Friday, July 30, 2010

Article: Coca-Cola Japan Aiming for a Sustainable Society

New Global Corporate Principal: "Live Positively—Make a Positive Difference in the World"

The Coca-Cola Company, known globally for its Coca-Cola beverage brand, currently offers its products in over 200 countries around the world. Its origin dates back over 120 years ago to 1886 when Dr. John S. Pemberton, an American pharmacist in the U.S. state of Georgia, invented a new syrup. Operations in Japan started in 1957 upon the establishment of a company, Nihon Inryo Kogyo K.K., which was renamed Coca-Cola (Japan) Co. in 1958. It now sells more than 60 types of beverage products ranging from carbonated drinks to coffee and tea drinks nationwide.

As a global company, the Coca-Cola Company recently introduced its new guiding principle of "Live Positively—Make a Positive Difference in the World," with the aim of pursuing sustainable business growth while coping with complex and intertwined issues facing society, such as global environmental, social, and economic problems. The principle provides a framework of corporate social responsibility aimed at having the Coca-Cola system, which comprises the Coca-Cola Company and its bottling partners worldwide, contribute to the creation of a sustainable society. The framework consists of four aspects: marketplace, environment, community, and workplace. For the environment, there are three priority areas: energy management and climate protection, sustainable packaging, and global water stewardship.

Development of Lightweight Containers
To create more eco-friendly packaging, Coca-Cola Japan took the approach of developing lightweight containers. In order to overcome shortcomings in weight reduction, the company has been making efforts to create a PET bottle that is light but strong and easy to handle. Currently, the fruit of these efforts is the "ecoru Bottle Shiboru" PET bottle used for "I LOHAS," a new water brand launched in 2009. Its market debut was revolutionary: the new 520-milliliter bottle is about 40 percent lighter than the company's previous water product bottle, and is designed for easy crushing or squeezing after the drink is consumed to reduce disposal volume. Then, Coca-Cola Japan started to use the "PlantBottle," a plant-based PET bottle, for "I LOHAS" in April 2010. Unlike the conventional PET bottle made from 100 percent petroleum-based plastic, the PlantBottle is partially (5 to 30 percent) made from molasses, a by-product of sugar production from sugarcane. The company first introduced the PlantBottle for its two brands of blended tea in March 2010.

Advanced Vending Machines—Improved Performance in Environmental Conservation and Disaster Response
The company's objective is to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 360,000 tons (about 18.5 percent) from its manufacturing, distribution, sales, and office sectors in 2010, compared to the 2004 level, throughout the entire Coca-Cola system in Japan. As the emissions from distribution stand out from among the four sectors, most of which are emissions related to its 980,000 vending machines across Japan, the company has instituted various energy conservation measures in their design.

The next generation vending machine, called the "ecoru/E40," which was released in 2008, features the combined usage of an HFC-free heat pump, vacuum insulation panels, and LED lighting, thereby reducing energy consumption by 40 percent compared to the company's conventional models.

The company also developed a model with solar panels mounted on top in March 2010, which was named the "ecoru/Solar." With the power storage system using solar panels, this new model can provide night time lighting with no outside energy consumption. Kansai Telecasting Corporation in Osaka was the first to install this model, and the Coca-Cola system further aims to install 1,500 of the new vending machines across the country by the end of 2010, thus promoting future energy-saving efforts through a series of replacements throughout the nation.

Vending machines are able to provide various contributions to society, one of which is a capability to assist people in time of disasters. The Coca-Cola system has been introducing vending machines ready for disaster relief to be used as a source of information and drinks, in cooperation with local municipalities nationwide. This new vending machine features the ability of providing free drinks during a disaster as well as displaying disaster information on an electronic bulletin board. Aiming to support the wellbeing of communities in ways that reflect local differences, the company has been installing various types of vending machines that also collect funds to support the activities of animal protection groups, non-profit organizations, and community-based professional sports teams.

Toward Sustainable Use of Water Resources

The Coca-Cola Company has set itself the goal of becoming a global leader in water resources management by the year 2015. Since 2004, it has implemented its water stewardship strategy in its global operations, which strategically promotes the three actions of reducing water used to produce its beverages, recycling water used in beverage manufacturing processes, and replenishing water in local communities and nature.

The company is promoting its Source Water Protection program as one of its water resource management programs, in which water sources for all Coca-Cola plants worldwide will be identified, and plans for assessing source vulnerability and preserving sources will be formulated. In Japan, in line with the project, pilot surveys of water resources have been started at its two production sites, one at the Daisen Plant of Coca-Cola West Daisen Products Co. in Tottori Prefecture and the other at the Tokai Plant of Coca-Cola Central Japan Products Co. in Aichi Prefecture. Results of these surveys will form the basis for extending project implementation to all 29 domestic plants by 2012.

—Excerpted from an article written by Taeko Ohno, Japan for Sustainability Newsletter


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