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On track for a net zero future

Francisco Javier Sanchez Gandarias, Vice President, Customer Service and Supply Chain

Francisco Javier Sanchez Gandarias, Vice President, Customer Service and Supply Chain | Coca-Cola Europacific Partners

4 min read Partner content

CCEP, in partnership with distribution partner Maritime, is making the shift from road to rail as part of their sustainability journey.

As the UK’s largest distributor of Coca-Cola products, with operations running all the way from East Kilbride in Scotland to Sidcup in Kent, making our supply chain more sustainable is a key focus area as we work to reduce our carbon footprint by 30% by 2030, and achieve net zero by 2040.

To continue making meaningful strides towards this important goal, we know we need to work closely with our supply chain partners.

The end of the line for emissions

This is why we’re working with our distribution partner, Maritime, to make the switch from road to rail for the distribution of soft drinks between some of our sites and third-party warehouse locations.

When running at full capacity, up to 18,000 loads, or 2.5 million cans and bottles of some of the world’s most popular soft drinks, will travel between London and Yorkshire via railway instead of road each day. We’ll be helping reduce the congestion on some of our busies roads by removing a total 15,000 lorry journeys between the North and the South, saving almost 4 million road miles each day.

It will also represent an important reduction in emissions. The move covers almost a third of product volume destined for Yorkshire, which will benefit from a carbon saving of nearly 50% compared to if they had been delivered via vans. And for every can and bottle that can be delivered more sustainably, it’s one step closer to achieving our overall ambition of reaching net zero by 2040.

Driving a circular economy

This year, it’s not just our drinks travelling between London and Yorkshire that are on a sustainable journey. We’ve made important progress in other areas to reduce the environmental impact of our operations and help ensure that the soft drinks we’re loading onto Maritime’s trains are manufactured and designed to be as sustainable as possible.

Earlier this year, we announced a switch to attached caps across our plastic bottles. Beginning initially with our 1.5L bottles in May, and rolling out to our smaller 500ml packaging last month with plans to implement across our entire range in GB by the end of 2024, the innovative redesign means that the cap stays attached to the bottle once its open, helping ensure that our bottles and caps are recycled together. When you also consider that our bottles are already 100% recyclable, and made from 100% recycled plastic*, this amounts to a huge quantity of plastic being prevented from becoming waste and instead being recycled, helping keep us on track to achieving a circular economy.

We’ve also been looking at how we can make our cans more sustainable, reducing their weight by 22% over the past two years. At our Sidcup site in London, one of the locations switching distribution to rail, we recently opened our new £28m state-of-the-art high-speed canning line, capable of producing 2,000 light weighted cans per minute. This boost to the site’s production capabilities is helping us ensure enough of our more sustainable light weighted cans are being produced to meet demand, while also accelerating carbon savings. Similarly, following extensive research, we’ve successfully replaced the shrink wrap on our multipacks of cans with a paper-based alternative at Sidcup, as part of wider plans to remove 4,000 tonnes of plastic from circulation across Western Europe.

Investing in innovation

Sidcup isn’t the only site that’s received investment to help get it ready for rail. At our Edmonton site, we’ve invested £5.8m in a rear door loading facility to help enable the transition. This has doubled the number of loading bays at the site, and increased overall capacity by 22%. Edmonton has also recently achieved a 70% reduction in its carbon emissions compared to 2010 levels, and is on a journey to gaining a carbon neutral status, helping to ensure we’re reducing the environmental impact of our sites and the source of our products.

All across our value chain, we’re making progress towards our net zero ambition, working together across our sites and with our industry partners to keep our sustainability journey on the right track.

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