In many parts of the world, opening a bottle of Coca-Cola means opening the doors to economic empowerment for women. In the Philippines, women own or operate more than 86 percent of the small neighborhood stores that sell our products. In Africa, thousands of women own and operate our Micro Distribution Centers (MDCs). And in developing countries, half of all farmers are women. All in all, women make up a significantly high percentage of key segments of our value chain. As we move toward our vision of doubling our business by 2020, women will be essential contributors to our success.

Women are not only pillars of our business but also pillars of their communities. Women invest a sizable portion of the money they earn in the health and education of their children and in their local economies, creating a tremendous economic ripple. Unleashing the entrepreneurial potential of women is one of the surest ways to make our business sustainable, and one of the most effective and lasting ways we can help families and communities prosper. When we invest in the success of women, we invest in our own success and in the success of communities around the world.

Given the crucial role of women in our system—and the economic barriers too many women still face—we have made women’s economic empowerment a priority. Our 5by20 women’s initiative launched in 2010 and continues to grow and gain momentum. The 5by20 initiative aims to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs in our global value chain by 2020. In collaboration with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), governments and businesses, we’re helping female entrepreneurs associated with our business gain access to three essential economic enablers: business skills training, loans and financial services and assets, and peer networks and mentoring. The 5by20 initiative focuses on women in six segments of our value chain: producers, suppliers, distributors, retailers, recyclers and artisans.

In 2012, we expanded and deepened the 5by20 initiative. By year’s end, 5by20 programs were operating in Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, Haiti, India, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, South Africa and Thailand. New 5by20 programs were under development in 10 additional countries as well. Most of the women we have enabled thus far are retailers. Three quarters of the women enabled are new to our value chain. In all, the 5by20 initiative has enabled approximately 300,000 women since the launch of the program in 2010 through December 31, 2012.

Read more about 5by20, our global commitment to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs across our Company’s value chain by 2020, in our 2012/2013 Women’s Economic Empowerment Report (PDF).