Last week The Coca‑Cola Company and Coca‑Cola HBC brought 35 stakeholders from 20 countries together to hear their views on how we take our World Without Waste agenda forward.
World Without Waste was announced by The Coca‑Cola Company at the beginning of 2018 with the objectives of collecting and recycling the equivalent of 100% of packaging sold and using at least 50% recycled or renewable packaging materials by 2030, while making packaging 100% recyclable by 2025. In addition, Coca‑Cola HBC launched its 2025 Sustainability Commitments last month. These work towards the 2030 objectives by requiring us to make our consumer packaging 100% recyclable, to source 35% of the total PET we use from recycled PET and/or PET from renewable materials and help collect the equivalent of 75% of our primary packaging by 2025. The commitments can be viewed here. We will continue partnering with local communities, NGOs, industry, and consumers to achieve these.
Our annual stakeholder forum in Vienna was attended by customers, industry and waste associations, NGOs, policy makers and investors, and we were delighted to welcome Josef Plank, General Secretary to the Austrian Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism.
The wide-ranging discussion focused on the three key pillars of World Without Waste, namely Design, Partner and Collect, the 2025 Commitments and the impact of these for creating a sustainable way forward for our business, including through new types of packaging, new partnerships and new collection schemes.
Some quotes from the day:
World Without Waste has become a key theme for our license to operate and the way we define responsibility as a business. We want to be part of the solution and this is reflected in Coca‑Cola HBC’s 2025 commitments, which include a focus on increasing the collection and recycling rates for PET. We also acknowledge that we can always do more to drive our World Without Waste strategy, which is why it is important to engage with our stakeholders on this topic.
Elisabeth Köstinger, Austrian Minister for Sustainability and Tourism, (who was scheduled to speak but was not present due to Parliamentary duties):
A world without waste is one of the biggest goals we can strive for. I'm glad we have an ally here with Coca‑Cola.
The excessive use of plastic is one of the topics high on the agenda of our EU presidency. In the European Union we are already on a good path to reducing single-use plastic because there are good alternatives that do not affect the environment. But we have to and we will reduce waste wherever it is possible – a goal on which all European environment ministers agree. Therefore the full recycling of materials, whenever possible, is an important step.
The Forum was a great opportunity for us to listen and learn from stakeholders. The key takeouts for me were that World Without Waste is an essential programme for our business and thus the entire beverage industry. Equally, that our 2025 commitments in regard to rPET and collection are broadly in line with the new EU legislation. It was also clear to me that consumer education and awareness building about littering is a critical challenge we need to tackle and that we need more impactful and engaging consumer communications regarding the use of rPET in our packaging. Finally, that new business models and innovation are key to success in this area. We will capture the key lessons learned and build these into our roadmap as we continue to implement our World Without Waste strategy and deliver our 2025 Sustainability commitments.