Our Approach to Sustainability

At Coca-Cola, in everything we do we aim to strengthen the foundations of our business and the communities we serve so that all thrive long into the future.

We are a global business that operates on a local scale, in every community; that is the strength of the Coca-Cola system. We’ve built our business on the power of partnerships, starting at our earliest origins with our bottling partners at the community level. Today, this global-local business endures as we engage with stakeholders around the world to work together through our “Golden Triangle” partnership approach to create lasting shared value. This is what sustainability means to us.

Our sustainability commitments are broad-based in that they extend across our value chain. We measure and report the progress of our franchise system of more than 200 independent bottling companies and suppliers. We are honored to work with these bottling partners, with whom we develop and implement our shared plans. Without their leadership and dedication, our progress would not be possible.

Together with our bottling partners we learn as we collaborate across the globe, sharing our best practices and knowledge throughout our system – thereby making each other better. We work with partners at every stage of our value chain, from ingredient sourcing through packaging recovery.

Our Leadership Past, Present and Future

Our commitment to women’s empowerment is embedded in our history. In 1934, Coca-Cola became the first company to appoint a woman to the board of directors. Eight decades later, we continue this commitment to improving gender equality across our system and value chain. In fact, last year we achieved a milestone in our 5by20TM initiative, helping to enable the economic empowerment of more than more than 1.2 million women entrepreneurs across 60 countries since the program began in 2010.

In 1969, Coca-Cola commissioned the first life-cycle assessment to understand the environmental impacts of our products. Since then, we have continued to quantify our impacts, set goals to improve performance and measure the results of our activities. As an example, we announced as part of our water replenishment work that we achieved our goal of replenishing 100 percent of the water we use in our global sales volume back to nature and communities as calculated using generally accepted scientific methods and with the assistance of independent, reputable partners like Deloitte, The Nature Conservancy and Limnotech.

Sustainability is part of our past, our present and our future. It is a business imperative for us, helping us to operate more efficiently, manage risks and capture opportunities, create value in our communities and build trust with our stakeholders. This is what we call Growth with Purpose™.

Our Sustainability Priorities

Our sustainability framework focuses our efforts around three areas of vital importance to our business and society at large: women, water and well-being. In these flagship areas our intent is to make strong investments to advance progress and take on leadership positions. We also continue to make progress on our system operating priorities —climate protection, sustainable agriculture and packaging and recovery. In addition, we manage issues related to our foundational practices, including low- and no-calorie options, nutrition labeling, marketing responsibly, human and workplace rights, workplace safety and charitable giving.

The Coca-Cola Foundation’s strategy is aligned with our Company’s sustainability platform – focusing on women, water and well-being, and affecting positive change at the community level benefiting nearly 300 organizations across more than 70 countries and territories in 2015. We also prioritize projects that have impacts across these areas and in which we can work with “Golden Triangle” partners from government, civil society and the private sector.

Measuring Progress, Addressing Challenges

The success of our sustainability priorities requires measuring our progress. For that, we’ve developed an internal scorecard demonstrating both the improvement and the shortfalls that could impair our ability to meet our 2020 Sustainability Commitments. Our partners have been essential in helping us to set goals, identify gaps, measure progress and find innovative solutions that benefit our company, our broader system and our communities.

We always strive to be a credible partner, and sometimes we fall short. For example, in 2015 we acknowledged that we need to be more transparent about our support of scientific research on the global obesity epidemic. We heard our consumers and responded with our commitment to even greater transparency, including actions to innovate and reformulate products, increase low- and no-calorie options, promote clear facts, market responsibly and continue to engage with stakeholders.  

Our picture of success is to embed sustainability across our business. On that journey, we are committed to transparent and comprehensive reporting of our sustainability performance. We welcome your feedback on our progress as we can continue to refresh the world, create shared value and make a difference for all of us.