Coca-Cola European Partners 2017 Stakeholder Progress Report

JoeFrances CocaCola


Yesterday, Coca-Cola European Partners launched its latest Stakeholder Progress Report, outlining key achievements on its sustainability journey in 2017.
The report comes six months following the launch of This is Forward, CCEP’s joint sustainability action plan with The Coca-Cola Company in Western Europe that sets out commitments across six areas including drinks, packaging, and society – to be met by 2025.

Joe Franses, VP of Sustainability at CCEP, reflected on the progress made in 2017 and since the launch of This is Forward, and also shared what it takes to develop a sustainability action plan. Watch the video hereand read the six guiding principles that were followed to build This is Forward:

Look at your core business and know what people expect from you

Firstly, it’s vital to identify the issues that are most important to your business and your industry. We set out to understand all of the issues our key stakeholders, local communities, customers and suppliers wanted to hear back from us on and This is Forward, was our response to their expectations. Looking holistically at the size and scale of the challenges you face will help to determine where to focus energy and attention. Consider the positive and negative impacts that your business, products or services have on the communities in which you operate and the environment. Understand the investment available and where you can make the biggest impact. And be ambitious about what you can achieve. 

Look outside your own four walls

Far too many sustainability initiatives simply focus on what a business can do within its own operations. For us, it was critical to look at what could be achieved both within our own core business (i.e. our factories) but also across our entire value chain – including the packaging and ingredients we use to make our products. This ‘value chain’ approach sits at the heart of This is Forward and requires a broad, holistic view about the role that our business, brands and supply chain play in society.  A narrow focus on your own ‘four walls’ should be considered as a minimum requirement. However, no organisation exists in isolation, so a value chain focus is strongly recommended.

Align with Science

Discussions with stakeholders and sustainability experts have helped us to build a detailed understanding of the significant challenges our society and environment is facing. They have helped us to understand the scale of challenges like climate change and water scarcity, and ensure that the actions we are taking are aligned with the expectations of climate science. At the same time, we’ve found it important to link our strategy with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which provide a global sustainable development roadmap. Sustainability is bigger than any one single organisation, so by acting together, by collaborating towards a shared goal, we have the opportunity to make a significant difference.

Vision Drives Innovation

From the outset we’ve tried to set a clear vision that translates through to our actions and commitments. Targets and commitments should be ambitious and forward-looking and your own organisation must be comfortable in setting targets that at first appear a considerable stretch.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. In our experience, it focuses the mind, acts as a stimulus for internal innovation and triggers new ways of thinking.

Live and Breathe the Plan

Delivery of our sustainability action plan is not the responsibility of one group of individuals or team. Instead, responsibility is spread across a variety of functions and teams. We spent considerable time launching This is Forward internally, ensuring that everyone understood just how much of a step change this would be for our business. A sustainability plan should be accessible, easy to understand and simple to cascade through your business. It has been important to ask people to identify what they can do to help deliver against our targets and we’ve found this to be a great way to generate ideas. Remember, employees are your strongest ambassadors, so help them to support, get involved and feel proud of what you are doing.

Measure and Report

Quantifiable, measurable, time-bound targets should be at the heart of a strong sustainability action plan, especially if you want to deliver meaningful change. And having the systems and tools in place to track and report performance is a critical part of the process. Not only will this help you to understand if you’re on-track, it also creates internal and external visibility on your progress and leadership on topics where you are underperforming. Don’t forget, any sustainability plan needs to evolve, so keeping a careful eye on performance will enable you to review and change your plan if you think there are new ways to deliver it – or if you feel you can stretch your targets even further.

Read the full Stakeholder Progress Report on CCEP’s website

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