Coca-Cola Marks Continued Progress on Environmental Performance

Coca-Cola Marks Continued Progress on Environmental Performance

The Coca-Cola Company has announced a fourth year of reductions in energy use, water use, and solid waste generation, while it continued to increase its recycling rates. The company's 2005 Environmental Performance Measures Report, released in conjunction with an expanded environmental Web site, indicated progress in the four key areas of focus for environmental performance:
  • 5% reduction in the energy use ratio (the amount of energy used per liter of product produced)

  • 4% reduction in the water use ratio (the amount of water needed to produce a liter of product)

  • 3% reduction in the solid waste ratio (the amount of waste generated per liter of product produced)

  • 3% increase in recycling within plants
"The progress we made in our environmental performance in 2005 is another real indicator that our management programs and standards are continuing to pay dividends to our company and the world around us," said Jeff Seabright, vice president for environment and water resources. "As a beverage company, we focus our environmental efforts on the areas where we have the greatest impact, and therefore can do the most good. These include our use of water and energy, and our efforts to maximize recycling and reduce solid waste."

The Environmental Performance Measures Report reflects data gathered from 741 beverage production plants around the world. These plants were responsible for 90% of the Coca-Cola system's sales volume in 2005.

"The numbers in this report are strong evidence of Coca-Cola’s commitment to environmental sustainability," said Glenn T. Prickett, senior vice president of Conservation International. "Steady gains in water use ratios, adoption of climate friendly technologies, and increases in energy efficiency and recycling show that Coca-Cola understands how important protecting the environment is to its success as a business. Conservation International looks forward to continuing our work with Coke to build on these results."

Greater Energy Efficiency Helps Reduce Climate Impact

The Coca-Cola beverage system’s largest consumption of energy comes from manufacturing processes, the operation of a fleet of vehicles, and the operation of the vending machines and coolers that keep products cold.

In 2005, the Coca-Cola system reduced its energy use ratio by 5% through such innovations as the introduction of more energy-efficient coolers.

In addition, the company advanced further toward the elimination of hydroflourocarbons (HFCs) as a refrigerant. Currently, some 4,000 coolers are using alternative coolants that have negligible environmental impacts. To hasten these next-generation refrigerants to market, The Coca-Cola Company has partnered with Unilever and McDonald’s to found "Refrigerants Naturally," which in 2005 was recognized by the United Nations Commission for Sustainable Development as a Public Private Partnership for Sustainable Development.

Water: Making Every Drop Count

Water is used for essential manufacturing processes in producing beverages. In 2005, the water use ratio was reduced by 4% throughout the Coca-Cola system. On average, Coca-Cola plants used 2.6 liters of water to make one liter of beverage, as compared to 2.72 liters in 2004 and 2.90 liters in 2003.

The company completed comprehensive assessments of water risks facing 811 bottling plants worldwide, along with their host communities. These assessments enable data-driven decisions about water stewardship priorities.

The company and its bottling partners are also conducting a growing number of projects to help protect local watersheds and the communities and livelihoods that depend on them. In 2005, the company worked with the Emory Global Center for Safe Water, Millennium Water Alliance, the United Nations Foundation, UNICEF, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Wallace Genetic Foundation and others to found the Global Water Challenge. This unique partnership aims to support projects that provide safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene education in the developing world.

In India, Coca-Cola has installed 220 rainwater harvesting structures spread across 17 states. The collected water is used for ancillary plant functions and for recharging aquifers, allowing the company to renew and return a substantial amount of the groundwater to groundwater systems.

Using Less and Reusing More

Approximately 98% of solid waste from the Coca-Cola system is generated during the bottling process and includes materials such as empty ingredient containers, glass or plastic from damaged bottles, and wood from damaged pallets.

In 2005, manufacturing operations covered by the report generated, on average, 11.27 grams of solid waste per liter of product, a 3% reduction over 2004.

The system reused or recycled 78% of all solid waste produced in the manufacturing operations covered by the report, up from 76% in 2004. Extrapolating from the data, the improvements in solid waste and recycling ratios suggest that the Coca-Cola system generated 33 kilotons less waste for disposal from manufacturing operations in 2005 than in 2004.

Additional Highlights

Other waste and raw materials reduction highlights include the following:
  • In 2005, the system’s use of lightweight "Ultra Glass" contour bottles allowed it to reduce glass use by 52,000 tons globally -- a CO2 reduction equivalent to planting 8,000 acres of trees.

  • Packaging innovation also allowed the Coca-Cola system to reduce global use of polyethylene terephtalate (PET) plastic by over 10,000 tons, the equivalent savings of nearly 400 million 20-ounce Coca-Cola bottles. 3

  • The company and its bottling partners continued to invest millions of dollars to advance environmentally and economically viable recycling technologies, including the use of recycled-content PET in some 20 countries around the world.
"We are proud of the progress we’ve made, but we know that we can continue to do better," Seabright said. "Through our commitment to transparency and timely reporting, coupled with innovative partnerships that reach across traditional lines, we expect to continue to improve day by day and year by year."
Topics: