Coca-Cola sets 25% carbon reduction target

Coke marks new partnership with WWF by announcing 25% reduction targets for carbon emissions and water

Coca-Cola had previously helped WWF raise awareness on the effects of climate change to the lives of Arctic bears. (Source: WWF)

By Nilima Choudhury

Coca-Cola has revealed plans to cut the carbon emissions linked to each of its products by 25%.

It aims to increase its water efficiency 25% by 2020, improving on the 21.4% target it achieved between 2004-2012, and also to use at least 25% recycled or renewable material in plastic bottles by 2015. The current percentage is 5%.

The drinks giant announced the new targets last week, when it also revealed it was renewing its partnership with NGO WWF to address all natural resource challenges impacting fresh water.

In January Coca-Cola launched a fresh ‘Arctic Home’ initiative, branding products with polar bears and donating €3 million a year to support WWF’s activities. Polar bears first appeared on Coca-Cola products in 1922.

Access to energy and water are a key business challenge for Coke, which works with 300 ‘bottling partners’ in 200 countries.

“We have renewed our partnership through to 2020 with a continued focus on freshwater conservation, and we are working together to set new, aggressive environmental goals across the Coca-Cola system” Liz Lowe, CRS manager at Coca-Cola told RTCC.

Lowe said Coca-Cola is also partnering with a variety of stakeholders to run a more sustainably-conscious business.

“Our goals reflect the input and feedback of a variety of internal and external stakeholders and partners, including WWF,” she said. “We also worked with our bottling partners to determine goals that were bold, yet measured for our system.”

Since 2007, the two partners have worked together to conserve and protect priority river basins and catchments around the world; to improve water efficiency and reduce carbon emissions across Coke’s manufacturing operations; and to promote sustainable agriculture throughout the company’s supply chain.

The decade-long partnership has already expanded from a headquarters-to-headquarters collaboration to nearly 50 countries, with Coca-Cola and WWF teams working together at the local level.

“We are witnessing unprecedented demands on natural resources around the world,” Carter Roberts, President and CEO WWF explained. “Continuing with business as usual puts everything at risk, including the viability of business. These problems can only be solved by working together, and our work with Coca-Cola has proven that collaboration can amplify and accelerate the impact we need.”

The move marks another step in the global brand’s attempts to rehabilitate its battered image. Coca-Cola has received stiff criticism over some of its practices in the developing world.

The firm’s bottling plants in India were accused of using too much water in drought-prone areas in 2005, leaving poor local villagers with too little.

Allegations over the firm’s sharp practice have previously been made in Pakistan, Guatemala and Nicaragua.

The company claims it is committing $24 million to the WWF partnership over the next eight years to advance conservation efforts on the ground, in Coca-Cola system manufacturing operations and in its supply chain.

“As we face a resource-stressed world with growing global demands on food and water, we must seek solutions that drive mutual benefit for business, communities and nature,” said Muhtar Kent, Coca-Cola CEO.

“Working with WWF will continue to challenge our company to advance our sustainability programs, and WWF’s expertise will be instrumental in reaching our environmental performance goals, some of which they help us set.”

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