Coca-Cola Uses Energy Efficiency to Earn Best Carbon Trust Score

In the run-up to COP17, kicking off in two weeks in South Africa, a number of organizations have been taking the pulse of just how well progress is being made in large-scale reductions of carbon emissions and other impacts.

The Carbon Disclosure Project today released its latest Water Disclosure Project findings, PwC just took stock of airlines' transparency, and the Carbon War Room is preparing to announce the winners of its second Gigaton Awards.

But one announcement, made late last month, seems to have fallen off the radar entirely: The Carbon Trust, an NGO based in the U.K. that helps companies in the shift to low-carbon operations, announced that Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) as earned the highest score ever recorded for carbon reduction efforts.

After a 12-week assessment that followed on a five-year partnership with The Carbon Trust, CCE earned a score of 95 percent.

"There is little doubt that the business leaders who have sound carbon management strategies in place stand to prosper both now and in the future," Harry Morrison, the General Manager at the Carbon Trust, said in a statement. "We are delighted to see Coca‑Cola Enterprises achieving the Standard with the highest ever score for carbon performance; we look forward to seeing the continued success of their carbon reduction strategy."

And the results are just the first step on Coke's journey to sustainability. It has set goals to cut the carbon footprint of its products by one-third by 2020, reduce by 35 percent the carbon footprint of its cooling by 2014, and to source 35 percent of its manufacturing energy from renewable or low‑carbon sources by 2020.

Among the efforts that earned CCE its high score are:

• Reduced energy use in manufacturing by installing sophisticated energy monitoring systems, which have helped reduce energy use by 11.25 percent since 2007.
• Invested £1.75 million (US$2.76 million) in a fleet of 14 biomethane heavy goods trucks, which can generate carbon savings of around 65 percent compared to conventional diesel‑run vehicles.
• Optimized the efficiency of its logistics network by reducing the number of partially empty truck loads and developing back-hauling arrangements with customers and suppliers; in 2010 alone, the projects have saved 8,916 otherwise empty trips.
• In 2010, the company fitted approximately 30,000 coolers with an energy management system, saving up to 35 percent in energy use; installed long‑life LED lighting in 23,000 machines, making them 80 percent more efficient than fluorescent lighting; and fitted more than 2,200 open‑fronted coolers with doors to conserve energy.

The next steps for the company include continuing its own internal efforts, while at the same time working with its suppliers and partners to share some of their green successes across its supply chain.

"Coca‑Cola Enterprises is determined to grow more and to use less, and we are very proud to [earn the highest Carbon Trust Score]," Simon Baldry, Managing Director of CCE in Great Britain, said in a statement. "This is a tremendous milestone that demonstrates our commitment to operate as a low-carbon, zero waste business, but we know we have much more to do on our journey. We are confident that we can continue to reduce carbon emissions across our own business operations and our entire value chain."

The Carbon Trust earlier this year published a case study detailing its work with Coca-Cola Enterprises over the last five years. That file is available for download from The Carbon Trust.