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CEO: Coca-Cola Enterprises strives for sustainability
by Caroline Young
cyoung@neighbornewspapers.com
June 28, 2012 05:28 PM | 1860 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
By 2020, Coca-Cola Enterprises aims to reduce the carbon footprint of all drink products by one-third. Also, the downtown Atlanta-based company wants to make sure every package sold anywhere is recycled or reused by the same year, according to John Brock, its chairman and CEO.

“We picked two areas where we think we can be world class. One is energy conservation and the other is recycling,” Brock said at the Buckhead Business Association’s signature luncheon Thursday at 103 West in Buckhead. Coca-Cola Enterprises is the bottling division of the Coca-Cola Co.

Since London is Coca-Cola territory, Brock said this summer’s Olympics will be the “greenest games you’ve ever seen” with every Coke package made recyclable. He said plastic bottles will be remade into new ones and put back on the shelves within six weeks after they are consumed, and they have 14 “bio-gas trucks” to deliver all Coke products in an “ecologically sensitive fashion.”

According to Brock, every cooler at the Olympics will be energy-efficient and endorsed by Greenpeace, which formed a relationship with Coke 10 years ago.

Additionally, all uniforms worn by Coke hosts and torchbearers are made from recycled plastic.

“I can vouch for that because just last week, I was in Newcastle, England, running the torch,” said Brock, a Buckhead resident.

In June 2006, Coca-Cola Enterprise’s first sustainability initiative was created.

“We have a very clear road map,” Brock said. “It’s all about making sure we deliver all of these commitments we’ve talked about, but it’s also saying we are going be really impressive tomorrow.”

Brock and his management team established “seven pillars of sustainability,” including energy conservation and climate change, water stewardship, packaging, recycling and reasonability, product portfolios (giving consumers choices), diversity in inclusive cultures, community service and health and well being.

“We started this whole thing six years ago because we thought it was right for the planet and we thought it was right for business, and we’re just as convinced today as we were then that it’s right,” Brock said. “Then starting in 2009, we started to say, ‘We’ve got to issue commitment by 2020.’”

Brock said his team came out last fall with a brand-new sustainability plan called “Deliver Today and Inspire for Tomorrow” and is in action today.

“We all think of Coca-Cola has a sort of hometown company,” said association president Catherine Cattles. “And for him to say that by 2020 he wants to have every can that’s out there to be recyclable, that’s huge. It inspires us and it makes us see there are ways we can contribute to that same goal.”

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