Coca-Cola is constantly looking for sustainable transportation solutions to minimize the environmental impact of the "drink in your hand".
In the Netherlands, Coca-Cola is turning to pedal power to green up its service fleet. Said to be home to more bikes than people, it should come as no surprise that the electric Coca-Cola service bicycle is making its debut in the Netherlands, on the streets of the city of Utrecht.
Utrecht, like many urban areas, is looking for ways to tackle congestion and pollution. In an effort to reduce the number of service and delivery vans driving in the city center, Coca-Cola Netherlands, driven by Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) recently kicked off a pilot program with field service teams swapping their vehicles for cargo bikes.
The idea is the brainchild of Hans van Genderen, a Coca-Cola field service technician. "I challenged myself to find a more efficient and effective way of working in my service area, the city of Utrecht," he explains. "I had been contemplating the idea for some time, but two years ago I took the first step. I wrote a plan to no longer visit my customers in the service van, but on a service bike."
Van Genderen adds, "After months of preparations and building excitement from colleagues for my plans, I picked up the very first Coca-Cola cargo bike, I immediately took the bike for a spin, driving it home from the supplier in just four minutes and 42 seconds. Not a bad start."
He proudly looks back on his first day riding the Coca-Cola e-bike. "On Monday morning, July 6, 2015, I made my first client ride. It was all new – I had to think about where to park the bike, and also to make sure I was carrying everything I needed. But once I started peddling, I felt good. And Utrecht had gained a green 'Coca-Cola'mechanic."
Van Genderen's wife, Elza, an entrepreneur, calculated the advantages of the new system and quickly saw that the benefits of the idea were clear. Not only was the service bike kinder to the environment, but it was also more efficient, leading to faster service delivery speeds. Elza recognized the potential and, together with Coca-Cola, approached the city council. In a time when sustainability is more important than ever, the city council decided to support the project.
And the CityServiceBike initiative was born.
More companies, including KPN and Douwe Egberts, have joined Coca-Cola in the CityServiceBike pilot in Utrecht. The city center houses many restaurants, cafes and businesses, all of which require daily maintenance. The cargo service bikes offer a solution for the growing number of service and delivery vans entering the city. Fewer cars means fewer carbon emissions, and it benefits the overall quality of life.
It also makes life easier for service mechanics, saving them the difficulty and cost of parking and ensuring a quicker, more cost efficient and environmentally friendly way of servicing clients. It's also a good conversation starter, as clients enjoy seeing the Coca-Cola bikes. And if they are lucky, they may even get to take one for a spin.
NOTE: This story is adapted from Coca-Cola Journey Netherlands.