could have resulted. Furthermore, if management uses different assumptions or if different conditions exist in future periods, future impairment charges could result. The total future impairment charges we may be required to record could be material. Refer to Note 2 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for a discussion of recent acquisitions. Refer to Note 16 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for the discussion of impairment charges. Refer to the heading "Operations Review" below for additional information related to our present business environment. Certain factors discussed above are impacted by our current business environment and are discussed throughout this report, as appropriate.
Investments in Equity and Debt Securities
We measure all equity investments that do not result in consolidation and are not accounted for under the equity method at fair value with the change in fair value included in net income. We use quoted market prices to determine the fair value of equity securities with readily determinable fair values. For equity securities without readily determinable fair values, we have elected the measurement alternative under which we measure these investments at cost minus impairment, if any, plus or minus changes resulting from observable price changes in orderly transactions for the identical or a similar investment of the same issuer. Management assesses each of these investments on an individual basis.
Our investments in debt securities are carried at either amortized cost or fair value. The cost basis is determined by the specific identification method. Investments in debt securities that the Company has the positive intent and ability to hold to maturity are carried at amortized cost and classified as held-to-maturity. Investments in debt securities that are not classified as held-to-maturity are carried at fair value and classified as either trading or available-for-sale. Realized and unrealized gains and losses on trading debt securities as well as realized gains and losses on available-for-sale debt securities are included in net income. Unrealized gains and losses, net of tax, on available-for-sale debt securities are included in our consolidated balance sheet as a component of accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) ("AOCI"), except for the changes in fair values attributable to the currency risk being hedged, if applicable, which are included in net income.
Equity securities with readily determinable fair values that are not accounted for under the equity method and debt securities classified as trading are not assessed for impairment, since they are carried at fair value with the change in fair value included in net income. Equity method investments, equity securities without readily determinable fair values and debt securities classified as available-for-sale or held-to-maturity are reviewed each reporting period to determine whether a significant event or change in circumstances has occurred that may have an adverse effect on the fair value of each investment. When such events or changes occur, we evaluate the fair value compared to our cost basis in the investment. We also perform this evaluation every reporting period for each investment for which our cost basis has exceeded the fair value. The fair values of most of our Company's investments in publicly traded companies are often readily available based on quoted market prices. For investments in nonpublicly traded companies, management's assessment of fair value is based on valuation methodologies including discounted cash flows, estimates of sales proceeds and appraisals, as appropriate. We consider the assumptions that we believe market participants 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.
Property, Plant and Equipment
Certain events or changes in circumstances may indicate that the recoverability of the carrying amount or remaining useful life of property, plant and equipment should be assessed, including, among others, the manner or length of time in which the Company intends to use the asset, a significant decrease in market value, a significant change in the business climate in a particular market, or a current period operating or cash flow loss combined with historical losses or projected future losses. When such events or changes in circumstances are present and an impairment test is performed, we estimate the future cash flows expected to result from the use of the asset or asset group and its eventual disposition. These estimated future cash flows are consistent with those we use in our internal planning. If the sum of the expected future cash flows (undiscounted and without interest charges) is less than the carrying amount, we recognize an impairment loss. The impairment loss recognized is the amount by which the carrying amount exceeds the fair value. We use a variety of methodologies to determine the fair value of property, plant and equipment, including appraisals and discounted cash flow models. These appraisals and models include assumptions we believe are consistent with those a market participant would use.
Goodwill, Trademarks and Other Intangible Assets
Intangible assets are classified into three categories: (1) intangible assets with definite lives subject to amortization; (2) intangible assets with indefinite lives not subject to amortization; and (3) goodwill. For intangible assets with definite lives, tests for impairment must be performed if conditions exist that indicate the carrying value may not be recoverable. For intangible assets with indefinite lives and goodwill, tests for impairment must be performed at least annually, or more frequently if events or circumstances indicate that an asset may be impaired.
The assessment of recoverability and the performance of impairment tests of intangible assets involve critical accounting estimates. These estimates require significant management judgment, include inherent uncertainties and are often interdependent; therefore, they do not change in isolation. 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, inflation, cost of capital, marketing spending, foreign currency exchange rates, tax rates, capital spending and proceeds from the sale of assets. These factors are even more difficult to predict when global financial markets are highly volatile. The estimates we use when assessing the recoverability of intangible assets are consistent with those we use in our internal planning. When performing 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. Estimates and assumptions used in these tests are evaluated and updated as appropriate. The variability of these factors depends on a number of conditions, including uncertainty about future events, and thus our accounting estimates may change from period to period. If other assumptions and estimates had been used when these tests were performed, impairment charges could have resulted. As mentioned above, these factors do not change in isolation and, therefore, we do not believe it is practicable or meaningful to present the impact of changing a single factor. Furthermore, if management uses different assumptions or if different conditions exist in future periods, future impairment charges could result. Refer to the heading "Operations Review" below for additional information related to our present business environment. Certain factors discussed above are impacted by our current business environment and are discussed throughout this report, as appropriate.
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 estimated cost of capital and/or discount rates. Additionally, as discussed above, in accordance with U.S. GAAP, we are required to ensure that assumptions used to determine fair value in our analyses are consistent with the assumptions that we believe a market participant would use. As a result, the cost of capital and/or discount rates used in our analyses may increase or decrease based on market conditions and trends, regardless of whether our Company's actual cost of capital has changed. Therefore, if the cost of capital and/or discount rates change, our Company may recognize an impairment of an intangible asset in spite of realizing actual cash flows that are approximately equal to, or greater than, our previously forecasted amounts.
We perform impairment tests of goodwill at our reporting unit level, which is 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 subdivided into smaller geographic regions or territories that we sometimes refer to as "business units." These business units are also 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 loss recognized cannot exceed the carrying amount of goodwill. We typically use discounted cash flow models to determine the fair value of a reporting unit. The assumptions used in these 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 testing discussed above. Otherwise, the Company does not need to perform any further assessment.
When events or circumstances indicate that the carrying value of definite-lived intangible assets may not be recoverable, management assesses the recoverability of the carrying value by preparing estimates of sales volume and the resulting gross profit and cash flows. These estimated future cash flows are consistent with those we use in our internal planning. If the sum of the expected future cash flows (undiscounted and without interest charges) is less than the carrying amount of the asset or asset group, we recognize an impairment loss. The impairment loss recognized is the amount by which the carrying amount exceeds the fair value. We use a variety of methodologies to determine the fair value of these assets, including discounted cash flow models. These models include assumptions we believe are consistent with those a market participant would use.
We test indefinite-lived intangible assets, including trademarks, franchise rights and goodwill, for impairment annually, or more frequently if events or circumstances indicate that an asset may be impaired. Our Company performs these annual impairment tests as of the first day of our third fiscal quarter. We use a variety of methodologies in conducting impairment assessments of indefinite-lived intangible assets, including, but not limited to, discounted cash flow models. These models include assumptions we believe are consistent with those a market participant would use. 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 testing described above. Otherwise, the Company does not need to perform any further assessment.
Pension Plan Valuations
Our Company sponsors and/or contributes to pension and postretirement health care and life insurance benefit plans covering substantially all U.S. employees. We also sponsor nonqualified, unfunded defined benefit pension plans for certain employees and participate in multi-employer retirement plans in the United States. In addition, our Company and its subsidiaries have various pension plans and other forms of postretirement benefit arrangements outside the United States.
Management is required to make certain critical estimates related to the actuarial assumptions used to determine our net periodic pension cost and pension obligations. We believe the most critical assumptions are (1) the discount rate used to determine the present value of the liabilities and (2) the expected long-term rate of return on plan assets. All of 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 net periodic pension cost and pension obligations.
At each measurement date, we determine the discount rate primarily by reference to rates of high-quality, long-term corporate bonds that mature in a pattern similar to the future benefit payments we anticipate making under the plans.
The Company measures the service cost and interest cost components of net periodic benefit cost for pension and other postretirement benefit plans 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 long-term rates. Our investment objective for our pension plan assets is to ensure all of our plans have
sufficient funds 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 2020, the Company's total income related to defined benefit pension plans was $44 million, which included $66 million of net periodic benefit income and net charges of $22 million, primarily due to settlements, curtailments and special termination benefits. In 2021, we expect our net periodic benefit income related to defined benefit pension plans to be approximately $146 million. We currently expect to incur settlement charges in 2021 related to our strategic realignment initiatives. The increase in 2021 expected net periodic benefit income is primarily due to favorable asset performance in 2020 and a reduction in the number of plan participants arising from our strategic realignment initiatives, partially offset by a decrease in the weighted-average discount rate at December 31, 2020 compared to December 31, 2019. The estimated impact of a 50 basis-point decrease in the discount rate would result in a $17 million decrease in our 2021 net periodic benefit income. Additionally, the estimated impact of a 50 basis-point decrease in the expected long-term rate of return on plan assets would result in a $26 million decrease in our 2021 net periodic benefit income.
The sensitivity information provided above is based only on changes to the actuarial assumptions used for our U.S. pension plans. As of December 31, 2020, the Company's primary U.S. pension plan represented 61 percent and 59 percent of the Company's consolidated projected benefit obligation and pension plan assets, respectively. Refer to Note 13 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information about our pension plans and related actuarial assumptions.
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 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.
Our customers and bottling partners may be entitled to cash discounts, funds for promotional and marketing activities, volume‑based incentive programs, support for infrastructure programs and other similar programs. 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 concentrate 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 and accounts payable and accrued expenses in our consolidated balance sheet. The actual amounts ultimately paid and/or received may be different from our estimates.
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 14 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 11 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Tax law requires 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. These timing differences create deferred tax assets and liabilities. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are determined based on temporary differences between the financial reporting and tax bases 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 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 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 14 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
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 two components: (1) a center focused on strategic initiatives, policy and governance; and (2) an enabling services organization focused on both simplifying and standardizing key transactional processes and providing support to business units through global centers of excellence. For further information regarding our operating segments, refer to Note 19 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 also acquire brands 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 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 equivalent unit cases) 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 coffee beans and finished beverages (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 fluctuations; and (4) acquisitions and divestitures (including structural changes 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 are not able to 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 or independent customer. 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 or independent customer 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 these transactions 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 or independent customer. We typically report unit case volume when finished products manufactured from the concentrates or syrups are sold to a third party or independent customer regardless of our ownership interest in the bottling partner.
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 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 these brands is 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 products are sold. Typically, the Company has not reported unit case volume or recognized concentrate sales volume related to these brands 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 the brand is incremental to prior year volume. We generally do not consider the licensing of a brand to be a structural change.
In 2020, the Company acquired the remaining ownership interest in fairlife. The impact on revenues for fairlife products not previously sold by the Company has been included in acquisitions and divestitures in our analysis of net operating revenues on a consolidated basis as well as for the North America operating segment.
Also in 2020, the Company discontinued our Odwalla juice business. The impact of discontinuing our Odwalla juice business has been included in acquisitions and divestitures in our analysis of net operating revenues on a consolidated basis as well as for the North America operating segment.
In 2019, the Company acquired the remaining ownership interest in C.H.I. Limited ("CHI"). The impact of this acquisition has been included in acquisitions and divestitures in our analysis of net operating revenues on a consolidated basis as well as for the Europe, Middle East and Africa operating segment. Other acquisitions by the Company included controlling interests in bottling operations in Zambia, Kenya and Eswatini. The impact of these acquisitions 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.
Also in 2019, the Company refranchised certain of its bottling operations in India. The impact of these refranchising activities 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.
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 primarily consists of beverage products bearing Company trademarks. Also included in unit case volume are certain products 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 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 measures of the underlying strength of the Coca-Cola system because it measures trends 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 coffee beans and finished beverages (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.
Information about our volume growth worldwide and by operating segment is as follows:
|Percent Change 2020 versus 2019|
|Europe, Middle East & Africa||(6)||%||(8)||%|
1Bottling Investments operating segment data reflects unit case volume growth for consolidated bottlers only.
2Geographic and Global Ventures operating segment data reflects 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.
3 In 2019, with the exception of ready-to-drink products, the Company did not report unit case volume for Costa, a component of the Global Ventures operating segment. However, unit case volume in 2020 includes both Costa ready-to-drink and non-ready-to-drink products. The Company adjusted 2019 to include Costa non-ready-to-drink unit case volume when calculating 2020 versus 2019 volume growth rates.
4After considering the impact of structural changes, unit case volume for Bottling Investments for the year ended December 31, 2020 declined 13 percent.
5After considering the impact of structural changes, concentrate sales volume for Asia Pacific for the year ended December 31, 2020 declined 10 percent.
Unit Case Volume
Sparkling soft drinks represented 69 percent of our worldwide unit case volume in 2020 and 2019. Trademark Coca‑Cola accounted for 47 percent and 45 percent of our worldwide unit case volume in 2020 and 2019, respectively. In 2020, unit case volume in the United States represented 18 percent of the Company's worldwide unit case volume. Of the U.S. unit case volume, 61 percent was attributable to sparkling soft drinks. Trademark Coca-Cola accounted for 43 percent of U.S. unit case volume. Unit case volume outside the United States represented 82 percent of the Company's worldwide unit case volume for 2020. The countries outside the United States in which our unit case volumes were the largest were Mexico, China, Brazil and Japan, which together accounted for 32 percent of our worldwide unit case volume. Of the non-U.S. unit case volume,
71 percent was attributable to sparkling soft drinks. Trademark Coca-Cola accounted for 48 percent of non-U.S. unit case volume.
The Coca-Cola system sold 29.0 billion and 30.3 billion unit cases of our products in 2020 and 2019, respectively. The decline was primarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unit case volume in Europe, Middle East and Africa declined 6 percent, which included a 4 percent decline in sparkling soft drinks, an 18 percent decline in both water, enhanced water and sports drinks and tea and coffee, and a 9 percent decline in juice, dairy and plant-based beverages. The group's sparkling soft drinks volume performance reflected a decline of 2 percent in Trademark Coca-Cola. The group reported declines in unit case volume in all business units with the exception of the West Africa business unit, which reported a 3 percent increase in unit case volume.
In Latin America, unit case volume declined 2 percent, which included a 1 percent decline in sparkling soft drinks, a 4 percent decline in water, enhanced water and sports drinks, a 6 percent decline in juice, dairy and plant-based beverages and a 1 percent decline in tea and coffee. Trademark Coca-Cola grew 1 percent. The group reported declines in unit case volume of 4 percent in the Mexico business unit and 6 percent in the South Latin business unit, which were partially offset by a 3 percent increase in unit case volume in the Brazil business unit and even volume in the Latin Center business unit.
Unit case volume in North America declined 7 percent, which included a 15 percent decline in tea and coffee and a 4 percent decline in both water, enhanced water and sports drinks and juice, dairy and plant-based beverages. The group's sparkling soft drinks volume declined 7 percent, which included a 5 percent decline in Trademark Coca-Cola.
In Asia Pacific, unit case volume declined 9 percent, which included a 16 percent decline in both water, enhanced water and sports drinks and juice, dairy and plant-based beverages, a 5 percent decline in sparkling soft drinks and an 8 percent decline in tea and coffee. The group's sparkling soft drinks volume performance included growth of 2 percent in Trademark Coca-Cola. The group reported declines in unit case volume of 27 percent in the India & South West Asia business unit, 7 percent in both the ASEAN and Japan business units, 4 percent in the South Pacific business unit and 3 percent in the Greater China & Korea business unit.
Unit case volume for Global Ventures declined 13 percent, driven by a 29 percent decrease in tea and coffee, partially offset by growth in energy drinks. Performance was even in juice, dairy and plant-based beverages.
Unit case volume for Bottling Investments declined 15 percent.
Through early February 2021, the Company has experienced a volume decline of mid single digits globally.
Concentrate Sales Volume
In 2020, worldwide concentrate sales volume declined 7 percent and unit case volume declined 6 percent compared to 2019. The differences between concentrate sales volume and unit case volume growth rates on a consolidated basis and for the operating segments were primarily due to the timing of concentrate shipments, structural changes 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.
Net Operating Revenues
Net operating revenues were $33,014 million in 2020, compared to $37,266 million in 2019, a decrease of $4,252 million, or 11 percent.
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 2020 versus 2019|
|Price, Product & Geographic Mix||Foreign Currency Fluctuations|
Acquisitions & Divestitures2
|Europe, Middle East & Africa||(8)||%||(5)||%||(2)||%||— ||%||(14)||%|
|Latin America||(2)||2 ||(14)|