At Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), sustainability has been at the heart of our business for many years. We understand that climate change is one of the most serious and complex challenges facing the world today and we’re committed to playing our part in tackling the issue.
In line with this commitment, we launched our pan-European Sustainability Action Plan This is Forward in 2017 – setting out how the Coca-Cola system is taking action on climate change, amongst other key areas such as packaging waste and water scarcity. This is a critical part of our long-term business strategy and provides clear direction on how we intend to use our business and our brands to build a better future.
As part of our “Action on Climate” commitment, This is Forward sets out ambitious new carbon reduction targets, whereby we aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions from our core business by 50 per cent, and by 35 per cent across our entire value chain by 2025. In Great Britain we are making good progress, having already reached a reduction of 54 per cent and 34 per cent respectively this year. This is the result of many actions across our supply chain, including investment in renewable energy, more efficient coolers and vending machines, and increasing our use of recycled materials, which themselves have a lower carbon footprint. Behaviour change is also a key factor so we are ensuring energy efficiency remains front of mind for all colleagues.
In Great Britain, 100 per cent of the electricity we purchase now comes from renewable sources, an important milestone that we reached in early 2017. One example of this is an eight-hectare solar farm that directly supplies our site in Wakefield, Yorkshire – the largest soft drinks factory in Europe – as part of a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA). Last year, it generated 3,719 MWh of electricity, covering 13 per cent of the site’s total electricity use, and cutting the factory’s carbon footprint by approximately eight per cent.
More recently, we installed a heat recovery system at our Edmonton site which has already led to a ten per cent reduction in gas use at the factory. While ensuring that our manufacturing operations are as sustainable as possible, we make it our priority to continue these measures throughout our supply chain – including the way our products are stored and distributed. The introduction of automated warehouses has allowed us to store more products on-site, reducing transportation to third parties, significantly reducing road miles. Our latest of these facilities – opening in 2019 – will help to reduce our Sidcup site’s carbon footprint by nearly 4,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.
In light of our strong decarbonisation programme and continued work to minimise the environmental impact of our operations, we’re proud to have been listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) in 2018 for the third year running.
While we’re pleased with the progress that’s been made to date across our operations, we understand that there is much more to do in addressing the key sustainability issues facing our business, wider industry and society as a whole. We therefore look forward to working long term with suppliers, partners and stakeholders to continue innovating in this area and building towards a lower-carbon future.
Nick Brown is head of sustainability at Coca-Cola European Partners.