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Sustainability at Coca Cola: Climate, Energy, Packaging and Agriculture

Sustainability Initiatives by Coca Cola

Sustainability has become a major concern for all the big brands globally. Several of them have made serious investments in this area and are also reaping the benefits. Many brands have invested in large scale green projects to protect the environment and reduce their carbon footprints. Some of the key focus areas related to sustainability include water, climate, energy, waste management and agriculture.

Coca Cola is a global soda giant that has invested in all these areas for a better future of the planet and to minimize its impact on the environment.  Sustainability has several direct and indirect benefits for businesses. On the one hand it minimizes their environmental impact, reduces their carbon footprint and wastage, on the other, it also reduces costs and creates a better image in the society. The result is always beneficial. Some of the results get evident in the short term while some continue to benefit the brand in the long term.

Water Stewardship

Coca Cola has formed an elaborate sustainability strategy for itself where it will be devoting significant resources and efforts as well as capital resources to environmental protection. It has set important goals in four areas including water stewardship, energy and climate, packaging and agriculture. It has formulated an important strategy that it has named Coca Cola 2020 environmental goals. Water stewardship is an important area where Coca cola has focused its efforts.

It has already invested more than a billion dollars in the past decade on its wastewater treatment initiatives. In 2016 it improved its water efficiency by 10% as compared to 2010. In 2014, Coca Cola replenished 2014 of the water it used for the production of beverages. It has achieved this through its 209 community water partnership projects in 61 countries. Its goal is to improve its water efficiency by 25% by 2020. In the area of water stewardship it has also partnered with World Wildlife Fund for water conservation.

Climate, Energy and Packaging

Apart from it, Coca Cola has also set important goals in the area of climate and energy conservation. It has set the goal of reducing CO2 emissions throughout its value chain by 25% by the year 2020. In this regard, it has already installed more than 1.4 million HFC free water coolers around the globe. Since 2004, the company has improved its energy efficiency by 21%. The 5.6 million energy management devices that it has installed on its refridgerator equipment saves it more than 3.1 million metric tons of CO2 emissions a year. Another area where Coca Cola’s focus is set is packaging.

It has invested in a type of innovative packaging which it calls plant bottle packaging. By July 2015, it had sent more than 35 billion plant bottle packages to the market which meant a saving of more than 743,000 barrels of oil. By placing more than 6900 bins at the 2014 FIFA world cup, it collected more than 450 tons of solid waste.  It has also reduced packaging weight by 15% since 2008. For 2020, it has set the goal of recovering at least 75% of the bottles and cans that it introduces in the developed markets.

Agriculture

Agriculture is another key area where Coca Cola has focused its sustainability efforts. The primary goal in this area is to source key agricultural ingredients sustainably.  Sugar is an important raw material that Coca Cola needs in plenty apart from water. It purchased its first Bonsucro certified sugar in 2011 and had certified 40 sugar mills in Australia and Brazil by July 2015. It started a project called Project Catalyst that has grown to include more than 140 sugar cane growers and more than 500,000 acres. Coca Cola has also trained 2600 farmers at innovative farming practices to increase their corn yields.

It has initiated Project Unnati (means development)  in India, through which it plans to enroll 25,000 small farmers whom it is going to train at utilizing drip irrigation techniques. The benefits of this project are expected to expand to 25000 farmers and to more than 50 thousand acres. In this way, Coca Cola has taken some major steps for reducing its environmental impact globally  and to help farmers increase their yield. Apart from it, the focus is also on energy and water conservation.

Other Environmental Initiatives

This was about its 2020 goals and major sustainability initiatives. The brand has also achieved some important milestones on its path to sustainability. It is involved in several appreciable initiatives that have proved beneficial in terms of environmental protection.  The Yelyna Reserve is a peat bog and natural reserve spread over more than 23000 hectares in Northern Belarus. More than 70% of its moss was destroyed in 2002 by a fire. Coca Cola launched the ‘Let’s Save Yelyna’ project in 2007 and initiated the bog’s restoration with the cooperation of a local NGO.

Over these ten years, it has implemented several projects in the Yelyna reserve. Coca Cola has invested in similar several projects globally to protect the nature and environment. Apart from sustainability, its focus is also on Corporate Social Responsibility.  Currently, it is working in tandem with the World Wildlife Fund on its sustainability goals.

Source:

Marking a Decade of Sustainable Development in the Yelnya Reserve ( A. OLcer, 2017)

Our 2020 Environmental goals 2020 : Coca Cola Company

Written by Abhijeet Pratap

Abhijeet has been blogging on educational topics and business research since 2016. He graduated with a Hons. in English literature from BRABU and an MBA from the Asia-Pacific Institute of Management, New Delhi. He likes to blog and share his knowledge and research in business management, marketing, literature and other areas with his readers.

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