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Collaboration is key in reaching our sustainability goals

Jim Fox, Head of Public Affairs

Jim Fox, Head of Public Affairs | Coca-Cola Europacific Partners

4 min read Partner content

Jim Fox, Head of Public Affairs at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) GB, discusses the role businesses have to play in tackling the climate crisis.

Sustainability has quickly risen up the political and public agenda in recent years, accelerated, in part, during the Covid-19 lockdowns as people sat up and took notice of their impact on the world around them.

Today, the climate challenge remains more pressing than ever – and rightly so. It’s an increasing concern for consumers, with four out of five UK consumers adopting more sustainable lifestyle choices.[1]

There is now an expectation on government and businesses to deliver bold climate action. Talks are already turning towards COP27 and there is an expectation on all of us to do more in the months and years ahead.

At Coca-Cola Europacific Partners we’ve remained resolute in prioritising our environmental goals and have made significant progress towards our ambition to reach net zero emissions by 2040. For example, we have expanded the solar farm which directly powers our Wakefield soft drinks factory – the largest in Europe – saving almost 1,800 tonnes of CO2 every year.

And last year, we announced a further £11m investment over the next five years to replace our 200-strong fleet of material handling equipment, including forklifts, with units powered by lithium-ion batteries, producing no carbon emissions in their day-to-day operation.

As the producer of some of the most well-known and loved brands globally, we know it’s our responsibility to ensure we’re always at the forefront of sustainable manufacturing innovation and we continue to make significant progress in making our packaging more sustainable. Our factory in East Kilbride, Scotland recently became the first site to manufacture our brand-new 1.5L bottles of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar and Diet Coke with attached caps.

This innovative redesign means that the lid will remain attached to its bottle, wherever it goes, preventing it from being discarded or thrown away separately. This will make it easier than before to recycle the entire bottle, ensuring that as much plastic as possible is recycled and ensure no caps get left behind.

We’re also working with Circularity Scotland to support the implementation of an effective Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in Scotland. DRS will play a vital role in helping to recover more high-quality plastic to be reused and we continue to work closely with the governments of the UK to support the introduction of consistent and interoperable schemes across the country.

These cross-industry partnerships are essential in accelerating our progress and journey to Net Zero

While we are always looking at how we can improve as a business, we also know it’s our responsibility to bring others with us on this sustainability journey. At CCEP, we’ve reduced greenhouse gas emission across our entire value chain by 30%, but we know that a proportion of our scope three emissions can be attributed to our customers, so we’re working with customers up and down the country, from convenience stores and large supermarkets, to pubs, restaurants and more, supporting them in their efforts to operate more sustainably.

Recently, we’ve been focussing on helping some of our hospitality operators understand their role in tackling the climate challenge, as part of Net Zero Now’s hospitality platform, of which CCEP is proud to be a development partner.

The Net Zero sector protocols offer a four-step process, designed to help pub, bars and restaurants calculate their greenhouse gas emissions, develop a plan to help reduce them, and give operators credible ways to compensate for any emissions that cannot be removed, ahead of certifying the business as on the journey to net zero or net zero. The small and simple changes laid out by the sector protocols – like turning down thermostats, switching to LED lighting and changing kitchen habits – can equate to a financial saving for outlets, while avoiding potentially significant and costly interventions for businesses in the future.

These cross-industry partnerships are essential in accelerating our progress and journey to Net Zero. Together with Government, our partners and customers, we’re shifting the dial on climate change and creating real change, one step at a time.

This article was published in The Path To Net Zero, a special report to mark Net Zero Week 2022, with contributions from Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, Alex Burghart MP and Kerry McCarthy MP. Read more here.

[1] Deloitte, Sustainable Consumer research, April 2021

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