Handeln. Verändern. - Member Story with Coca-Cola

Renowned for its iconic drink, this piece comprises Coca-Cola Germany's sustainablility practices and projects at all stages of the supply chain
Photo Copyright: Coca-Cola Germany

Sustainability is at the heart of the Coca-Cola business

Making an effective contribution

The world is changing, not only with the existing pandemic. We all are changing and so does Coca-Cola. Together, we are capitalizing the learnings to deliver a better future and emerge stronger.

The Coca-Cola Company and its bottlers around the world and as well in Germany act in ways to create a more sustainable world and future. To make a difference in people's lives, communities and our planet by doing business the right way. Sustainability is at the heart of the entire Coca-Cola business - and has been an important topic for more than 100 years. Coca-Cola has launched countless initiatives and projects on the topic of sustainability and their sustainability agenda is continuously evaluated to focus on the highest priority environmental, social and governance issues for the company, stakeholders, and communities Coca-Cola operates in.

Coca-Cola has not lost sight of their sustainability goals even in times of pandemic. Coca-Cola's sustainability strategy and all related activities are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The system is working hard to make an effective contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals - globally, in Europe and in Germany.

Continuous innovation

The company is known for Coca-Cola, the drink invented by John S. Pemberton in Atlanta 1886. And made famous around the world for its unique taste. But Coca-Cola also owns a large number of other famous brands such as Fanta, Sprite, Fuze tea, Costa Coffee and Innocent. Today, Coca-Cola Germany offers around 60 different beverages in different packaging variants, making it the largest beverage producer for non-alcoholic soft drinks in Germany. The product portfolio includes a variety of soft drinks with and without sugar or with reduced sugar content. Coca-Cola Germany also offer spritzers and various waters. This range will continuously expand to provide consumers with a wider choice of beverages for a balanced diet.

In 2020, Coca-Cola also launched a new coffee brand Costa Coffee in Germany, initially in the out-of-home market and in the greater Berlin and Cologne areas. Regionality and responsible consumption as well as the desire for organic and fair trade production remain relevant. The organic-certified range currently includes the ViO BiO lemonade, ViO juice spritzers and Honest Bio tea. By 2025, Coca-Cola in Europe wants to obtain their most important agricultural raw materials from 100 per cent sustainable sources.

Business success and sustainability go hand in hand

Handeln. Verändern." is the translation of the European sustainability agenda “This is forward” for Germany. This agenda applies both to Coca-Cola GmbH, which is responsible for product and packaging development, among other things, and to Coca-Cola Europacific Partners Deutschland (CCEP DE), which is responsible for the production, bottling, sales and distribution of the beverages throughout Germany. Part of the company's philosophy is to produce locally. Coca-Cola currently has more than 20 locations in Germany: 14 production sites and 13 other locations, including the headquarters and distribution and logistics sites. The headquarters of CCEP Germany and of Coca-Cola GmbH are located at a joint site in Berlin. Together they are Coca-Cola Germany.

Sustainable packaging mix

Coca-Cola began bottling beverages in Germany over 90 years ago. In 1929, the first Coca-Cola in a 0.2-litre refillable glass bottle rolled off the production line in Essen, thus establishing the refillable system. Even today, refillable packaging is an important part of Coca-Cola's product range in Germany. Promoting closed-loop recycling is a key component of Coca-Cola's sustainability strategy. Coca-Cola is still the largest refillable supplier in Germany. Between 2018 and 2020, the company has invested 150 million euros in refillable bottling - in new bottling plants and components, new refillable containers, as well as in the expansion of the refillable bottle pool and new crates.

Another important step in the direction of a circular economy is, for example, the switch from one-way deposit bottles to recycled PET.  This allows raw materials to be reused and primary raw materials to be dispensed with as far as possible. As early as spring 2021, the beverage manufacturer completely converted all non-refillable deposit bottles of the ViO, Fuze Tea and Powerade brands to 100 per cent rPET. This was followed in the summer by the half-litre bottles of the core brands. Today, Coca-Cola Germany offers a mix of refillable and non-refillable packaging in different sizes and materials, so that consumers have the choice to select the most suitable packaging for their particular consumption situation.

Through continuous innovation, Coca-Cola also wants to make their packaging as sustainable as possible. The principle here is: "Less is more" - less material used, less raw material consumed and less CO2 emitted. Coca-Cola has a long tradition of packaging innovation. The innovation in 2021 is the so-called PlantBottle, a prototype bottle in which Coca-Cola, together with two partner companies, has developed a new process for the production of PET that no longer requires fossil raw materials. The required substances can be obtained 100 per cent from almost any plant material, especially from residues from the wood-processing industry. This process is scalable on a large scale. There is no concrete date yet for when the first bottle made from 100 per cent plant material will actually be on the shelf. Innovations of such magnitude need time to optimize all processes and supply chains.

There is great potential to save emissions not only in packaging, but also in logistics. Despite predominantly regional filling at 14 production sites nationwide and short delivery routes for Coca-Cola in Germany, longer transports are sometimes necessary. CCEP DE is increasingly relying on rail freight transport for long distances between the sites. In 2020, for example, 1,000 tons of CO2 and 1.7 million truck kilometers were already saved. This year, CCEP continued to expand rail transport in Germany: together with DB Cargo, the company developed a nationwide rail freight network that already connects 13 locations via 19 routes.

Companies such as Coca-Cola are working along the entire value chain to contribute to sustainable development. This also includes the goal of becoming climate neutral until 2040 in the entire value chain. The measures taken to achieve this are manifold. And so, for Coca-Cola, "We act to change".

For more detailed information please contact:

Thomas Henneberg

Manager, Head of Membership Engagement & Events

Henneberg