Page 4: Environmental initiatives
In a short case study example, it is not possible to examine all the ways in which Coca-Cola is developing its commitment to the environment. Here, therefore, are just a few examples:
- Packaging innovation - Packaging is a key point of differentiation and a source of competitive advantage for Coca-Cola. However, it is not simply designed to be distinctive and attractive. Customers and consumers must have confidence in the environmental integrity of the packages offered. In 1991, Coca-Cola pioneered a plastic soft drink container made with recycled content - the first of its kind in the world. Two years later, another breakthrough was achieved with the introduction of a ‘multi-layer’ package which sandwiches recycled material between virgin plastic. This package is now available in a number of markets. Consumers have responded enthusiastically to recycled-content bottles as an affirmation of the recycling actions they take at home. This comes as no surprise - Coca-Cola has used aluminium and steel cans and glass bottles containing recycled content for many years.
- Source reduction - Coca-Cola Great Britain has led the soft drinks industry with a source reduction process known as light-weighting. Over time, Coca-Cola has significantly reduced the amount of raw materials needed to produce packaging. In 1993, for example, the company shaved over four millimetres off the necks of aluminium cans, reducing the company’s aluminium usage in the US alone by an estimated 20,000 tons per year! In addition to making lightweight primary packaging, the company also looks for opportunities to reduce the raw materials used to make shipping cases, ingredient bins and other secondary packaging.
- Litter prevention - Acting on the conviction that education is the key to changing attitudes and behaviours, Coca-Cola supports dozens of litter prevention organisations around the world, such as the Tidy Britain Group – the Government’s recognised agency for promoting litter abatement - and Coca-Cola Great Britain was proud to receive the Group’s top award in 1992 in recognition of over 20 years of such support.
- Education - In conjunction with the overall aim of providing education and training, Coca-Cola has provided a range of materials covering environmental issues, whether independently or with other organisations. These include a comprehensive environmental guide for schools, produced by the RSPB with the Council for Environmental Education; recycling packs, with Waste Watch; and packaging texts through the Industry Council for Packaging and the Environment. In addition, The Coca-Cola Youth Foundation sponsors Eco-Schools, organised in this country by Going for Green.