Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) is the world’s third largest independent bottler of Coca-Cola Company products – manufacturing, selling and distributing Coca-Cola products across eight countries in Western Europe. Joe Franses, Director of Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability and Suzannah Cooley, Senior Sustainability Manager, tell us about CCE’s journey to setting a science- based carbon reduction target.
For more information, visit cokecce.com or follow the company on Twitter at @CokeCCE.
Coca-Cola Enterprises commits to reduce absolute GHG emissions from their core business operations by 50% by 2020, using a 2007 baseyear. This includes manufacturing operations, commercial sites, logistics operations and cold drinks equipment.
Coca-Cola Enterprises also commits to reduce the GHG emissions from their drinks by 33% by 2020, using a 2007 base-year. This will deliver carbon reductions throughout their value chain (upstream supply chain ingredients and packaging as well as core business operations).
Why did you set a Science-Based Target?
Joe Franses: Setting a science-based carbon reduction target is consistent with the vision within our “Deliver for Today, Inspire for Tomorrow” Sustainability Plan to “grow a low-carbon and zero-waste business”.
Climate change is one of the most serious and complex challenges facing the world today. It is one of the top global risks identified by the World Economic Forum, but it is also one of the most significant risks for our business. Climate change is linked to changing weather patterns and extreme weather conditions around the world, both of which can have adverse impacts on our manufacturing operations and distribution network. Climate change also has a direct impact on water, our primary ingredient and on agricultural productivity around the world.
As a result, we have developed ambitious plans to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with our core business operations and our wider value chain. There is now widespread political and scientific consensus on the need to tackle climate change.The Paris Climate Change Agreement provides a clear direction of travel to limit global warming to ‘well below’ 2 degrees Celsius, which will require reaching net zero emissions for all GHG gases within the next 50 years. It is imperative that carbon reduction pledges and targets set by the private sector, as well as by governments and regions, align with this pathway.
How did you set a Science Based Target?
Joe: Coca-Cola Enterprises has had a carbon reduction target for a long time now. It is a key part of our overall sustainability strategy. When we first launched our Sustainability Plan in 2011, we adopted an absolute carbon reduction target – to cut emissions from our core business operations by 15%. We also adopted a intensity target – to reduce emissions across our entire supply chain by one-third.
A strong investment programme focused on energy efficiency in manufacturing and our cold drinks equipment (e.g. by fitting energy management devices and retrofitting doors on open-fronted coolers) meant that we soon found that we were making strong progress against our absolute target. By 2014, we had exceeded our target and had achieved an absolute reduction of 29%.
When we reviewed our targets in 2015,we looked at what we had achieved and examined our carbon reduction roadmaps. As a result, we decided to stretch our absolute carbon reduction target to 50%. This represents a significant stretch for our business and a high level of ambition.
When CDP reached out to us about science-based targets, as part of their “Call to Action” Campaign we decided to check how aligned our targets actually were. The CDP team checked our carbon reduction targets against the eligibility criteria of the Science Based Targets Initiative and they confirmed that both our absolute and intensity targets are fully aligned with the needs of climate science. It was great to hear that we had already stretched our ambition to the level required. In truth, the journey for us was relatively smooth.
Suzannah Cooley: The process of checking that our targets complied with the eligibility criteria was actually a lot less challenging than we expected it to be. The support we received from CDP was excellent and the process was relatively simple. We submitted our targets, provided the necessary data (which we had already gathered because we monitor our emissions and report progress against our targets) and then a technical reviewer of the Science Based Targets Initiative did the official target quality check.
How did you get employees involved – from the CEO down?
Joe: At CCE we have established sustainability working groups which are responsible for delivering carbon reductions across various different areas in our business, including transportation, cold drinks equipment and packaging. Therefore, people involved in our day-to-day business operations are leading the transition to a low-carbon business. However, support from CCE’s Executive Leadership Team has been critical in creating the right internal culture and in making sustainability core to our business.
What has changed as a result of having a Science-Based Target?
Suzannah: Our technical team has welcomed having the confirmation that our emissions reduction targets are science-based. It has given us the tools we need to understand the future challenges we face. And having an externally recognized, third party methodology has given us a mechanism through which we can judge and refine our carbon reduction efforts.
Joe: We now have a comprehensive understanding of the emissions throughout our business operations and our value chain. This has given us the tools to understand and forecast the impact of various business decisions. For example, we can now measure the contribution to our targets of using an increased percentage of recycled PET in our bottles, and understand the impact on the carbon footprint of the “drink in your hand”.
What benefits to you envisage gaining from having a Science-Based Target?
Joe: Many forward thinking companies now have their own carbon reduction targets. To continue to show leadership and stay aligned with the expectations of external stakeholders, those targets will need to be aligned with the needs of climate science. Many of our major retail customers – including Tesco, Carrefour and Sainsbury’s – are also putting in place plans to significantly reduce their own carbon emissions and emissions across their own supply chains. This means that major suppliers, including CCE, will need to ensure that carbon reduction targets are fully aligned. We expect the same of our suppliers.
The Science Based Targets Initiative provides a framework for companies to demonstrate alignment and a consistent level of ambition. Having a third-party endorsed science-based target will provide an important level of credibility for supply chain partners. It will demonstrate alignment with the needs of our planet and the action on climate change called for by politicians, policy makers and external stakeholders.