Home CSR/CSI Earth Day: How Coca-Cola is investing in our planet through collective action

Earth Day: How Coca-Cola is investing in our planet through collective action

by Emmanuel Ogundele
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Smart businesses are developing sustainability strategies, which take the environment seriously. (name of journalist) writes that Coca-Cola is a sustainability leader and shows how the company is doing this. 

Earth Day is a reminder to mankind to continue to do little things that help the environment such as reducing, recycling and reusing materials, planting trees and conserving energy. It is about ensuring a cleaner future.

‘Invest In Our Planet’ is the theme for Earth Day 2022, which underlines an urgent need to take care of and heal the planet. Go green.

It means encouraging efforts at preserving and protecting excellent health conditions for families and sustaining livelihoods. It posits that a green future is a prosperous future.

Business leaders have accepted that Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) requirements matter for both profitability and sustainability of companies. This explains why the investment community has begun to take ESG performance reporting seriously.

Studies show direct correlations between sustainable business practices, share prices, and business performance. Sustainability is normative. It prescribes. It stresses intergenerational equity commonly considered to have three dimensions: the environmental, economic and social dimensions. Companies who develop strong ESG standards have better profitability, stronger financials, happier employees, and more resilient stock performance.

Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited and its bottling partner, Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) are investing in our planet in Africa’s most populous country under its new sustainability platform #JAMII with focus on water, wealth, climate, energy and waste management all to support a better future of the planet and to minimize its impact on the environment.

Water Leadership in Africa

The Coca-Cola Foundation’s flagship program, Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN) was introduced in 2009 to address Africa’s water challenges through healthy watershed programmes and community water programs. The Pan-African program aligns with the company’s global vision to replenish water in communities they operate and source ingredients through strategic partnerships to deliver sustainable projects, aimed at achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 6 which is Clean water and Sanitation for all.

he program which was managed by the Global Environment and Technology Foundation was in two phases. At the end of the second phase in 2020, it recorded a positive impact of over 7 million people across the continent.

The program replenished over 20 billion liters of water returned to communities and nature improving access to water, health and sanitation which in turn improved hygiene behaviours, established and enhanced sustainable water management practices, improved environmental stewardship and community health and finally, promoted efficient and sustainable use of water for economic development.

Climate, Energy and Packaging

Coca-Cola and its bottling partners are evolving our climate change goals to align with current climate science.

Our Science Based Target (SBT) is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 25% across the entire value chain by 2030 as compared to a 2015 baseline. The SBT differs from our existing “drink-in-your-hand” target, as instead of a relative target (to reduce emissions per volume) it is an absolute target to reduce our total GHG emissions by 25%, regardless of our volume growth. This change is aligned with current industry best practice and reflects an ambitious decoupling of our GHG emissions from our sales growth.

In Nigeria, Coca-Cola’s bottling partner, NBC stated that 50 per cent of its manufacturing plants are now powered in part by solar energy with the photovoltaic cells delivering up to 3,640-Kilowatt peak power output (KWp) to the facilities. Further installations will continue through the year 2022 to ensure even more sustainable growth across the NBC ecosystem.

In 2018, The Coca-Cola Company pledged a ‘World Without Waste’ global commitment to help collect and recycle the equivalent of a bottle or can for every one the company sells by 2030; to make 100% of its packaging recyclable by 2025; and to use at least 50% recycled material in its packaging by 2030.’ 

In Nigeria, the company and its local bottling partner the NBC are strongly committed to these goals.

Coca-Cola recognizes that this is an ambitious goal, but together with fellow businesses, recyclers, government agencies, NGOs, and community organizations in Nigeria, they are committed and energized by the prospect of creating a circular economy for recyclable PET plastic.

Over the last ten years, the company has rolled out packaging innovations and partnerships in Nigeria towards the global World Without Waste goals.

  • Leading the formation of the producer responsibility organization for Food and Beverage packaging waste “FBRA” which has worked with diverse stakeholders and regulatory bodies to set up the standard for the recycling of food grade PET in Nigeria. This has stimulated the circular economy landscape for Nigeria.
  • Changing their iconic Sprite bottles in Nigeria and other parts of the world from green to clear plastic to make the bottles easier to recycle into something new. Clear plastic bottles are more likely to be collected and recycled compared to colored plastic bottles.
  • Supporting packaging collection initiatives through the industry Alliance FBRA as well as through strategic partnership with collectors, aggregators, and NGOs by funding various initiatives and behavioral change projects across the country. E,gs include Cycleplast, RESWAYE, Recylespay, Mission Zero Plastic, Project Revive, Project DORI, Waste to Strap, Waste to Wealth, Cash to Trash, Waste in the City etc.
  • Light weighting its recyclable (PET) plastic packaging, which has resulted to the removal of significant amount of new or virgin plastic materials from its packaging. 
  • Working together with other industry partners, recyclers, government agencies, and NGOs to accelerate a closed loop economy in Nigeria. This has led to the recovery and recycling of over 2 billion bottles thus preserving the planet.

It is clear that unless businesses and governments act now, climate change will ever more deeply damage economies, increase scarcity, drain profits, erode job prospects, and impact everyone, adversely. Today’s smart companies are those that have discovered that it is no longer a choice between going green and growing long-term profits.

Sustainability is the path to prosperity. Therefore, for both humanitarian and business reasons, it is imperative that companies of all sizes take action and embrace the benefits of a clean environment and green economy.

Let’s Invest In Our Planet Today!

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