The year 2015 witnessed the transition from Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the comprehensive Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDGs calls for collaborations between all stakeholders, especially the government, private sector and civil society. We at Coca-Cola call it ‘the golden triangle’. I feel encouraged to see a very deep-rooted commitment in the private sector to actively participate in the development agenda and to work alongside government agencies and civil society to drive change. Societal challenges remain at the heart of most of the conversations I have with my counterpart

As one of the world’s leading organisations, sustainable development remains at the heart of everything we do. We help create sustainable and thriving communities, especially in rural India, by empowering farmers as we link them to our businesses in India and globally. The Coca-Cola Company is one of the largest buyers of Indian agricultural produce. In fact, our growth plans will aid an agriculture sector contribution of INR 4,000 crore and lead to 4,00,000+ metric tonnes of annual purchase of fruit by 2023, thus playing an important role in realising the government’s focus on doubling farmers’ income by 2022. Our business is closely linked to the farmer community as we source 95% of our ingredients locally, benefitting more than 4,00,000 farmers. Our signature sustainable agriculture project, ‘Unnati’, moved into its second phase, with a focus on engaging farmers on a larger scale. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd., Government of Maharashtra and Jain Irrigation marked the expansion of Unnati into the production of oranges, thereby benefitting farmers with marginal land holdings. At the core of all our engagements is our belief in enabling communities to take ownership of our various projects. In alignment with this belief, the Coca-Cola India Foundation, Anandana, through its 130 community watershed projects has created 6.8 billion litres of water replenishment potential, impacting over 6,00,000 lives across 500+ villages in remote and water-stressed areas since 2008.

Water conservation remains central to our sustainability strategy. As an organisation, we are committed to being responsible users of water and by using best-in-class technology, we have reduced our water consumption considerably. Besides recycling and reusing water, our bottling plants are consistently identifying and implementing locally appropriate projects that revitalise watersheds. Through various initiatives, we have created a water replenishment potential of 148% compared to the total water used in the manufacturing processes. We constantly endeavour to elevate our metrics to secure the environment by combating the climate and energy crisis. We envision a 25% reduction in the carbon footprint of ‘the drink in your hand’ by 2020. In line with this vision, we are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across our entire value chain by making comprehensive changes in our manufacturing processes, packaging formats, delivery fleet, refrigeration equipment and ingredient sourcing, and also by promoting the use of renewables, especially biofuels, across our bottling units.

As we move forward on our sustainability journey, we are committed to great investments in human capital. In keeping with this, we have identified lack of sanitation infrastructure and awareness as a key issue. The enormity and complexity of the sanitation issue in India has led the Government of India to launch the ‘Swachh Bharat Swachh Vidyalaya’ campaign. Since 2010, through the ‘Support My School’(SMS) campaign, launched in partnership with NDTV and UN-Habitat, we have been helping children—especially young girls—to continue their studies by providing improved sanitation and access to water facilities. The campaign aims to raise awareness and funds to revitalise schools in rural and semi-urban India, and until December 2015, it successfully revitalized 600+ schools. It is on track to meet its target of 1,000 schools by 2017. Another key initiative, the ‘Parivartan’ programme, started by the company in 2008 along with Coca-Cola University, imparts skill training to small unorganised retailers in order to equip them to deal with the challenges of an increasingly competitive and evolving retail space. Through this programme, we have touched the lives of over 3,00,000 small grocery retailers, including 39,000+ women retailers and over 9,500 Eat and Dine retailers at the end of 2015. Our partnership with Enactus and AIESEC has helped us build socially conscious youth communities in India.

As a part of our emphasis on sustainability, we are committed to further strengthening our positive impact on the community, with a special focus on water, agriculture and recycling. In addition, we are committed to the optimum utilisation and conservation of resources.

Our associates and the partnerships we build are the life force behind all our initiatives. Our every day is marked with a passion for making an enduring and positive difference in the lives of the stakeholders and communities we engage with through our business operations. We thank them for their contribution in making our sustainability vision come to life and seek their continued support going forward.

Venkatesh Kini
President and CEO
India and South West Asia Business Unit of The Coca-Cola Company