News & Events

Wednesday 01 April, 2015


Investigating the future of sustainable manufacturing

We spoke to Steve Adams, Director, Supply Chain Group Operations following last week's Sustainable Manufacturing for the Future roundtable event, at our Milton Keynes site. With academics and leading industry figures coming together to discuss the future of manufacturing, Steve offers his thoughts on what was a fantastic day for those involved.

At a roundtable event held at our Milton Keynes factory held last week, I witnessed something very inspiring. We had invited a host of colleagues, supply chain partners and leading academics to join us in a discussion around the future of sustainable manufacturing, both for our own sector and the industry at large. The event provided a launch-pad to kick-off a six month partnership we are embarking upon with Cranfield University; a research study that will delve into this important topic.

What emerged from the day, and what gives me great hope for the future, was the collaboration from everyone present, and the dedication people have for tackling some of the fundamental issues impacting the manufacturing industry right now and in the years to come, within the world of food and drink, the broader FMCG sector and beyond. At CCE, sustainability is in the DNA of everything we do - both for the environment and in our role as a British business.. We recognise that sustainability is just as much a societal issue as it is a concern for business, running through the communities where we operate, as well as being embedded within all aspects of the value chain. I was hugely impressed by the observations and shared values presented by guests at the event, all of whom are clearly extremely passionate about sustainability and dedicated to understanding and learning more.

We fundamentally believe that the drive towards a sustainable future must be a joint effort, so for me, this was the perfect start to our partnership with Cranfield – a dedicated research project we have entitled: Sustainable Manufacturing for the Future.

The study forms a part of our broader Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (CRS) agenda at CCE, all of which falls under the banner of ‘Made in GB’. While we operate as part of a global system with Coca-Cola, at CCE we consider ourselves as very much a local company. We are proud of our British manufacturing heritage and stamp our products with Made in GB as a statement of our commitment to this. Made in GB is more than a label for our business however, and a key priority for us is ensuring we make a positive contribution in every way possible. This includes our goal to improve manufacturing skills in GB, both also through our dedicated education programme working with schools and further education facilities across GB, and in the development of our own people – for example, by offering opportunities to men and women and recruiting a mix of both young and adult apprentices. Independent research last year showed that for every job we provide, our activities support a further eight jobs, equating to more than 34,500 British jobs throughout GB.

In 2014 we invested significantly in our operations – a total of £1 million a week across the year, underpinned by our continued drive to lead the industry in sustainability, and commitment to grow more while using less. Among many new initiatives last year, the introduction of a Combined Heat and Power system at Wakefield will help us to save 1,500 tonnes of CO2 per annum, a 5.6% reduction for the site overall. In 2015, we will surpass this investment total for the year, having just announced our intention to inject a further £66m, bringing total investment by the business to nearly £300m over the last five years.

An important number of topics were discussed on the day in Milton Keynes, from legislation and distribution of responsibility, to the intricacies of the circular economy and the future delivery of products to market - all this as part of a sustainable supply chain that will revolve around technologies that are yet to be realised. It is a vast topic so unearthing new discoveries presents a distinct challenge, but we are committed to leading the way and challenging our industry peers to ask difficult questions of themselves and others.

The key themes and conclusions of the roundtable will be reported as a white paper to be published in late spring 2015. The research team will then delve further and deeper into the topic, before delivering their final findings on how sustainability will evolve and what a sustainable factory may look like in 2050 in autumn this year.

All those interested in contributing to what promises to be an interesting and illuminating project, should contact us at cocacolaenterprises@3-monkeys.co.uk or tweet at @CokeCCE for more information.

Steve Adams

Director, Supply Chain Group Operations

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