Women represent the greatest untapped source of economic opportunity around the world. The Coca-Cola Company believes that women are critical not only to the success of our business, but to the continued success of the communities we proudly serve. Across our value chain, women play important roles as farmers, suppliers, distributors, owners of retail shops and kiosks, recyclers, artisans and consumers. That is why we placed the economic empowerment of women at the center of our business efforts and our global sustainability agenda.

In 2010, The Coca-Cola Company announced a global initiative to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs across our value chain by the year 2020. This project was championed by Coca-Cola’s then chairman and CEO, Muhtar Kent, and was called the 5by20 initiative. The announcement was made in New York amid the United Nations General Assembly; and with this, 5by20® was born. As one of the first private sector companies to announce a goal of this magnitude, we ensured our efforts were aligned with the United Nations’ then Millennium Development Goals and its Women’s Empowerment Principles, which we signed up to.

We embarked on a journey that would include many partners we would need for locally relevant programs, including government agencies, our network of bottling partners, non-governmental organizations, team members around the world and, of course, women who wanted to improve their lives and businesses as well as provide more for their families. 

Today, on International Women’s Day, we are proud to announce we surpassed our goal, enabling empowerment of more than 6 million women through 318 programs across 100 countries.

So, why did we do this? Women represent the greatest untapped source of economic opportunity in the world. According to a 2018 International Monetary Fund report, women’s economic empowerment boosts productivity and increases economic diversification and income equality as well as other positive outcomes.

Women create a ripple effect of change. Strong women build families, strengthen communities, and are role models for the next generation, which is good for a business like ours. And women have a significant connection to our business at Coca-Cola and throughout our value chain globally.

Studies show that women do 66% of the world’s work, yet earn only 10% of the world’s income—90% of which goes back to their families and communities. Drawing on local expertise, capabilities and resources, 5by20 aims to help women entrepreneurs overcome the common social and economic barriers they face due to the lack of business skills training, financial services, assets, peer networks and mentoring.

The real heroes of this story will always be the women. They did the work. They started new businesses, learned new skills and improved their livelihoods.

As we look back, we celebrate these women and changes they brought to their communities and our business.

Even with the completion of this program, we know there is much more to be done. We aim to strengthen communities and create a better shared future for all of us. We have a proven track record of reaching ambitious sustainability goals – through prioritization, perseverance and partnerships. We’re ready to do more.

We thank all of our 5by20 partners, including our bottling partners, and the many collaborators who helped change the lives of more than 6 million women as part of our purpose to refresh the world and make a difference each day.

Our role in the 5by20 initiative

India was one of the four markets, where 5by20 was piloted in 2010 (other pilot markets being Brazil, South Africa & Philippines). Since then the program grew and became an integral part of our sustainability initiatives. 

In India, we enabled approximately 21,796 women in 2018 and the total number of women entrepreneurs impacted by our 5by20 initiative since 2010 has crossed 1,52,000. In India, we are working towards the 5by20 goals through the following major programs:

1. Parivartan: This is a capability building initiative to provide training to rural retailers on various aspects pertaining to retailing, and equip traditional retailers with the right skills to grow their businesses sustainably. These programs are conducted by certified trainers across the country. To reach out to women retailers in remote parts of India, buses have been converted into customized mobile classrooms. In 2018, 1,964 retailers across India were trained out of which 1094 were women. The program has benefitted more than 3.75 Lakh retailers.

2. Pragati: This program is also focused on building the retailing capabilities among women entrepreneurs by providing training and product knowledge. A business skills program led by Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt Ltd (HCCBPL) is focused on training and engaging women retailers in rural India in classrooms. As part of this program, women are invited to our bottling locations so that along with the classroom session they get an understanding of the actual manufacturing process. In 2018, 9,453 women retailers have been trained under Pragati and since 2016, over 31,500 women retailers have been trained.

3. Unnati: In addition to the retailer segment of the value chain, we are also supporting producers through project Unnati, a supply chain initiative that would enable farmers including women farmers who shall adopt modern farming techniques and good agricultural practices. We have three programs under this initiative: Unnati Mango, Unnati Orange and a newly launched program Unnati Apple. Combined with a drip irrigation system, the program helps farmers double their crop yield and their income. Unnati Mango program has benefitted 72,513 farmers including 10% women farmers. Over the course of 10 years, Unnati Orange is set to benefit over 2,50,000 farmers including 10-15% women farmers. Unnati Apple was launched in 2018 and has benefitted around 3,000 farmers till date.

Being the sole bread winner of the family, I started working as a waste worker. However, even after a long day of waste picking, I was not able to earn enough money to meet our basic requirements. Then I came to know about Swachhta Kendra set up under Project Prithvi by Coca-Cola, and I decided to join there.

Working with Project Prithvi has benefitted me immensely. Now, I am a part of a self-help group (SHG) that helped me open a savings bank account. I have health insurance and receive regular health check-ups and medicines through medical camps organized frequently at the centre. I was also aided with social benefits like scholarships for my children. From Rs 7,500 per month earlier, my monthly income has increased to Rs 12,000. Which helps me to save a reasonable amount for my future. Now I feel content and self-confident.

Rajamma, Adoni, Andhra Pradesh

4. Career Development Centres (CDC): HCCB’s Career Development Centre project was started in partnership with NIIT Foundation and has been training underserved youth for entry level jobs in the organized sector. The first CDC was started near Dasna (Uttar Pradesh) in 2011, followed by 4 others in 2014 at Khurda (Odisha), Ameenpur (Telangana), Pirangut (Pune, Maharashtra) and Bidadi (Karnataka) offering job-oriented training courses in Basic IT, service industry and soft skills. The training program involves both classroom training as well as practical experience through industry visits, group activities and counselling. Through these 5 CDCs, we have impacted more than 10,400 candidates since inception. Over 65% of the trained candidates have been placed in reputed companies like Vijetha, Manappuram Finance Limited, Muthoot Fincorp Ltd, Reliance Fresh, HDFC Life Ltd, Metro Cash & Carry and Reliance Mart.

As a responsible company, we aspire to positively influence the local communities where we operate. Our community engagements are guided by our approach to bring meaningful interventions which are locally relevant, aligned with national aspirations and create economic opportunity for people.