Muhtar KentChairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Coca-Cola Company

Washington, DC
May 12, 2010

As prepared for delivery

Thank you, Terry (Yosie), and good evening, everyone. It's a great pleasure to be back at the Gold Medal Presentation here on the 26th anniversary of the World Environment Center.

And it's a true privilege tonight to be sharing the dais with three gentlemen -- President Clinton, our honoree, Lee Scott, and Terry -- all of whom I admire greatly and whose organizations are doing incredible work to help create a more sustainable world.

Indeed, we would all be hard pressed to find three organizations that have done more these past few years to advance sustainable business practices than the World Environment Center, The Clinton Global Initiative, and our wonderful customer and partner, Walmart.

It's hard to believe that a year has already gone by since I had the honor of accepting the Gold Medal Award on behalf of our 700,000 Coca-Cola system associates around the world. Last year we talked about the necessity to keep the momentum of the sustainability movement growing.

At Coca-Cola, we know that our great customers such as Walmart and our consumers who reach for our brands 1.6 billion times each day expect us to deliver on our promises. A brand is really nothing more than a promise we make. And if a good brand is a promise... then a great brand is a promise kept.

I am pleased to say that in these last 365 days, the men and women of Coca-Cola have continued to make significant contributions toward our sustainability goals.

On the water stewardship front, for instance, we recently embarked on an ambitious 6-year, $30 million dollar commitment to provide clean water in Africa. The RAIN -- or Replenish Africa Initiative -- is one of the largest corporate commitments to water stewardship in the world.

On the sustainable packaging front, this past November we rolled out the first of more than 2 billion PlantBottles that will be produced by the end of this year. These innovative PET bottles are made partially from plants and are 100 percent recyclable -- a first.

On the energy management and climate protection fronts, this past winter we announced with Greenpeace that 100 percent of our new vending machine and cooler purchases will be hydro-flouro-carbon-free by 2015. We believe this step will help accelerate a market shift in commercial refrigeration away from HFCs, which have been linked to ozone depletion and climate change.

I am also pleased to say we made great progress this past year working with WEC, President Clinton and Walmart on a number of important initiatives.

For instance, working with WEC, the U.S. State Department and Coca-Cola FEMSA, our largest bottler in Latin America, we launched a new supply chain initiative in Costa Rica that promises to help our suppliers reduce their water and energy footprints, minimize waste and lower operating costs.

With President Clinton, I had the privilege of participating in the Clinton Global Initiative this past year, where we announced our commitment to create more economic opportunities for women across our supply chain in the developing world.

And just a few weeks ago, President Clinton, the Prime Minister of Haiti Jean-Max Bellerive, President of the Inter-American Development Bank Luis Alberto Moreno, and several other leaders joined me in announcing our Haiti Hope Project to create opportunity for 25,000 Haitian mango farmers and their families. As part of this $7.5 million dollar initiative, we developed a new mango drink called Haiti Hope, which is now available in Walmart stores. We will direct all profits from this beverage to help support mango farmers and their families.

And, of course, with Walmart this past year, we continued to build on the successes of several environmental sustainability initiatives we've launched together around the world.

Which leads to our honoree this evening: Ladies and gentlemen, when you think about global business leaders who have truly changed the game when it comes to advancing sustainable business practices my friend Lee Scott sits right at the top of that list.

Since 2005, when Lee first announced Walmart's aspirations to be supplied 100 percent by renewable energy; create zero waste; and sell products that sustain our resources and environment -- the world's largest and most powerful retail system has helped fundamentally change the world. And we are all in a better place today because of it.

At Coca-Cola, we've experienced these positive changes first-hand by working closely with Lee and all of our great Walmart partners. From innovative recycling programs, to the placement of energy efficient coolers and vending machines inside Walmart stores, to improved distribution and routing systems that use less fuel, to collaborating on carbon footprint studies -- we at Coca-Cola are, without a doubt, a better partner and a better company thanks to Lee's and Walmart's leadership. Together, we are putting the consumer in the middle of the equation -- empowering them to embrace sustainable consumption.

For these and so many other reasons, I am truly honored to be back here tonight to help pay tribute to Lee and to Walmart, and to encourage everyone here to keep up the good work to create a more sustainable future. We can never, ever, let this important work be relegated to the backburner. Our families, our businesses, our communities and our collective future lie in the balance.

Thank you.