Coca Cola releases sustainability report

11 Nov 2012

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Coca-Cola has issued a sustainability report in which it claims that since the beginning of the century it has reduced the amount of calories per serving by nine percent annually whilst backing sports events (such as the recent Euro 2012 held in Poland and the Ukraine), made significant charity donations, aims to be water neutral by 2020,  backed a campaign to support polar bear conservation and distributed more than 10 billion what it claims are fully recyclable PlantBottle™ packages in 24 countries. Critically however things are not so rosy as the company would have us believe.  

The reduction in calories has been achieved by the introduction of various no-calorie sparkling beverages, waters, juice and juice drinks, sports and energy drinks, teas, coffees, and milk- and soy-based beverages which is flavoured with saccharine which may be more negative for the health than sugar is.

 

The support for polar bears and for backing the Arctic environment is highly laudable, however backed with suitable packaging and advertisements, it was clearly a marketing ploy and Coca Cola’s results would bear out (pun intended) how effective this was.

The use of the PlantBottle™ is also clearly a marketing ploy.  The package is not 100 percent recyclable as the company claims and any reuse of materials needs to be backed with suitable collection and processing and the company is unable to provide information about where this is coming from.  Nonetheless, Coca Cola says that it would have had to use the equivalent of more than 200,000 barrels of oil without the bottle in the past three years.  To continue to accelerate global production of plastic packaging made from plants, in September 2012, it announced a partnership with JBF Industries Ltd. JBF Industries Ltd. will build the world’s largest facility to produce bioglycol – the key ingredient used to make PlantBottle™ packaging.

 

A spokesperson for Coca Cola claimed ‘We recognize that the sustainability of our business depends on the health of the communities we serve. We also know that we won’t reach our 2020 Vision of doubling the business without embedding sustainability into our business to drive efficiency and effectiveness.’  That much, probably most people would agree with.

 

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