Millions of people enjoy a Coca-Cola product every day. They have made us who we are today. While our business thrives on choices made every day, it is our responsibility to keep everyone informed about how we are shaping our business and being responsible at the same time to make the world a better place. For years, we have followed the practice of voluntarily informing our stakeholders how we have fared in our responsibility towards them.
The India Sustainability Update 2017-18 speaks about our small steps that contribute towards a better tomorrow for everyone. When they buy a product, it marks the beginning of our relationship. That is why the report is so important to everyone.
The report talks about why Coca-Cola is supporting communities, building water replenishment structures to find local solutions, working with schools to revitalise their infrastructure or even creating awareness and inculcating the habit of recycling, among many other activities.
Every time consumers exercise their choice to select one of our beverages, it tells us what they are looking for. To make our consumers happier tomorrow, our products need to evolve just like the consumer.
As Coca-Cola worldwide morphs into a company that offers beverages for life, we are offering more options to choose from. The choices span across sparkling, hydration, water, dairy and other segments.
Along with our partners, we have committed to invest $1.7 billion between 2017 and 2022 to expand the Fruit Circular Economy (FCE) initiative. It will include buying fruits from the farmers, investing in plant and machinery to process the fruit, and finally, processing the fruits to offer more choices to consumers. Understanding the need to align the business with the national priority of doubling farmers’ income, we too decided to make our choice.
In 2011, we signed up with Jain Irrigation for a 15-year partnership to grow mangoes under the Ultra High-Density Plantation (UHDP) technology and use drip irrigation practices. During the next six years, 56,600 farmers were positively impacted, of which nearly 10 per cent were women. Nearly 1500 acres of demo farms have come up due to the choice we made and the long-term commitment we exhibited.
Water is one of the key focus areas for Coca-Cola’s sustainability operations. We have been able to build capacity to replenish 138% of the water used in our operations. In addition, The Coca-Cola India Foundation, Anandana has improved the livelihoods of communities by mitigating water-stress. 150+ water replenishment structures have been built across various water-stressed regions of India. Anandana’s water stewardship has benefitted over 8 lakh people across 600 villages.
When we launched the ‘Support My School’ campaign in 2011 in partnership with NDTV, we wanted to revitalise some of the basic infrastructure, like water, toilets, playground and libraries, in at least 1000 government schools across the country. After positively impacting over 1100 schools, the programme is now morphing into ‘SMS Mission Recycling.’ Teaching children the right habits for recycling at an early age could help change the communities they live in. SMS Mission Recycling is hoping to bring about the change in 16 states in over 5200 government schools with more than 11 lakh beneficiaries as the target. We have made the long-term commitment to positively influence the future of our children.
In January 2018, The Coca-Cola Company announced that it will collect and recycle the equivalent of every bottle or can that it sells worldwide by 2030. The long-term commitment that we have made is now driving the way we think about recycling around the world. India is no different and we are expanding our recycling efforts to meet our commitment.
We are partnering with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India to reduce the impact of plastic waste on human life and environment. We have set goals to implement Swachhta Kendras as a sustainable model with the use of technology-based waste management, and collaboration between citizen communities, central and state pollution central boards, the urban development department and other stakeholders. This has already been launched in five cities (Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Goa and Bhopal) and there are further plans to target 50 major cities of the country by 2020.
Another initiative on similar lines is ‘Alag Karo: Har Din Teen Bin,’ a three-year project in Gurugram implemented in partnership with GIZ, Tetra Pak and the not-for-profit organisation Saahas which aims to promote waste segregation at the source. It seeks to sensitise people on active waste segregation and disposal practices. 40,000+ people have been reached for waste segregation program in Gurugram.
We also carried out 15 beach clean-up campaigns over 14 months which helped collect nearly 700 tons of dry waste. In Mumbai, Ganesh Chaturthi was celebrated as a zero-waste festival at five locations. Recycling is the right thing to do, which will benefit communities in the long run. That is why we are making a long-term commitment to recycling.
When the government announced the ‘Skill India’ programme, we saw an opportunity to align the ‘Parivartan’ programme to benefit the small retailers. Over the last decade, nearly 3.75 lakh small food and beverage retailers in the unorganised sector have reaped the benefit. This included nearly 50,000 women, thus showing our long-term commitment to the community.
When you choose one of the beverages we make, you expect us to make the right choices and a long-term commitment to the communities we operate in. Over the last 25 years since resuming operations in India in 1993, we have been doing that. As we move to the next quarter of a century, we hope to live up to our commitment to the communities.
While we take pride in making great tasting beverages, in the heart of our hearts, we always strive to raise the bar.