Sustainability of the business is among the top priorities of Coca-Cola as it goes about its work. The guiding light for Coca-Cola in India is the annual Sustainability Update, which was published earlier this month. It has set the company on the path of using renewable resources so that the impact to the environment can be minimised.
Coca-Cola’s water usage ratio – the amount of water used to manufacture one litre of the product – in India has improved 30 per cent since 2008. For its operations in the country, it has created a water replenishment potential of 148 per cent. So, for every litre of water used in the beverages, nearly 50 per cent higher replenishment potential has been created. The goal for the top leadership is very clear – pave the way for renewable resources.
Moving towards renewable energy:
“We need to be off the grid in terms of water, we need to be off the grid in terms of electricity, we need to increasingly move towards renewable sources of electricity so that we do not eat into the finite resources of the planet. I think this is a journey. So, whenever I hear someone talk of sustainability, you only feel very humble because you are doing so little. The challenge is so much bigger. And so however much you scale up, you are still going address only a small part of whatever is the challenge”
The farmer is at the heart of the change that Coca-Cola is trying to usher in. At the launch of the Sustainability Update 2016/17 for Coca-Cola’s operations in India, all the efforts in promoting the fruit circular economy were highlighted. Farmers are being taught to prepare for the plantation of higher-yielding crops. Details of drip irrigation are being taught so that these farms can also learn best practices for use of water.
In the long run, higher yield from the farms, processing of fruit and a local market for their produce could be the biggest drivers of charge for farmers. The planting of higher-yielding varieties could also help in developing an export market. It could help improve the lot of many farmers around the country.
Sourcing more fruits locally and growing them better:
“We can improve the ways in which fruits are grown and reduce the water, inputs and other things that are being used there. And we can ensure that the yield is increased. And convert that into something that is commercial. This really, we believe, is a circular economy that will help sustainability in its classical form and will also help to alleviate a bit of the poverty of a small population of farmers, who would really start getting better and better”
Coca-Cola has taken the lead it caring for the environment and the idea to be mindful of the surroundings is being driven through the organisation from the top.
Think future, think sustainability:
“We miss the fact that everything we think is great for us has an opposite reaction which is not necessarily great for us. May be not so important for us but so important for those who are going to succeed us in this world. I think the most important thing that all of us have to recognise today is that we are aware of this that we can play a role in at least mitigating this equal and opposite reaction so that we leave behind, for people who follow us, a much better world”
Christina Ruggiero, CEO, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages, reminded that it was the job of everyone to think about sustainability, a habit which should reflect in the collective care for the communities that we live in.
Everyone must care:
“We have a responsibility not because we will be able to sell more but because we need to go to sleep at night and know that we did the right thing- because we can. And that means I can’t just be in the categories of people who are in PAC. That means every single one of us has to think about sustainability. Every single one of us has to care about communities that they are in. And I know you do. But caring can’t be a theoretical thing. Caring has to be a physical action, of which all of us do something. And each of those things makes a difference”