Chilling and water dominate Coca-Cola green aims

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Carbon dioxide Recycling Coca-cola

Water efficiency use, bottle-to-bottle recycling of PET and a commitment to expanding Carbon Dioxide (CO2) refrigerators are some of the key claims coming from Coca-Cola’s latest sustainability report.

The drink maker, like a number of its rivals, has been keen to play up both its environmental and social sustainability commitments, and has now released its fifth annual report into the actions it has taken as part of the focus over 2008.

Environmental groups the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which cooperates sometimes with businesses like Coca-Cola, said it was encouraged by the manufacturers green commitments. Nonetheless, some beverage associations believe that wider green scope for the entire industry is needed to offset current concerns.

Societal role

Despite such claims, group chief executive officer Muhtar Kent, said that the focus of Coca-Cola and its bottlers for sustainable manufacture reflected the wider demands on all business in terms of impacting society.

“Sustainability reflects an understanding of the role our business must play in society if we are to be successful in the 21st century,”​ he stated.

“This understanding is expressed in our renewed focus on productivity and efficiency, the goals we have set as a system, and the ways in which we are engaging with stakeholders and communities.”

Green aims

Coca-Cola’s sustainability report, which also includes details of the company’s health drives, such as the launching 150 low- and no-calorie drinks during 2007, shows a number of attempts to improve the environmental impact of the business.

These have included the purchase of 100,000 CO2 powered coolers for its brands and a pilot scheme in the US state of Minnesota for the recycling of can and bottle packaging to be reused in its operations, ahead of a wider North American rollout of the scheme.

Rival claims

Amidst these announcements, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola’s major rival in soft drink domination, said that it too believes it is succesfully focusing on wider policies for green processing and packaging.

While the company was unable to reveal if it would be adapting similar ‘away from home’ schemes like those started by Coca-Cola in Minnesota, spokesperson David DeCecco said earlier this month that it was committed to the use of recycled plastics.

“We lead the beverage industry with 10 per cent recycled content in our soft drink bottles,”​ he stated. “That's a number that our competition has not yet been able to match.”

The Union of European Beverages Associations (UNESDA) also stressed this month that beverage makers had a number of green challenges to face beyond solely focusing on recycling or climate change.

A spokesperson for UNESDA said that continuing to find new approaches to green production was required to meet European green targets.

Improving the ease of which materials such as PET can be recycled, water conservation and measuring carbon foot prints are all areas that UNESDA says it is currently looking into with its members.

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