Manila, Philippines—The difficulties of the past year—from the continuing global pandemic, to unemployment, supply chain issues, rising commodity prices, plastic pollution, and climate change — have challenged business leaders across the globe to operate more sustainably while providing economic and livelihood opportunities to the people and communities that have helped them thrive.
As the leading total beverage company with more than a century-long history of helping drive positive change, Coca‑Cola Philippines aims not only to provide refreshing beverages to consumers; it is also constantly evolving and, in the process, demonstrated how business can make positive difference amidst uncertainties and constant change.
Coca‑Cola has progressed on its three focus areas on sustainability – waste, water and women economic empowerment. It continued to redesign its packaging to make them recyclable, it helped provide potable clean water to remote communities in the Philippines and helped enable more small businesses run by women entrepreneurs to survive despite the pandemic. It also used clean and renewable energy in its operations and reduced sugar in its products.
“The year 2021 continued to be a challenging year. So, we were laser-focused on meeting the ever-changing needs of our consumers, our employees, and the communities we serve. As we move to 2022, Coca‑Cola will continue to provide solutions that positively impact people and the planet—all towards a World Without Waste,” said Tony del Rosario, Coca‑Cola Philippines President and VP for Franchise Operations for the ASEAN and South Pacific Unit East Region.
“Our century-long history of facing challenges globally, has given us the unique opportunity to realize that things will eventually get better, and by staying true to our purpose of refreshing the world and making a difference, we will emerge stronger,” Del Rosario added.
Packaging as a way to accelerate collection and recycling initiatives
In 2018, The Coca‑Cola Company pledged robust World Without Waste global goals to help collect and recycle the equivalent of a bottle or can for every one it sells by 2030, make 100% of its packaging recyclable by 2025, and use at least 50% recycled material in the company’s packaging by 2030.
In the Philippines, Coca‑Cola pledged to phase out sachets and plastic straws from its portfolio by 2022 to slowly transition into using more sustainable packaging materials. To further its goals, the Company is now using less virgin plastics in its packaging: to date, Coca‑Cola Philippines has reduced its use of new or virgin plastic resin by approximately 10,000 metric tons (between 17-25% per packaging type). The packaging of single-serve drinks Wilkins and Viva! (500ml and 330ml) are now about 20-25% lighter, while 500ml bottles for carbonated drinks are 23% lighter.
In the Philippines, Coca‑Cola adopted closed loop recycling, or the process of collecting post-consumer plastic and recycling it into the same product, thus helping to divert them away from oceans and landfills. To date, the packaging of two of the company’s portfolio brands, Sprite 500mL and Viva!, are made with 100% recycled plastic, making it easier for manufacturers to repurpose plastic bottles and for consumers to support plastic collection and help create demand for recycled products.
PETValue, the country’s first bottle-to-bottle recycling facility that is projected to recycle at least 30,000 MT of plastic bottles (approximately 3 billion pieces), is set to rise in General Trias, Cavite, in the first quarter of 2022. The state-of-the-art facility will expand the country’s recycling capacity, help generate more than 200 local jobs, and support the livelihood of individuals within the waste value chain once operational. As the first facility of its kind in the Philippines that will repurpose raw materials through new technologies, PETValue was granted “pioneer status” in 2020 by the Board of Investments, an attached agency of the Department of Trade and Industry.
This year, Coca‑Cola launched its “Recycle Me” campaign to promote and remind consumers about the value of recycling and how everyone can take part in the recycling process. The “Recycle Me” message was printed on all package labels across Coca‑Cola’s brands and products in the ASEAN region, making it the company’s largest effort in Southeast Asia using packaging to deliver a strong recycling message.
Expanding PH collection and recycling capacity
Through the company’s partnerships with local governments, non-governmental organizations and social enterprises, Coca‑Cola helped expand the country’s plastic waste collection capacity by opening more than 200 PET plastic collection points across the country, making it easier for residents in far-flung areas and big cities alike to do their part in recycling plastic bottles after they have enjoyed their drinks.
Coca‑Cola’s partnership with social enterprise Plastic Bank® also helped collect P5 million worth of plastic bottles and improved the welfare of 89 collectors, 356 households and five communities in 2021. In partnership with Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) and Plastic Flamingo (PLAF) at least 500 metric tons of plastic waste had been collected within a year across traditional collection points, junk shops and communities in Muntinlupa City.
Through its local social development arm in the country, Coca‑Cola Foundation Philippines, the company has also enabled more than 40 grassroots partnerships across 36 cities and municipalities in the Philippines to support recycling and collection programs that empower the informal waste collection sector. To cite some examples:
Providing access to clean, potable water
Regular handwashing and hydration are key preventive measures as the world continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. However, access to clean, potable water has been a challenge for remote communities that do not have steady supply water supply.
Coca‑Cola Foundation collaborated with Del Monte Foundation to establish a Level 2 Water System in Barangay Kulasi, Sumilao, Bukidnon, where over 600 residents were given easier access to clean water for daily use.
“The Foundation's goals have always been focused on improving the lives of the communities, the people, and the planet. Having strong partnerships with like-minded organizations such as Pure Oceans, World Vision, PeacePond, and PBSP made our journey toward a world without waste achievable as we're able to promote collective action and encourage more people to do their part in creating a better shared future,” said Cecile Alcantara, President of Coca‑Cola Foundation Philippines.
Enabling economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs
Coca‑Cola has been supporting women entrepreneurs for decades, the company has worked with numerous partners to provide business training and financial support that will enable women to improve their livelihood, as well as the lives of the communities.
As of November 2021, 5,915 out of 8,660 retailers have completed the online basic entrepreneurship course of Safe Stores Education Module (iSTAR) - a joint program of Coca‑Cola Philippines and USAID-SURGE to address health & safety concerns of retailers.
COVID-19-related initiatives like Rebuilding Sari-Sari Stores Through Access to Resources and Trade (ReSTART) raised Php 206 million as business loan support to more than 21,000 retailers; and Re-Integration through Skills and Entrepreneurship (OFW RISE), and BANGON Pinas extended aid to nearly 600 repatriated OFWs through online entrepreneurship courses, business training, loan assistance, and business support package worth Php 30,000 inclusive of plastic ice chest and Coca‑Cola products
Clean energy integration
Despite the challenges brought by the pandemic, Coca‑Cola Beverages Philippines Inc. (CCBPI) continues to prioritize its sustainability initiatives in its operations. As part of CCBPI’s commitment and promise to its consumers, every single bottle of Coke is being made with the highest safety, quality, and sustainability standards in mind.
Despite the pandemic, CCBPI’s operations continue to make a greater impact on environmental sustainability while generating more jobs and growing the business. To date, 65% of Coca‑Cola's total energy consumption is sourced from renewable and clean energy—geothermal, solar, and biomass.
In 2021, CCBPI completed the installation of 14,000 solar panels in three of its production plants: Davao del Sur, Misamis Oriental and Bacolod. A multi-phased, 24,000 solar panel project is currently underway, while many of CCBPI’s sites also use geothermal sources for energy use.
Coca‑Cola operates as one of largest fleets in the country, with almost 3,000 trucks and over 2,000 sales service vehicles delivering at least 25,000 products in different cities and provinces. CCBPI ensures that its trucks and service vehicles are Euro IV- to V-compliant engines that produce cleaner emissions.
“Doing business the right way and the sustainable way remains a key part of our ways of working. We make sure that this is reflected in every aspect of our business and the way we operate. We never lost focus, and we think about the long-term solutions that will help us achieve our vision of a World Without Waste. It will still be a long journey for us but we’re looking forward to better days ahead as we continue to work with our people, partners and communities,” said Gareth McGeown, President of Coca‑Cola Beverages Philippines Inc.
Solving sugar reduction
Part of Coca‑Cola’s commitment to becoming a total beverage company is the expansion of its beverage portfolio to include drinks with reduced sugar, promoting low- and no-calorie options for consumption. By reformulating the ingredients of even its most popular beverages, Coca‑Cola is taking action in ensuring that it is able to meet consumers’ evolving needs, thus helping them reduce sugar intake while still enjoying the drink.
In August 2021, Coca‑Cola accelerated its sugar reduction efforts and introduced Coke Zero Sugar, the new face of its old Coke Zero drink that now contains zero sugar, zero calories, and an improved, iconic Coca‑Cola taste.
The company is also set to expand the Zero Sugar portfolio to other popular brands like Royal, Sprite and Schweppes Ginger Ale.
“At Coca‑Cola, we are always looking for ways to expand our beverage portfolio to cater to the ever-changing needs and priorities of our consumers. The push for more zero sugar drinks in the portfolio is our way of providing greater variety to those who drink our products, while allowing them to savor the classic, well-loved taste of Coke,'' Del Rosario said.
As another year begins, Coca‑Cola is committed to expanding its local and global partnerships, driving innovation, and providing more opportunities to the communities that continue to support the company in its journey toward a world without waste.
“We recognise that there will be new challenges to face in 2022. Be that as it may, we remain committed to invest and grow our business in the Philippines. We will also continue our programs on sustainability and our partnerships with the public and private sector that aims to make positive impact on the lives of Filipinos. Inspired by the Filipino people who have survived and triumphed in the face of adversity and insurmountable odds, we are resolute in delivering our purpose of refreshing the world and make a difference," Del Rosario said.