Last Updated 20 May 2021

Coca-Cola Sustainability Strategy

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Coca-Cola Enterprises is the largest manufacturer, distributor and marketer of non-alcoholic beverages and syrups in the world. As with many large corporations in today’s world, the company has made great strides in becoming more energy-efficient and environmentally conscious. The company’s new sustainability campaign “Deliver for Today, Inspire for Tomorrow” focuses on corporate and environmental sustainability with the goal of leading the industry in two major areas: energy and climate change and sustainable packing and recycling. Other areas Coca-Cola is investing in are community and charity iniatives and employee volunteering.

The ongoing damage caused by greenhouse gases to our planet’s ecosystem is devastating. Coca-Cola understands the need to reduce emissions for a low-carbon future and to do that the company first looked to manufacturing. They have placed energy meters on all equipment and manufacturing lines to identify and develop the most energy efficient processes. Additionally, the company has been implementing more energy-friendly lighting into their factories and exploring options with heat recovery. The company has been revamping their current factories globally with energy saving equipment while building new ones more ecofriendly. Their operation in Sweden has been running 100% on renewable energy since 2008.

According to the Coca-Cola Company’s Sustainability Report 2011/2012, from 2008 to 2011, the company’s total sales volume increased by 35%, while emissions intensity(ratio of emissions to sales volume) decreased by 17% (Coca-Cola Company, 2012). Another way the company has been saving energy is by reducing emissions from cold-beverage vending machines. The company has said that by 2014, they “want to cut the carbon footprint of our cold drinks equipment by 35%”. The company is installing energy saving devices in many cold drink coolers and vending machines. It’s energy management tool that recognizes patterns of use and shuts off the lights and adjusts the temperature when idol. They also replaced LED lights instead of fluorescent lights, which are 80% more efficient (Coca-Cola Enterprises, 2013). The company has set very precise targets and goals for their own production and products for the year 2020.

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It will be monumental in reducing the company’s global emissions and hopefully show other businesses and factories how to reduce their emissions. These goals include:

  1. Reduce the amount of emissions by one third for every bottle manufactured by 2020
  2. Continue to grow, but reduce total carbon emissions of the company by 15% by 2020
  3. Manufacture every 1L of product with 50% less carbon emissions by 2020

An interesting perspective that Coca-Cola is addressing is the need to collaborate with the entire supply chain to reduce carbon emissions. This includes distributors, retailers and also the consumer. The company has reached out to all it’s affiliates down the supply chain to measure their own energy emissions and continue to strive for solutions to lower the global footprint. An example of this is when Coca-Cola collaborated with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to introduce the “Top 10 Energy-Saving Challenge” to bottlers and plant managers across the world. The system showed these businesses 10 high-return, low-risk energy-saving solutions to implement immediately in their own plants and factories. The program strives for high financial return but more importantly for all bottlers to implement these practices to be as energy efficient and mindful as possible. Coca-Cola also focuses their efforts on their delivery trucks in becoming sustainable transportation. Now all trucks have efficient fuel intake including electricity, natural gas, biodiesel and hybrid models. In North America, the company boats the largest hybrid electric delivery fleet on the continent. The fleet consists of more then 750 trucks that use around 30% less fuel than regular diesel delivery trucks. Recently, the company changed the computer in its 10,000 truck fleet to reduce green house gases by automatically shutting down after being idle for a certain amount of time and set truck speed limits.

Coca-Cola is always working to develop a packaging contains less plastic and less energy put into making it. Over the years, the bottle has evolved to become to more and more energy-efficient. Recently, the label was made thinner to reduce weight and conserve paper. In 2011, Coca-Cola started a marketing campaing called “Arctic Home” and packaged their bottles in white cans instead of their iconic red ones. They did this to raise awareness about global warming in the Arctic, and more specifically for Polar Bear conservation efforts. The campaign generated nearly two million dollars from consumers and others and raised the level of awareness of the severity of the issue.

Coca-Cola takes an active and responsible interest in its employees and the communities where they have operations. The firm highly believes in giving back to the communities where they do business so they are big supporters of local events and charities, enriching lives and making a difference with everyday people. The main areas Coca-Cola targets are business education, aiding disadvantaged communities, nurturing diversity and promoting active healthy living and of course, recycling. In a way to empower emplyees as well as give back to communities, Coca-Cola promotes and encourages employee volunteering in the community, and even let employees help with charities of their choosing during certain working hours throughout the year.

Coca-Cola also understands the importance of the world’s water sources and strives to minimize its impact on local communities and ecosystems. At each plant and factory, a water vulnerability assessment takes place for potential risks to the environment. The company has said they want to be the industry leader in water efficiency, which means constantly finding new ways to reduce water consumption and usage. The company makes sure to invest back into the community where they extract water and to replenish those reserves through community-based water programs.

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