News & Events

Monday 21 March, 2016


Joining forces and collaboration – will lead us to Sustainable Manufacturing for the Future

Today I’m pleased to announce the launch of the findings from our industry research partnership with Cranfield University – ‘The journey to 2050: Research on the vision and pathways for sustainability in the food and drink industry in Great Britain’.

Our partnership with Cranfield University began in March 2015 when we published our first white paper – ‘Sustainable Manufacturing for the Future’. In this paper we saw six primary themes come to light – People, Big Data, Technology, Collaboration, Value and Resilience. We used these themes as a basis for our second piece of research, which identified the key actions that will lead Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) and others in the food and drink industry towards a sustainable future in manufacturing.

We found five key areas from our research that I believe will lead us to the future of manufacturing; Anticipating the future – sharing more information with customers, Providing nutrition – offering new services that deliver on a broader value, Sharing the benefits – engaging with society in product creation, Inspiring the next generation – integrating with educational organisations and Joining forces – becoming agents of change.

It’s the piece around joining forces and collaboration that I want to highlight. We recognise the importance of partnerships in making progress towards common goals. This is an area where I believe we can achieve clear benefits and valuable synergies through resource sharing. The research team identified the need to develop strong, meaningful connections across the full supply chain, from the very source of products through to the end-user. We truly believe that new innovation, solutions and fresh approaches to how we operate as an industry can be achieved by more collaboration up, down and across the supply chain. A key enabler for this will be the open sharing of ideas, data and best practices between companies and across industries.

To achieve this means ensuring that throughout the development process we are collaborating with each area of the business – this is something that we already do at CCE, but we are always looking for ways to improve. The vision that we share for 2050 includes being more directly connected to consumers. By allowing them to input into the creation process we can ensure that their demands are met in the end product.

It’s our belief that in the future this idea of extended collaboration will change the way that companies understand and utilise value and leadership. Collaborating will become the normal and accepted way to grow a business in a positive way, whilst reducing its footprint. At CCE we are already taking steps to achieve more together. This year we’re joining forces with a variety of industry stakeholders to tackle the societal issue of litter across GB. Last week we launched the findings of a joint research project that we commissioned in partnership with Keep Britain Tidy, to delve into the problem and assess potential solutions to explore further.

To achieve collaboration there are steps that we must take. We must ensure that our employees operate closely without borders with society on sustainability – a commitment that I will encourage my colleagues at CCE to adopt. We must also educate consumers on the environmental impact of their buying patterns.

I think you’ll agree that in order to succeed and be truly sustainable industry has to adapt some of its current ways of working. This could be through the product offering for consumers, the ways in which we work jointly with industry partners or the innovations we implement across the sector.

At CCE, we look to do this through our strategy, Inspiring Sustainable Soft Drinks Choices Together - sustainability is absolutely at the heart of what we do, and our approach focuses on actions in three key areas, health, environment and community.

It is also with this in mind that we’ve embarked upon a £56m operational investment plan at CCE this year, increasing total investment to £356m over the last six years. Reflecting the essence of the key pathways identified in the research, these investments, ranging from automation to water treatment, will help to accelerate our journey towards sustainability in GB.     

I’m excited to be involved in the industry at such a moment of opportunity and look forward to following the steps that our research paper has identified. We must continue to look forward, challenging ourselves and others to do more in securing a sustainable future

Leendert den Hollander

Vice President and General Manager

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