As the morning sun’s first rays begin to warm up the
villages surrounding Agra, India, a few cases of
“Coca-Cola has made a huge contribution to us,” says the
mother of three, noting that up to one-third of her store’s daily revenue comes
The sustainable innovation helps shopkeepers like Gupta sell
ice-cold drinks – a bit of a novelty in “off-the-grid” communities – without
ice or electricity.
One Stop Shop
The “eKOCool” coolers also feature ports for charging lanterns and mobile phones. “We charge our lantern in the daytime so we can use it at night when we are out of electricity,” says Gupta, who often goes without power for days at a time, usually without warning.
“And customers come to our shop when see the light,” she adds.
Villagers walk in to charge their phones and, while waiting, end up spending more. Thanks to her solar-power cooler, Gupta can keep her shop open after dark when others have closed, and her children can study at night using the light provided by her fully charged lantern.
Paving the Way
The “eKOCool” project is part of
“The most important moment in my life was when I started my own shop,” says Gupta, who invests her earnings in health care for her family and her kids’ education.
From Concept to Cooler
The “eKOCool” project was conceived several years ago when
Atul Singh, president of
More than 1,000 solar coolers have been installed in India, to date, boosting Coke's presence considerably in rural areas.
"These coolers are bringing first-time customers who never tasted our beverages before,” says Asim Parekh, vice president, Technical, Coca-Cola India, who notes that markets such as South Africa and Turkey are adapting and testing the units. “The model is helping create a market in areas where Coke has not been present at all."