Top Ten Cleantech Initiatives of the Coca-Cola Company

The Coca Cola Company is one of the largest worldwide beverage retailers, manufacturers, and marketers of various non-alcoholic beverages. Currently, the company sells more than 500 brands in more than 200 countries. The Coca Cola Company also has a long history of sustainability and helping with the environment. They maintain a large focus on the environmental impact of their products and use different methodologies and initiatives in order to reduce waste and sustain the environment. Here is a list of just ten of the things the Coca Cola Company does to protect the environment.

1) Give it Back Green Initiative. Recently, the Coca Cola Company launches their Green Give it Back Initiative. Coca Cola made a POP display that was made specifically from Coke packaging that had been recycled. The idea is that when the retailer is done using the cardboard shelving unit, they are asked to then return it to the company when they are done using it and then it is recycled. The shelving unit is made with exposed cardboard and unfinished edges to draw attention to the fact that it is recycled material. The hope is that people will realize that if corrugated, recycled cardboard is good enough for Coca Cola, then it is a valid structural material. Coca Cola also hopes that this initiative will push other competitors to create recyclable initiatives of their own.

2) Coca Cola Water Related Initiatives. Coca Cola is currently promoting a water stewardship strategy that they hope will advance a number of initiatives in water source preservation, wastewater management, and water usage efficiency. The Source Water Protection Project, for example, is a long term initiative where water sources for different plants are identified and plans are created to assess source vulnerability and preserve sources are to be formulated. A Coca Cola plant in Japan has already begun the process of surveying water sources in a pilot program and the results will be used for extending project implementation to every plant by 2012.

3) Coca Cola Works with Keep American Beautiful to Support Recycling Programs. Coca Cola, in partnership with Keep America Beautiful offered grants to recycling programs in 82 American towns and cities to boost local recycling efforts. There were over 1,700 applicants and the 82 recipients represent a large cross section of different local governments, community groups, nonprofit organizations and universities around the United States. The criteria included locations where recycling bins have the most effect in retaining beverage contains from the waste, and the ability of the recipients to fully sustain the recycling program for the future.

4) Coca Cola India offers eKOCool to Boost Rural Sales. Coca Cola India is bringing their product into rural areas by offering a new item called eKOCool. The eKOCool can work in rural areas that do not have electricity as it is completely run by solar power. It operates only through solar energy with no other energy source needed. It can hold up to 48 300ml glass bottles of Coca Cola. Not only that, but the eKOCool can also charge mobile phones and provide light to a home. This new innovation provides Coca Cola with a competitive edge, allowing them to tap into the rural market and increase sales.

5) Refrigeration Initiatives. The goal of Coca Cola’s refrigeration initiatives are to improve the efficiency of the coolers, fountain equipment and vending machines, while at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions created by the refrigeration equipment. With more than ten million vending machines and coolers around the world, Coca Cola realizes their refrigeration equipment is a large contributor to the global carbon footprint. The first goal was to improve cooling equipment energy efficiency by 40 to 50 percent by 2010. They have also started using HFC-free insulation foam for all new equipment which eliminates 5 percent of direct greenhouse gas emissions. Lastly, they have identified a new natural refrigerant gas to replace current HFC refrigerant gases and are starting to phase that out by 2015.

6) Reducing Initiatives. The objective of Coca Cola’s reducing initiatives is to grow the business but not their overall carbon dioxide emissions from their manufacturing operations. Coca Cola wants to reduce absolute emissions from all manufacturing operations in developed countries by five percent by the year 2015. Since 2004, Coca Cola has been able to reduce energy consumption by 10 percent. This has started with fixing leaking, reducing pressure, insulating pipes, and optimizing temperatures.

7) Refueling Initiatives. The aim of the refueling initiatives is to manage the distribution fleet in an effort to incorporate a number of more fuel efficient product delivery modes. Currently, Coca Cola is working to boost the overall fuel efficiency of the fleet, which includes over 200,000 vehicles utilized to deliver products around the globe. Coca Cola is testing 30 electric powered, compact trucks for the Uruguay sales force – this new model uses one-fifth of the fuel consumption of earlier models. Coca Cola trucks in Mexico are powered with a combination of diesel and electricity, making them 30 percent more efficient and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent. Coca Cola has also started optimizing delivery routes to minimize the number of stops as well as fuel usage.

8 ) Global Package Recovery Initiatives. All the countries around the world that have Coca Cola plants are creating their own Global Package Recovery Initiative. In Australia, for example, Coca Cola has worked with the National packaging Covenant Industry Association to reduce the overall environmental impact associated with the disposal of packaging through the conservation of resources via better design as well as production processes. In the United Kingdom, Coca Cola works with WRAP, which helps businesses make better use of their resources by reducing waste and learning how to recycle more. In Egypt, refillable packaging is used in which packaging is used, collected, washed and then refilled into a Coca Cola managed system.

9) PlantBottle. Created by Coca Cola, PlantBottle is the first every recyclable PET plastic beverage bottle that is made from up to 30 percent plant based materials and is a 100 percent recyclable bottle. The packaging of PlantBottle functions, looks, and recycles like traditional PET plastic; however it does this creating a lighter footprint. It was honored at the 2011 Edison Awards for Best New Product – Sustainable Packaging and it won the prominent DuPont Award for Packaging Innovation. In just 2010, PlantBottle packaging eliminated around 30,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

10) Recycling Initiatives. Coca Cola has created a number of recycling initiatives to sustain the environment. The main recycling initiative is to start using a comprehensive wastewater treatment for all water used in manufacturing operations. Coca Cola understands that it has a responsibility to uphold the quality of water that goes in all the beverages but as well the water quality that is discharged from plants throughout the duration of the manufacturing process. the goal is to return 100 percent of all water used via manufacturing right back into the environment in a safe manner.

Article by Shawn Lesser, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Watershed Capital Group – an investment bank assisting sustainable fund and companies raise capital, perform acquisitions, and in other strategic financial decisions. He is also a Co-founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association ”The Global Voice of Cleantech”. He writes for various cleantech publications and is known as the David Letterman of Cleantech for his “Top 10″ series. He can be reached at

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One comment on “Top Ten Cleantech Initiatives of the Coca-Cola Company

James R. Clawson

Great Initiatives! Coca Cola is a good example for corporations to follow!

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