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How Coca-Cola HBC tackles beverage sustainability challenges

November 26, 2023

Sustainability is a challenge for Coca-Cola HBC, but the business is committed to measuring the impact of growth

How does a global organisation like The Coca-Cola Company facilitate sustainability on such a large scale?

The business touts great drive towards a more environmentally friendly and socially acceptable supply chain with a focus on packaging, emissions reduction, electrification, and inclusivity. This relies on the support of its Hellenic Bottling Company (Coca-Cola HBC), which—based in Steinhausen, Switzerland—produces a sales volume in the billions.

This arm of the business is responsible for bottling and packaging Coca-Cola beverages, but has historically faced the challenges of the wider business—reduction in waste on a consumer and corporate level, as well as its own emissions and energy consumption. The company prides itself on implementing sustainability across every facet of the business and Coca-Cola HBC is no exception.

Q3 2023 at Coca-Cola HBC
Here’s a snapshot of Coca-Cola HBC’s Q3 2023 progress from a commercial perspective:

  • Organic revenue growth: The company reported a 15.3% increase in organic revenue, with year-to-date growth reaching 17.0%.
  • Volume Growth in Strategic Categories: Organic volume growth was 2.2%, led by Sparkling (+1.5%), Energy (+24.8%), and Coffee (+33.5%).
  • Revenue per case: There was a 12.9% growth in organic revenue per case, a result of comprehensive revenue growth management initiatives.
  • Regional performance: Strong performance was noted across different segments, with organic revenue growth of 7.7% in established markets, 15.9% in developing markets, and a notable 21.8% in emerging markets, especially in Egypt.
  • Continued focus on sustainability and innovation: The company is investing in sustainable practices, including an alternative to plastic shrink film in Austria and recycled PET capabilities in Romania.
  • Positive outlook: Despite ongoing macroeconomic uncertainties, Coca-Cola HBC is optimistic about continuing strong growth in 2023 and achieving its medium-term targets​

“We’re pleased to have delivered another solid performance, and a second consecutive quarter of organic volume growth. This was driven by our strong execution, underpinned by a continued focus on our strategic priority categories of Sparkling, Energy and Coffee, as well as our focus on bespoke capability development to drive personalised execution for every outlet. Our sophisticated revenue growth management, powered by data, insights and analytics, is helping us to adapt our initiatives and execution to different consumer environments and successfully balance affordability and premiumisation. As a result, we have both enhanced revenue per case and driven higher levels of market share,” says CEO Zoran Bogdanović.

ESG at the heart of Coca-Cola HBC’s sustainability strategy
How exactly will this be achieved?

The company has said for many years that it wants to eliminate plastic from the production and distribution of its goods, yet there have been some concerns about its approach, which is said to have increased in plastic over recent years.

Most recently though, Coca-Cola has been undergoing research into alternative packaging methods, such as paper-based bottles and recycled plastics. This is part of the company’s Mission 2025, which is Coca-Cola HBC’s overarching strategy for reducing emissions through the installation of new energy technologies, the reduction of water in production and stewardship across hard-to-reach areas, waste management in the plastic bottle life cycle, as well as sourcing and other social implications. In order to meet this demanding commitment, the company measures its environmental, social and governance (ESG) to determine its successful adoption of various initiatives.

The long-term success of its ESG management strategy hinges on short-term and long-term reporting, which also includes measurement of the CEO’s individual performance in key areas of business strategy, such as ESG benchmarks, which are implemented into the overall plan.

By Tom Swallow


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