Every now and then, someone asks me if it’s even possible for a global business like ours—one that’s welcomed by people in more than 200 countries—to grow in a more sustainable way. And my answer is always an emphatic “yes.”
I’m convinced it is the only way we can sustainably grow.
Today, as nations, businesses and institutions all over the world seek the formula for growth, a large part of the solution lies in sustainability-driven innovations.
I was blessed to learn at an early age that everyone has a role to play in making the world a better place and passing along a healthier planet to the next generation. And one of the great things about working in our business is being able to connect with people all around the world and inspire them, in our own small way, to make a difference. To me, that’s part of the beauty and specialness of Coca-Cola, and its meaningful way of creating sustainable communities.
As you review this report of our progress, I hope and trust that you’ll get a very clear picture of that specialness, which has defined our Company and our brands for more than
At The Coca-Cola Company, we believe the most profound and impactful innovations over the next decade and beyond will emerge at the intersection of sustainability and our vast global value chain—the suppliers, retailers, technologies, people and infrastructure that bring our beverages to market every day around the world.
For this reason, as you’ll see in this report, we’re working to embed sustainability-minded innovations into every aspect of our business, from sourcing ingredients to increasing beverage options to aspiring to be water neutral and recovering packages for recycling.
As we pursue our 2020 Vision for growth—a system wide plan to double the size of our business over the course of this decade—we’re intensifying our efforts across the sustainability spectrum.
We’ve laid out ambitious, but achievable, goals to grow our business. We’re committed to creating value for every stakeholder we touch while improving the quality of life for people around the globe and helping preserve the extraordinary natural environments of the communities we’re so privileged to serve.
With that said, we realize we can’t do this alone. And we don’t believe for a moment that we have all the answers.
Partners, in this day and age, are an absolute must. The scope and scale of today’s challenges demand cooperation across what we like to call the golden triangle of government, business and civil society.
We work with partners every day to enhance the well-being of the people whose lives we touch. These are partners like our producers, who are growing the highest-quality ingredients; our bottlers, who are dedicated to distributing the safest beverages that consumers everywhere can trust; our customers, who are taking our innovations and ensuring consumers have more great-tasting beverage choices from among our growing portfolio; and those in hundreds of local communities who are helping us provide more than 280 active, healthy living programs around the world.
In addition to supporting the United Nations Global Compact, we’re striving to enhance the well-being of the communities we serve by working to empower 5 million women entrepreneurs by 2020. In this effort, called 5by20, we’re working with UN Women and numerous government and private sector partners on three continents to bring new resources, tools, ideas and inspiration to women business owners who are part of our
Our Coca-Cola system is also working with partners to steward and replenish the natural resources upon which we and our communities depend. Since 2005, as part of our efforts to become water neutral by 2020, we’ve conducted 382 community water projects in 94 countries, working hand in hand with local governments and partners including World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the United States Agency for International Development , The Nature Conservancy and CARE. We also have distributed more than 10 billion fully recyclable PlantBottle™ packages across 24 countries, eliminating the need for the equivalent of more than 200,000 barrels of oil since the debut of this innovative plastic bottle in 2009. While licensing the current technology to the H.J. Heinz Company (Heinz), we’re also working with The Ford Motor Company, Nike, Inc., The Procter and Gamble Company and Heinz to help drive a commercially scalable, 100 percent plant-based plastic—the next step in our PlantBottle packaging journey. Over the past decade, we’ve invested more than $60 million in the development of highly efficient, HFC-free, more climate friendly, cooling technologies, including, most recently, solar-powered coolers in places such as rural India.
One of the most powerful and valuable assets we have is the global recognition and love of our brands, led by Coca-Cola® and 14 other billion-dollar brands. As such, we have an opportunity—and a responsibility—to act as a catalyst for positive change around the world.
This, to me, takes sustainability to another level, one with the power to go well beyond what we could do directly as a business system, even in tandem with all our wonderful partners. By taking a leadership position on sustainability, we’re able to inspire others to act as well, from customers and other partners to the people who make our beverages part of their lives.
Inspiring others was one of the main reasons we teamed up with WWF on the Arctic Home program, which launched in North America in October 2011 as the largest cause-related marketing campaign in our Company’s history. Together, we invited fans of our brands to join us in raising awareness and funds to help protect the polar bear and its habitat. Arctic Home resonated well beyond its launch, and I received letters of encouragement and thanks from people as far away as Equatorial Africa and South Asia.
Although we have these great stories to share today, our journey is far from complete. The truth is, it will never be complete. But with an unyielding determination, a restless culture of innovation, and continued work with many powerful partners, it’s our hope that
Very best regards,