During the recently celebrated World Environment Day, the Coca-Cola System in Nigeria comprising Coca-Cola Nigeria and its bottling partner, Nigerian Bottling Company, reaffirmed its commitment to making the country and the world a more sustainable place by supporting plastic recycling and other key environmental protection initiatives to help create a world without waste.
World Environment Day was founded by the United Nations Environment to promote worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. The theme for World Environment Day 2020 is, ‘Time for Nature,’ with a focus on its role in providing the essential infrastructure that supports life on earth and human development.
In January 2018, the company launched a global goal to fundamentally reshape its approach to packaging through its World Without Waste initiative. This initiative aims to help collect and recycle the equivalent of 100% of its packaging by 2030.This year’s World Environment Day theme, ‘Time for Nature’, rightly ties into the ambitious goal that Coca-Cola set for itself since 2018 and its efforts at investing in the planet and its packaging towards environmental protection.
The Coca-Cola Company and its bottling partners, are pursuing several key goals:
• Investing in the planet: By 2030, for every bottle or can the Coca-Cola System sells, we aim to help take one back so it has more than one life. The Company is investing its marketing dollars and skills behind this 100% collection goal to help people understand what, how and where to recycle. We will support collection of packaging across the industry, including bottles and cans from other companies. The Coca-Cola system is working with local communities, industry partners, our customers, and consumers to help address issues like packaging litter and marine debris.
• Investing in our packaging: To achieve its collection goal, the Coca-Cola System is continuing to work towards making all of its packaging 100% recyclable. The Company is building better bottles, whether through more recycled content, by developing plant-based resins, or by reducing the amount of plastic in each container. By 2030, the Coca-Cola system also aims to make bottles with an average of 50% recycled content. The goal is to set a new global standard for beverage packaging. Currently, our returnable glass bottle and PET packaging in Nigeria is 100% recyclable.
“Bottles and cans shouldn’t harm our planet, and a litter-free world is possible,” Onyemelukwe Nwamaka, Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability Manager, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited explained. “Companies like ours must be leaders. Consumers around the world care about our planet, and they want and expect companies to take action. That’s exactly what we’re doing, and we will continue to lead in this space. We invite others to join us on this critical journey.”
He noted that the World Without Waste campaign represents Coca-Cola’s commitment to doing business in a way that eliminates waste which causes damage to the environment and supports job creation and financial empowerment. Under this campaign and through the Coca-Cola Foundation, the company has sponsored, and supported projects geared towards proper waste management and infrastruture that supports life on earth and human development.
With grants of over $800,000 from the Coca-Cola Foundation to multiple local NGOs, several recycling and women empowerment programs are being implemented to address the issue of environmental protection while empowering women who are significant pillars of the environment.
Additionally, through Coca-Cola’s System investment in one foremost recycling company in Nigeria, Alkem, more than One billion PET bottles were collected and recycled in Nigeria into fibre and other products from 2005 to 2011; more than 1,800 people directly employed on an average income of $6 per day (3 times the national average); as well as the creation of synthetic fibre for local industries and export.
Coca-Cola has further invested into building an industry coalition that has birthed the Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance (FBRA). FBRA is an alliance of responsible and forward-looking companies united by a shared concern for the environment and a commitment to collaborate with all stakeholders in building a sustainable recycling economy for food and beverage packaging waste. These efforts have so far led to over 55 million bottles recovered from the environment and recycled into other products.
Some of the notable NGO grants towards building environmental sustainability includes the $150,000 grant to the Initiative for the Advancement of Waste Management in Africa, which is aimed at helping them establish eight ‘Cash for Trash’ recycling hubs in communities around Abuja, a $100,000 grant to the Mental and Environmental Development Initiative for Children (MEDIC) for its Recycling Scheme for Women and Youth Empowerment (RESWAYE) program, $56,000 grant to Global Shapers on Plastics 2 Resources designed to change the behavior of citizens on waste disposal and about $170,000 grant to the African Clean-Up Initiative, which has birthed two key programs – RecyclePay and Clean-Up Naija.
The RecyclePay programme has supported children with funding to attend low-tuition schools by exchanging plastic bottle waste donated by their parents for school fees while solving a key climate issue as well as SDG Goals 4 and 10. Currently, the African Clean-Up Initiative is using a similar approach to support low-income families affected by the coronavirus pandemic by giving them cash, double the value of plastic bottles recovered.