Throughout my 25-year career and now as the leader of Sustainability at Coca-Cola, I have had a front-row seat to watching the world develop. I’ve visited cities where dirt roads led you through with electricity and water only available to a few and returned years later to a bustling, well-lit urban area. I’ve met women and children who didn’t have safe water access or would walk for hours to retrieve water for their families’ needs, and then learned how their lives transformed when a water pump and bathroom were installed. And, I’ve watched economies emerge from areas that were once unknown.
Through my experiences, I have come to appreciate the progress and prosperity communities can reach if they are able to thrive. At our core, Coca-Cola understands the markets and opportunities that exist if a community is healthy and economically empowered.
The underpinning of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is eliminating poverty globally. Such a goal is necessary, and likely would benefit everyone from individuals to governments and business. Many companies, organizations and governments already have programs and partnerships in place to meet the SDGs, but there is more to be done. To fully realize these goals, all parties—government, civil society and the private sector—must be engaged and have a role.
Throughout our system, sustainability is embedded into every aspect of our business. We recognize ensuring a viable business requires understanding and often acting on the social challenges and opportunities our world faces. Through our sustainability platform, our Company is aligned and contributing towards all 17 SDGs, with an especially strong focus on our leadership areas of women, water and well-being.
To this end, we have launched a comprehensive overview of Coca-Cola’s inputs toward the achievement of the SDGs, outlining our support of meaningful programs and partnerships that help communities achieve these necessary goals, to build a better world for 2030 and beyond. You can explore this work here.
At Coca-Cola, our sustainability investments are made relative to our business priorities and in programs that allow for the greatest impact. We believe that partnership is key to making programs as effective as possible. Through partnership we can leverage different skills and expertise as well as gain access to additional resources, achieving far more together than alone.
Beyond investments, business can also contribute to SDG success through engagement on policy and cross-sector dialogue. Doing so will help drive collaboration on critical issues core to business success and benefit the societies we serve.
Ultimately, governments will play the largest role in determining how the SDGs are achieved and through what investments and projects they prioritize. We stand ready to collaborate where the need is greatest.
The collaboration among stakeholders that went into establishing the new SDG development agenda was inspiring. As a global community, we have a shared responsibility to contribute to global solutions. More companies need to be engaged and embrace strategies that answer the call of the SDGs. The SDGs need us, all of us – big and small, for profit and not.
We invite you – civil society, business and governments – to join us in setting meaningful programs and actions into place to do your part in achieving these necessary goals to help shape the world in 2030.