Coca-Cola Releases Sustainability Update, fails to highlight on its plastic bottle recycling

Coca Cola

Coca-Cola has released its Sustainability Update for the year 2019-20. The company in a statement said that in line with the Company’s principle of ‘building sustainable communities as foundations for sustainable businesses’, the sustainability report showcases Coca-Cola’s commitment towards its purpose to ‘Refresh the world and make a difference’, and is testimony to the positive impact that the Company endeavors to make towards society.

However, the company failed to highlight what it has done to replace or recycle bottles which are polluting our land, water and air.

According to an audit on trash around the world, conducted by Break Free From in 2019, consisted of 848 cleanup events across 51 countries and six continents, concluded that Coca-Cola was the largest plastic polluter.

The organization’s volunteers collected a total of over 475,000 pieces of waste around the world. Of the plastic collected, the No. 1 brand was from Coca-Cola, with 11,732 items collected.

Commenting on the release of the Sustainability Update 2019-20,  Ishteyaque Amjad, Vice President, Public Affairs, Communications & Sustainability said, “Our purpose of Refreshing the World and Making a Difference has guided well all throughout, by keeping the Company on course of creating loved brands and doing business sustainably. This approach was further enhanced in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which the Company took prudent decisions and steadfast interventions to help its compatriots and communities face unprecedented challenges. Since the past one decade we have been publishing our Sustainability Update, to transparently highlight the initiatives undertaken by via multiple partnerships and stakeholder engagements, also to convey the impact created with their collaboration. Our humble yet consistent efforts are in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and we truly believe that no-one should be left behind. Happy to share our progress through this update which has not only been cautiously and systematically compiled but also assured by an independent third party.”

Key Sections of the Sustainability Update 2019 – 20
Covid 19 Relief  
To help affected communities in need, Coca-Cola made a humble contribution of INR 100 crores towards extending safety feeding and meeting hydration needs of the affected. In addition augmenting the health infrastructure of the country to support fellow citizens combat the disease.
World Without Waste
Launched in 2018, The Coca-Cola Company’s global initiative ‘World Without Waste’ (WWW) aimed at reducing plastic footprint, has achieved significant milestones in the year 2019-20. Towards its commitment of making the world litter free by 2030, the Company has made critical developments in India, across its three key strategic pillars – Design, Collect and Partner. Through continuous design innovations and light weighting, moving towards the target of making our packaging 100% recyclable globally by 2025.
Over the years, the company initiated strategic multi-stakeholder partnerships with focus on waste collection and recycling through institutionalization of Karo Sambhav, a Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO), establishment of Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs)/Swachhta Kendras to strengthen the collection ecosystem. Additionally, interventions to scale up WWW initiatives across citizenship movements for behavioral change like Date with Ocean, Support My School, Alag Karo have been implemented successfully across India. To ensure social security and dignity for waste workers, the Company has initiated partnerships for waste workers’ socio economic upliftment, capacity building and access to social protection schemes.

Fruit Circular Economy
In the Sustainability Update 2019-20, the Company has reiterated its commitment towards doubling farmer incomes by promoting sustainable agriculture through meaningful Unnati interventions under its ‘Fruit Circular Economy’ initiative. The positive response of Unnati Mango Orange and Apple have benefitted over one lakh farmers thus far and furthered into newer fruit varieties of Litchi and Grapes. The Company is on track with its commitment to infuse USD 1.7 billion along with partners to enhance ’s agri–ecosystem and benefit 2,00,000 farmers by 2022. This will continue to create a healthy local juice portfolio and concentrated supply chain with successful and thriving farming communities and ecosystems.
Water Stewardship
The Coca-Cola Company has continued focus on its three-pronged water strategy – Reduce, Replenish & Reuse. The Company has shown significant improvements in its Water Use Ratio (WUR) by reducing it to almost half, from 2.89 liters of water used per liter of beverage in 2009 to 1.74 liters used in 2019.  Through its restoration and replenishment efforts, it has created a combined water replenishment potential of 25.1 billion liters along with its bottling units and Coca-Cola Foundation (CCIF/Anandana). Anandana, has implemented 150+ water conservation projects across 600+ villages benefitting 8,00,000+ community members over the last decade.
With its futuristic approach the Company has resolved to continue tending to its people and communities. Committing itself to the goal of ‘no one will be left behind’ drafted in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, also extending its support further towards empowering women, youth and children with a host of initiatives.

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