5 carbon reduction roadmaps for Coca-Cola UK

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TransitionHERO is supporting Coca-Cola Europacific Partners GB, the largest global Coca-Cola bottler, in their efforts to be carbon neutral by 2040. To that end, studies have been conducted and roadmaps created in five UK manufacturing sites to reduce CO2 emissions. Sam Jones is Head of Climate and Sustainability at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners GB, and closely involved in the project. He talks about the collaboration with TransitionHERO. 

For starters, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners is taking big steps towards reducing CO2 emissions, can you tell us a little more about that? 

“True. By 2040, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners wants to be carbon neutral. As an interim step, we want to reduce our CO2 emissions by 30% in 2030 compared to 2019. These are clear goals for us, which are becoming increasingly integrated into our business. Our CFO now equates the sustainability goals with our financial targets. In other words, they are non-negotiable. That shows the importance of CO2 reduction for the business. “ 

TransitionHERO has created a roadmap for five UK Coca-Cola Europacific Partners manufacturing sites to meet 2030 and 2040 CO2 targets. Are you satisfied with the results? 

“I can say a resounding yes to that. A clear roadmap was created for all the manufacturing plants individually which will allow us to meet and even exceed our targets. I think the biggest compliment came from our CFO, who, after reading the report, said: “We put a lot of money into consulting firms, who then come up with reports that often end up at the bottom of a drawer. We spent relatively little money on this report, but we really need the information it contains. And it is also presented with complete clarity.” In addition, what has surprised many people at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners is the strong business case, with long-term returns. Such figures help to change people’s mindset, because there is still a lot of scepticism about sustainability, that it would cost too much money, for example. Your study shows that responsible and profitable production can indeed go hand in hand.” 

And now, what are the next steps, and what challenges lie ahead? 

“Actually, we are just going straight ahead. With two in-depth studies that you are now conducting in the two largest English Coca-Cola Europacific Partners’ manufacturing sites, Wakefield and Sidcup. With those studies we want to work toward implementation of the technology. One of the biggest operations is the boilers. These currently run on natural gas, but we want to replace them to run the process on heat pumps and waste heat. The most ideal scenario is to build into all five plants the technology that is needed and has been recommended by you in the roadmaps. A big challenge is going to be space. In the somewhat smaller manufacturing sites, there is not enough space (yet) to build in the necessary technology. They are fairly compact manufacturing sites. Downtime also plays a role. We cannot afford to shut down our processes for too long. But we think about that very carefully and together.” 

Making your manufacturing sites in England more sustainable is an important factor in meeting sustainability goals. Why was TransitionHERO chosen to support you in this? 

“We had two reasons for this. We were very satisfied with the work that TransitionHERO did for the Coca-Cola Europacific Partners’ manufacturing site in Dongen. The study and roadmap for making that factory CO2 neutral was of high quality. We also received a lot of positive feedback about the way you work. Knowledgeable, down-to-earth and involved. Professional in a no-nonsense, non-corporate way. I also see that. You visit us, look at the manufacturing sites, put a lot of time into building personal relationships and do so in a pleasant way. That informal corporate culture is very much in line with how we operate ourselves.”  

You’re head of sustainability at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners GB, so you must have a thing for the subject yourself. How did that come about? 

“That started early on. When I was about 11 years old, we had a project at school where we had to discuss a topic. Could be about anything. My project was about Chad, a country in Central North Africa with poor living conditions. There was war, poverty, not a pleasant country to live in. Most of my classmates wrote something about their favorite soccer team, or their pet. So, my project deviated quite a bit, haha. But it shows: from a young age, I was concerned with the world and that there is inequality in it. That there are countries with problems, where people’s living conditions are much more difficult than ours. And from an early age I had the will to do something about that. And I still do. I love the fight, the challenge to make the world a better place to leave behind, for everyone. My own values I can now carry out perfectly at a large international company. Because with Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, we can and must make a difference. And TransitionHERO is the ideal partner for doing that.” 

"TransitionHERO shows Coca-Cola Europacific Partners that responsible and profitable production can indeed go hand in hand." 
Sam Jones Head of Climate and Sustainability at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners GB

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