Home ESG 4 Ways the Coca‑Cola System Contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Goals

4 Ways the Coca‑Cola System Contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Goals

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The Coca‑Cola system is taking action to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of 17 global goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015 to create a better future for all. The system is focused on areas where it can make a significant, measurable impact on communities and nature, including water stewardship, circular economy, climate action, and regenerative agriculture.

“We recognize that we cannot achieve any one of the SDGs on our own. Yet, as a global company with a vast supply chain and consumer reach, we have a responsibility to stand up and take action alongside others,” said Michael Goltzman, Vice President, Global Policy & Sustainability, The Coca‑Cola Company. “We have taken a close look at where we can make direct contributions to the SDGs in collaboration with NGO partners, industry peers, customers and suppliers.”

Here are four ways the Coca‑Cola system is contributing to the SDGs:

1. SDG 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

The Coca‑Cola system invests in projects that promote watershed health and support nature-based solutions such as reforestation, wetland and meadow restoration, and irrigation system improvements. Many projects aim to improve availability of water for irrigation and more efficiently use water in agriculture.

For example, in Bursa, Turkey, the Coca‑Cola system is taking action to improve water-use efficiency and watershed health across its operations while supporting local farmers and communities. A local watershed stewardship plan is driving water efficiency improvements in a Coca‑Cola İçecek bottling plant and with support from The Coca‑Cola Foundation, helping local fruit farmers adopt effective irrigation practices and improve water quality. The plan, which supports The Coca‑Cola Company’s 2030 Water Security Strategy, also includes reforestation efforts to filter water and regulate precipitation and evaporation flows, as well as the installation of community rainwater harvesting systems.

Related Article: The Coca‑Cola Company and USDA Renew Pioneering Partnership to Restore Forests, Grasslands and Watersheds

2. SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

The Coca‑Cola system is working in partnership with stakeholders to reduce carbon emissions across its value chain. As of 2022, the system reduced its emissions across Scopes 1, 2, and 3 by 7%, making progress toward both its science-based reduction target of 25% by 2030 and ambition to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Several bottling partners have announced their own science-based targets and pledges to drive climate action.

For example, the World Economic Forum’s Global Lighthouse Network recognized The Coca‑Cola Company’s concentrate manufacturing facility in Ballina, Ireland, as a manufacturer showing leadership in applying Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies at scale to drive step-change financial, operational and sustainability improvements.

Approximately one-third of the Coca‑Cola system’s global emissions comes from cold-drink equipment and dispensing. The system continues to replace older equipment with more energy-efficient coolers and with hydrofluorocarbon (HFC)-free. In 2022, 88% of all new coolers placed were HFC-free, which is an increase from 61% of coolers placed in 2016. The Coca‑Cola system is also installing more “intelligent connected” coolers that can transmit data such as product throughput, maintenance status, temperature, and energy use, providing operational benefits and helping reduce emissions.

3. SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

In 2018, recognizing its responsibility to help solve plastic waste challenges facing the planet and society, The Coca‑Cola Company launched the World Without Waste sustainable packaging platform to drive systemic change through a circular economy with a focus on interconnected targets:

  • Making 100% of its primary packaging recyclable globally by 2025—and using at least 50% recycled material in its primary packaging by 2030
  • Collecting and recycling a bottle or can for each one it sells by 2030
  • Bringing people together to support a healthy, debris-free environment
  • Making at least 25% of its beverages worldwide by volume sold in refillable/returnable glass or plastic bottles or in fountain dispensers with reusable packaging by 2030

More than 40 markets currently offer at least one brand in 100% recycled (rPET) bottles (excluding caps and labels). In Japan, the Coca‑Cola system achieved its World Without Waste goal of 50% recycled material use in the first quarter of 2022. Four brands in the country are now offered in 100% recycled PET and supported by an educational marketing campaign. In Europe, eight markets now offer their entire locally produce portfolios in 100% rPET.

Sprite, meanwhile, continues to transition its plastic bottles from green to clear plastic. The move, which the brand has completed or is in process in over 100 countries, improves the efficiency of recycling systems and boosts availability of food-grade recycled plastic.

4. SDG 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

Cross-sector partnerships are critical to driving action on the Sustainable Development Goals. By collaborating with a range of leading organizations and coalitions including World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the CEO Water Mandate, and working to support the UN Plastics Treaty, the Coca‑Cola system is making a difference in areas such as emissions reduction, water replenishment and sustainable packaging.

In July, the company and eight bottling partners announced a $137.7 million venture capital fund focusing on sustainability investments. Greycroft, a seed-to-growth venture capital firm, will manage the Coca‑Cola System Sustainability Fund with a focus on five key areas: Packaging, Heating and Cooling, Facility Decarbonization, Distribution and Supply Chain. The fund will invest in companies at the point of commercialization.

The Coca‑Cola system is committed to playing its role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and building a better future for all. By working together with partners across the value chain, the system is making progress on important issues such as climate change, water stewardship and sustainable packaging.

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