The CSR Newsletters are a freely-available resource generated as a dynamic complement to the textbook, Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility: Sustainable Value Creation.

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Monday, November 20, 2017

Strategic CSR - Coca-Cola (I)

This week's Newsletters will focus on the operations of one of the most valuable brands in the world – Coca-Cola. The article in the url below gives some idea of the scale of operations of this global company. It also demonstrates the resource utilization such operations require:
"Coca-Cola increased its production of throwaway plastic bottles last year by well over a billion, according to analysis by Greenpeace."
Please note that this is an increase of 1 billion, not 1 billion total! Beyond the raw number, what is important about this is that each bottle is a single-use product/packaging. Although it can be recycled, there is variation on the extent to which these bottles actually are recycled. Either way, we are talking about a lot of plastic, every year, that goes toward a product that, shall we say, has debatable value for society:
"The increase puts Coke's production at more than 110bn bottles each year, according to Greenpeace."
Now, Greenpeace is not necessarily the most objective organization when it comes to the environment. But, even allowing for a billion here or there, that is a massive scale of production (and consumption). The volume of bottles produced amounts to "an astounding 3,400 a second." What's more is that Coca-Cola uses many more resources in its packaging than just plastic:
"Coca-Cola has confirmed that single-use plastic bottles made up 59% of its global packaging in 2016 compared to 58% in the 12 months before."
And, of course, Coca-Cola is not the only drinks company out there:
"The scale of production contributes to a plastic mountain which is growing vastly year on year. Figures obtained by the Guardian reveal that by 2021 the number of plastic drinks bottles produced globally will reach more than half a trillion."
In terms of recycle rates:
"Fewer than half of the bottles bought in 2016 were collected for recycling and just 7% of those collected were turned into new bottles. Instead, most plastic bottles produced end up in landfill or in the ocean."
And much of the rest doesn't even make it to landfills:
"Between 5m and 13m tonnes of plastic leaks into the world's oceans each year to be ingested by sea birds, fish and other organisms, and by 2050 the ocean will contain more plastic by weight than fish, according to research by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation."
Take care
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Coca-Cola increased its production of plastic bottles by a billion last year, says Greenpeace
By Sandra Laville
October 2, 2017
The Guardian