Coca-Cola has long been one of the world’s most recognizable brands, and its cousin bottling companies do quite well financially. One of them is Coca Cola Enterprises (CCE), which until last year was the largest North American bottler. In late 2010 CCE sold its American operations back to Coca-Cola, and is now runs bottling operations in the UK, France, the Benelux countries, Norway, and Sweden. What appears to be a simple business model of mixing water and syrup, then shipping finished products to retailers, reaped US$6.7 billion in revenues for CCE in 2010.
But CCE’s business last year left 11 billion bottles and cans emptied by 165 million consumers, a complex supply chain where opportunities for waste diversion can still be exploited, and a bevy of stakeholder groups including 13,500 employees who all have competing needs and demands. To that end, CCE released its 2010 Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, or CSR Report.
CCE has seven areas of focus that determine materiality for its sustainability agenda, and has achieved progress towards its “Commitment 2020” goals where the company believes it can make the most impact. Let’s take a look at some of CCE’s accomplishments:
- Water stewardship: CCE has reached a water use ratio of 1.42 liters per liter of product produced, and for four consecutive years, 100% of its water discharge meets aquatic life standards.
- Energy conservation: While equipment that keeps those cold drinks chilled is still the bulk of the company’s carbon footprint, CCE decreased its carbon footprint by another 4 percent.
- Sustainable packaging and recycling: With almost 400,000 tons of packaging materials consumed in 2010, recycling rates within CCE’s facilities ticked upward to 99.5%. Meanwhile the company has organized events to educate consumers about recycling with the goal to recover 100 percent of the cans and bottles placed on the market.
- Product portfolio: As consumers demand more low calorie drinks, CCE has increased research and development into low- and no-calorie drinks, a smart decision considering that 43 percent of CCE’s growth in volume comes from those low- or no-sugar drinks.
- Community: CCE invested US$4.3 million within the communities in which they operate, and run programs from education initiatives in the UK to working with underprivileged youth in France.
- Healthy living: With the London 2012 Olympic Games fast approaching, CCE has fronted swimming lessons at UK community pools, ramped up donations to the Special Olympics in Belgium, and led beach cleaning campaigns in Sweden.
- Workplace: CEE says it is working to increase gender equality within its operations in France, achieved a lower accident rate across its operations, and is starting employee wellness programs throughout the company.
For CSR reporting mavens, the report follows the GRI reporting guidelines and the ten principles of the UN Global Compact. Like other reports it is chock full of case studies and human interest stories, but it is also full of quantitative data that allows the reader to decide whether the company is making enough impact on the environmental, social, and governance fronts.