Video ReportAlert: Coca-Cola Enterprises 6th Company-Wide Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability (CRS) Report Committed to 2020: Shaping a Sustainable Future in Europe

Jul 11, 2011 8:00 AM ET

Highlights from Coca Cola Enterprise's (CCE) Corporate Responsibility and Susta…



Coca-Cola Enterprises Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability Report 2010/2011 – Video Report Alert July 2011

Introduced by Paul Scott, Director 

Coca-Cola Enterprises, or CCE, are a separate company from the Coca-Cola we all know. They receive the Coca-Cola concentrate and bottle, distribute and sell it. They also bottle, distribute and sell products from other companies as well, but mostly focus on Coca-Cola brands. There’s  a large number of these independent Coca-Cola bottling companies around the world, and CCE is one of the largest. Until 2010 CCE operated both across Europe and North America, but late last year they finalised a deal to sell the North American operations to Coca-Cola, as well as taking on two new European countries, Norway and Sweden. So now CCE operates as a European company, although it remains headquartered in the US.  During 2010 it sold over 11 billion cans and bottles, it employs around 13 and a half thousand employees. 

This is Coca-Cola Enterprises sixth report, so they’ve been doing this for a while and have a good track record – they use the GRI reporting framework(at  level B+), include a UN Global Compact index, use best practice reporting frameworks such as the WRI/WBSCD Greenhouse Gas Protocol and the UN Global Compact Water Mandate principles, and this year they also include external report assurance. So wherever you look, you can see that the report uses the tools available to assess and report on performance. They also explain how they ask leading stakeholders for advice on corporate responsibility and sustainability, and set out how they intend to be the leader in this field within the food and beverage industry.  

So, what kind of a report is it? Well, it’s a 40 page publication and I’d say it’s aimed at an intelligent non-specialist audience. It’s serious, informative, with  lots of explanations, charts and data tables, and thankfully almost free of generic images of the ‘smiling employees’ and cheerful kids variety. You can learn a lot about the company and its sector by reading this report, I know I did. 

Aside from outlining the nature of the business, how it interacts with its stakeholders and how its governance framework works, the report is structured around explaining its key focus areas and its progress towards the targets it has set to reduce its impacts in these focus areas. CCE  calls this program ‘Commitment 2020’ and the report title is ‘Committed to 2020: Shaping a Sustainable Future in Europe’ – this is the meat of the report. 

There are seven of these focus areas, several of them are mainly environmental – energy use and climate change for example, and water use and packaging – and some are based around people – community and workplace. And there are also areas focusing on the products themselves and what the company is doing to ensure they are responsible – issues such as sugar content and healthy living. I’m not going to go through each of these areas, I’d just like to whet your appetite enough so that you’d like to read the report for yourself. 

But I will pick out a couple of the areas that interested me. 

The first is energy use and climate change. This has to be the most important sustainability issue facing business today, and CCE seem to be stepping up to the plate because their declared target of reducing their carbon footprint by and absolute 15 percent by 2020 (from a 2007 baseline) is certainly impressive. The company operations consist of manufacturing, ie bottling the drinks, distributing them, and selling them – usually chilled from vending machines. All these operations are energy-intensive and by examining the entire value chain of producing and selling its drinks, CCE is going beyond what many might regard as its direct areas of responsibility.  By this I mean that the company is looking at the entire supply chain and calculating what needs to be done for it to be a responsible and sustainable company, whereas other companies might say that is not their responsibility and wash their hands of it. So that’s a good approach, I’m encouraged to read that.  

You can judge how effective they’re being by the fact that from 2009 to 2010 the company reduced energy use by 4% while at the same time increasing business volume by 4%.

Water is another key focus area, and CCE uses lots of it. It’s being pretty effective in reducing its use though, for example in 2010 it used 1.42 litres of water per litre of product, compared with 1.51 litres in 2009 and 1.57 the year before that – given the billions of litres of product, I think I mentioned 11 billion cans and bottles sold in 2010 – this incremental progress adds up to huge volumes of water saved. The company is certainly delivering on its commitment to protect water sources, minimise water use and replenish the amount of water used – and the report shows that water use has been cut back every year for the past 5 years, despite increasing production. 

Packaging is the third environmental focus area, and of course the issues are a little more complex – the impacts of packing depend on issues such as materials choice, what consumers do with the packing once they’ve drunk what it contains, recycling possibilities etc. I hadn’t realised that CCE had just announced the development of a huge new PET recycling plant here in the UK (PET is the typical plastic used for fizzy drinks). This will double the amount of recycled PET in this country  - it’ll produce 25,000 annual tonnes of recycled PET and be one of the largest plastic recycling facilities in Western Europe. 

There are lots of examples and case studies, I think you’re getting a flavour of the report, there’s a lot more I could tell you but I think it’s best to let you find out for yourself. 

I’ll leave you with a phrase from John Brock’s intro (he’s the Chairman and CEO of the company) which caught my eye, he said ‘Above all, we know we need to be more visionary, expanding our influence beyond the concept of ‘reducing our impacts’ and exploring ways to drive true change’. 

Well, I’m sure you’d agree that if every company CEO took such a stance, we’d all be a long way further towards achieving sustainability. 

Do read the report, you can find it here and don’t forget to send the company your feedback, they welcome it and as you can see from the report, it’s what helps shape what they do. 

Thank you for watching this VideoReportAlert!