How CCA is leading the way on sustainability

How CCA is leading the way on sustainability

Following Coca-Cola Co UK's announcement that it plans to double the recycled plastic content of all its bottles to 50% by 2020 and introduce a for cash back system for its cans, Naomi Kaplan takes a looks at measures Coca-Cola is undertaking globally to build its sustainability.

Coca Cola has rejected Greenpeace claims that is “doing nothing to genuinely challenge the culture of throwaway.”

The environmental crusader has dismissed its latest plan to increase recycling of its packaging as being “restricted to Britain”, but a Coca-Cola European Partners spokesperson told just-drinks that Coca-Cola is working on an "ambitious" new sustainability plan for Western Europe, expected to be released later this year.

"At present, only 70% of the cans and 57% of the plastic bottles used each year are recycled," CCEP said. "CCEP believes these figures should be higher.” 

Coca-Cola Amatil (Australia and Asian Pacific regions) has also been actively working on sustainability initiates that Coca Cola is seeking to emulate in other markets.

Coca-Cola UK follows Australia's deposit refund example

An astonishing 15-16 million plastic bottles are thrown away in the UK each day, leading to huge pressure on UK to up its game on recycling.

The Container Deposit Scheme (CDS), or simply a deposit refund, is an initiative the offers a small refund of between 10-25c per can or plastic bottle when it is returned.

The concept already successfully exists in parts of Australia, Canada, the US, Germany and Scandinavia, and the UK is planning to following the initiative by introducing the scheme in the near future.

Jon Woods, general manager of Coca-Cola's British division told Daily Mail that although Coca-Cola cans have already been recyclable for a long time, not enough is being done to change public attitudes towards recycling.

“All our bottles and cans have been 100% recyclable for some time so in theory none should be littered," Woods said.. "But we know that isn't happening and that's why we are going to do more.” 

If the CDS is successful, all of UK’s 20 Coca-Cola brands including Coca-Cola range, Sprite, Fanta, Smartwater and Schwepps will be eligible for a small repayment under the new scheme.

The container deposit scheme has already been successful in Australia, with former NSW premier Mike Baird claiming in 2016 that the financial reward system encourages people to recycle.

“The [container deposit] scheme is the single largest initiative ever undertaken to reduce litter in NSW,” Baird told Government News. “Giving people a financial incentive to do the right thing and recycle drink containers will help to significantly reduce the estimated 160 million drink containers littered every year.”

The drinks industry was initially conflicted in its stance toward the CDS, primarily because beverage suppliers would be forced to fund the 10c refund, translating into higher drinks prices and potentially lowering company profits.

However, CCA has since confirmed its support for the container deposit scheme.

“Sustainability is at the heart of our business. Coca-Cola has jointly run the container deposit scheme in South Australia for more than 40 years. We are currently working with governments in NSW, QLD and WA on the implementation of their schemes”, noted on its latest website update.

Setting an example in the South Pacific

CCA has been working on increasing sustainability across the South Pacific region.

Coca-Cola Amatil Fiji (CCAF) just launched a solar energy project to address climate change.

The project has already successfully installed 3800 solar panels to the Fiji Suva production plant to provide 40% solar powered energy of the facility's total power supply – this is the equivalent to powering 207 homes, carbon offset of 25,000 trees and 415,000 litres of diesel. There are even future plans to extend this to 80% solar power when the technology allows.

The company's general manager Roger Hare said the solar energy project was the first of its kind in the Amatil family and was also something they were proud of as it aligns with the environmental values.

"We take our corporate social responsibility very seriously and support the Fiji Government's efforts to encourage a more resilient Fijian community and economy by addressing the global impacts of climate change," Hare told The Fiji Times.

Other CCA environmental measures

On top of the Fiji solar power initiative and the Australian CDS, CCA has show its support for the environment through measures including improving the water quality of the Great Barrier Reef through The Coca-Cola Company’s Project Catalyst by working with sugar farms to reduce sugarcane cultivation nutrient runoff to the Reef.

It has also installed 1700 infiltration wells across Indonesia in areas of high water stress in its operating territories.

The company has been named the leading global Coca-Cola bottler for several PET packaging reduction initiatives and having the most advanced efficient pack design.

Moreover, in 2016 CCA released its commitment to safely return to nature an amount of water equivalent to what it uses in its beverages by 2020.

Coca-Cola Enterprises – the bigger picture

On a global level, Coca-Cola has a strict environmental policies and plans outlined in its latest 2016 Sustainability Report.

Among the global renewable energy measures:

52.9% reduction in the CO2 e g/liter of product produced against its 2007 baseline.

32.8% of the energy it used in 2015 came from renewable/low-carbon energy sources, saving more than 56,962 tonnes of CO2 e per year.

18.2% of its electricity came from renewable sources in 2015.

74.49 energy use ratio (kWh/1,000 liters) in 2015.

18.42% reduction in total energy use versus 2007.

Moreover, with regards to sustainable packaging, Coca-Cola globally has achieved:

22% reduction in packaging use ratio (115 g/liter) since 2007.

130,645 tons of recycled material used in packaging in 2015.

35.5% of PET used in 2015 came from renewable materials.

 

 
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