In the lead up to Keep Australia Beautiful Week, Christine Black, director of public affairs, communications and sustainability at Coca-Cola South Pacific discusses how action must be taken internally to create a culture of care for products created and the planet we inhabit.

We are in the middle of a packaging crisis and the call to stop using long lasting materials for short-term purposes is louder than ever. As the world’s largest beverage company, Coca-Cola has a responsibility to drive change and lead by example.

That’s why earlier this year Coca-Cola announced an ambitious global goal to create a World Without Waste. We will help collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one we sell by 2030.

Here in Australia, we recently announced with Coca-Cola Amatil that we will be significantly increasing the amount of recycled plastic in our bottles. With 7 out of 10 of Coca-Cola’s plastic bottles in Australia to be made entirely from recycled plastic by the end of this year, we’ve made significant inroads towards a more sustainable future already.

I believe for our World Without Waste vision to be brought to life, action must be taken internally to create a culture of care and consideration regarding the products we produce and the planet we inhabit. We’re engaging every part of our business and encouraging our staff to become champions of change to drive this transformation from the inside out.

Walking the Talk: Recycle for Ecobarge
Our employees are one of the biggest drivers of change. They are engaged and passionate about the work we’re doing to achieve our sustainability goals. A large component of our World Without Waste strategy is collection and ensuring the plastic we use is kept out of our oceans or landfill. We’re working to collect a bottle or can for everyone we sell by 2030. That starts in our North Sydney office.

This year, with our landlord Investa, we established our own internal Container Deposit Scheme (CDS). To encourage positive recycling behaviours, 10c from every can or bottle deposited into specially marked bins around the office is donated to our partners at Ecobarge. This initiative involves over 500 employees across Coca-Cola Amatil and Coca-Cola Australia. So far, we have raised $11,500 over the last 6 months by doing the right thing.

Start the conversation
We look for opportunities to keep the sustainability conversation alive internally such as World Environment Day in June. Initiatives included volunteering with our not-for-profit partners such as Ausmap and Coastcare, a panel discussion with leaders from the business, industry experts and academics about the issue of plastic waste, as well as informal lunchtime ‘bin sessions’ with our technical and facilities managers to educate employees about where their waste should go. These sessions are designed to challenge our thinking and ultimately learn from each other to achieve a greater outcome.

Collaboration and Communication
From day one, our commitment to create a World Without Waste has been embraced right through Coca-Cola. We recognise that operating the business is important, but not at any cost. People matter, our planet maters and we must do business the right way by following our values and working toward solutions that benefit us all.

Far from a set and forget approach, we share regular communication with staff so we can track and monitor our progress toward eliminating waste internally, celebrate our milestones and continue to hold one another accountable to our goals.

Sustainability is everyone’s responsibility, not just our sustainability managers. We’re lucky that this is a message that resonates with everyone in our business. From finance to IT, strategy to marketing and technical, our employees are proactively coming up with new product innovations and designs to help achieve our sustainability goals.

With 7 out of 10 of Coca-Cola’s plastic bottles in Australia to be made entirely from recycled plastic by the end of this year, we’re excited to see what the next decade brings in the world of sustainability and recycling for Coca-Cola South Pacific.

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