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May 25, 2019

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‘It’s the real thing’ Coca-Cola’s sustainablity drive

Coca-Cola aims to become a pioneer in sustainable economy after becoming the city’s first batch of enterprises to echo Shanghai government’s garbage classification requirements.

In a “2018 Business and Sustainability Report,” issued last month, the company also shared its experience and efforts on the promotion of sustainable economic projects. It is the first time Coca-Cola combined business and sustainability in one report.

“The success we achieved after 133 years of development is largely contributed to the prosperous community we are in, as well as the investments we have made in sustainable development,” said James Quincey, President and CEO of Coca-Cola. “Sustainable development is the foundation of commercial success. For Coca-Cola, business and sustainability are not opposed to each other, but symbiotic.”

As a total beverage company heavily involved in the use of containers, like bottles and cans, Coca-Cola has always insisted on environmentally friendly concepts in its company culture.

It has joined hands with approximately 225 bottling partners in more than 200 countries and regions when seeking sustainable development.

In the report, the company unveiled its latest global vision to help create a “world without waste” — collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one it sells by 2030. The percentage of bottles and cans Coca-Cola has refilled or helped recover is 58 percent of what the company introduced into the market. The figure should reach 75 percent by 2020 and 100 percent by 2030.

The company is also working on improving its bottles by developing plant-based resins, and by reducing the amount of plastic in each container.

In the interest of increasing use of bioplastics in packaging, the company intends to allow other companies to access the technology of PlantBottle, the world’s first, fully-recyclable PET plastic bottle made partially from plants.

By replacing up to 30% of the petroleum used to make PET plastic bottles with material from sugar cane and other plant matter, PlantBottle has avoided as much CO2 emissions as taking nearly 1 million vehicles off the road since 2009. Now, more companies can use this technology across a wide range of applications to achieve the impact.

In China, to achieve the global vision for sustainable packaging, Coca-Cola innovated a smart “Vending-and-Recycling” machine, VenCycling. Promoting the concept of circular economy, VenCycling aims to provide an integrated solution for intelligent retailing and environment-friendly packaging recycling. With the concept machine unveiled at Summer Davos in Tianjin last September, VenCycling is expected to be seen on the streets in the latter part of the year.

Apart from business strategies, Coca-Cola has been encouraging environmentally friendly measures with its employees.

On this year’s World Earth Day, April 22, Coca-Cola implemented a waste-sorting policy across the company’s Shanghai Zizhu Campus. The initiative is in line with the city government’s garbage classification requirements which will take effect in July. Coca-Cola became the first batch of enterprises to take action in advance.

Little trash bins beside desks were removed and Coca-Cola employees had to take a few more steps to the pantry where they can sort out the waste for recycling. In the pantry on each floor, trained sanitation staff would offer help to those confused in front of the four classified bins.

Employees were also encouraged to take home the small bins which used to be placed near their desks for domestic garbage sorting.


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