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Quincey to Shareowners: Coca‑Cola is ‘Built for the Long Term’


The Coca‑Cola Company – which turns 134 in 2020 – has thrived for decades, surviving everything from world wars to natural disasters to economic crises.

“I’m reminded that our company has seen many difficult chapters in its 134-year history,” Chairman and CEO James Quincey told shareowners during the company’s annual meeting on April 22. “And we’ve always emerged stronger.”

The meeting – held virtually instead of in person for the first time – is one of many ways the company is adapting to the environment created by the latest great challenge: the global coronavirus pandemic.

Quincey outlined several actions The Coca‑Cola Company and its bottling partners are taking to help address the coronavirus outbreak. These include implementing measures to keep employees healthy and ensure the safety of its beverage production and delivery operations, along with pledging more than $100 million, together with The Coca‑Cola Foundation, to support relief efforts around the world.

“I’m proud of our people – from our company and across our system – for dedicating time and resources to support local communities around the world, while also maintaining continuity of business operations,” Quincey said. “As I’ve watched our system come together during this time of crisis, I’m reminded of the power of our people to truly make a difference, to serve our communities and to help shape a more sustainable future.”

While the pandemic is having a “temporary but significant” impact on the company’s business, Quincey said the company entered the crisis from a position of strength after a solid 2019, fueled by total beverage portfolio innovation, a strategic shift from a volume-centric model to a value-centric model, and a more networked organization.

Highlights of the company’s 2019 performance include its highest share gains in almost a decade, strong growth of trademark Coca‑Cola globally, and the successful integration of Costa Coffee.

“The progress we’ve made from a strategic standpoint equips us to thrive in a multitude of macroeconomic environments,” he said, adding that last year’s results are both a clear reflection and driver of the company’s purpose to refresh the world and make a difference. “Just as our purpose guides us in difficult times, it guides our vision for growth in better times.”

The company remains focused on reducing its environmental footprint via clear goals around water, carbon and waste, Quincey said, citing several advancements and commitments made in 2019 to support the company’s World Without Waste vision, including:

- Rolling out 100% recycled PET bottles in more than a dozen countries.

- Increasing availability of recyclable packaging globally to 88%.

- Announcing Sweden as the first country where all Coca‑Cola plastic bottles will be made from 100% recycled material.

The company also is on track to meet its goal to empower 5 million women by the end of 2020 and continues to replenish more than 100% of the water used to manufacture its beverages globally. Access the company’s 2019 Business and Sustainability Report for more information.

Acknowledging that 2019 marked The Coca‑Cola Company’s 100th year as a publicly traded company, Quincey thanked shareholders for their investment and continued confidence, reiterating the company’s commitment to delivering shareholder returns.

“Coca‑Cola is built for the long term,” he said. “When we face short-term challenges, we persevere. We build a better future. It’s in our heritage, and it’s what we are doing today.” 

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