News & Events

Thursday 26 April, 2018


Taking action for a sustainable future

Nick Brown, Head of Sustainability, Coca-Cola European Partners, Great Britain

Ensuring packaging is as sustainable as possible is a priority for businesses across the globe. The Governments’ newly announced £60m initiative backing the cause demonstrates the scale of this ambition. It’s time to bring this conversation to the forefront and tackle the issue together.Cross-industry collaboration, involving the whole value chain, is key in addressing these challenges; not only in changing the way the industry works with plastic materials, but also in capturing the attention of consumers to educate them about plastics, littering and recycling.

Minimising the impact of packaging on the environment is at the top of our agenda at Coca-Cola European Partners. We recognise our responsibility to educate and encourage consumers to dispose of their packaging responsibly, as well as keeping plastic waste off our streets and out of our waterways. In doing this, our ambition is to recover all of our packaging, so that more can be recycled and none of it ends up as litter. Last November, we launched This Is Forward, our sustainability action plan across Western Europe. All of our plastic bottles are already 100% recyclable and we’re continually looking for innovative ways to reduce packaging waste. We already have on average 25% recycled content in our PET bottles and have set a target to reach 50% recycled content by 2020. The progress we have made across our entire business is a step in the right direction, but we know there is more to be done.

CCEP is proud to be a founding member of The UK Plastics Pact, led by WRAP, it is the first of a global network of such pacts, enabled by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's New Plastics Economy initiative and backed by Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Gove. The Pact is a bold and unique cross-sector initiative, bringing together the entire plastics value chain behind a common set of ambitious targets, to keep plastic in the economy and out of the environment. Encompassing innovation, research and new business models, the pact will encourage the industry to rethink and redesign the packaging put on the market in the first place, and how we can encourage different delivery models to reduce unnecessary packaging.

There are a number of important, complimentary initiatives underway right now. The British Plastics Federation is also taking important measures with its Marine Litter Platform and Operation Clean Sweep. We are proud to support both initiatives, which focus on preventing plastic waste from entering our environment and particularly our oceans, enforcing best practice and encouraging the industry to take notice. The Marine Litter Platform is the first response from the industry, addressing the ongoing debate around plastic pollution in our oceans, while the latter initiative is concerned with limiting the loss of materials into the environment during the production process.  

For us, and other manufacturers, it’s key not to just sign on the dotted line, but to take specific actions right now. With the Deposit Return Scheme potentially coming into play in the near future, it is important that all organisations involved in these pledges work together to help shape this system to ensure that it is effective and impactful across the whole value chain. We are continuing and amplifying our work across our sites and our own value chain to meet targets outlined in our sustainability action plan, and are collaborating with industry leaders and government bodies to support the growth of the circular economy in Great Britain. It’s a work in progress, but we’re certainly moving in the right direction.

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