What are the core fundamentals of a new business approach that puts sustainable growth at the center of business decisions? Bea Perez, senior vice president and chief communications, public affairs, sustainability, and marketing assets officer for The Coca-Cola Company, says companies must think about the long term – in Coke's case, its next next 130-plus years – versus the short-term perspective businesses too often take.

Taking the stage at the annual Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) conference in New York City, Perez spoke to the conference theme of a “New Blueprint for Business” and how sustainability manifests as part of The Coca-Cola Company’s core business.

“We don’t just want to sustain,” she said. “We want our business and, most importantly our world to thrive.”

Mutual Benefits

In a world where change is the only constant, business has a choice – develop relationships that provide mutual benefits or assume a zero-sum relationship.

Companies like Coca-Cola have the expertise, influence and scale to make meaningful differences in the world. Coke is focused on giving people around the world more of the drinks they want, improving clean water access, recycling a bottle or can for every one it sells (World Without Waste) and implementing programs like the 5by20 women’s economic empowerment initiative.

BSR conference attendees experienced the newest Coca-Cola Freestyle 9100 – an innovative and interactive fountain beverage machine – and all without packaging. The Freestyle machine has a smaller carbon footprint than traditional syrup packaging and is manufactured in a Gold LEED-certified facility.

Coca-Cola Freestyle on display at the BSR conference. It delivers 200+ beverages and more than 100 low-and no-calorie options.

Dario Leventini/BSR

Better Together

Tackling large, global sustainability problems takes large, global efforts. The saying, “It takes a village to raise a child” is also true for solving the world’s packaging waste problem. It takes teamwork among the public sector, local NGOs, competitors and even critics to raise enough awareness and understanding around recycling to find a solution. From Coke's partnership with the World Economic Forum’s Global Plastic Action Partnership to the Packaging and Recycling Alliance for Indonesia Sustainable Environment (PRAISE), it’s important to bring organizations together to help accelerate the company's work.

Today, more than ever, people expect more from companies and brands. From the "Hilltop" and "Mean Joe Green" ads to the unique role the company has played in Atlanta’s social history, Coca-Cola has sought to reflect its core values externally and work with all stakeholders to focus on solutions that help make the world a better place.

Learn more about Coca-Cola’s overall sustainability efforts.