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Action on Climate: ambition, reduction, collaboration

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Joe Franses, VP Sustainability

09/12/2020

Over the last decade, Coca-Cola European Partners has been on a carbon reduction journey. We’ve made good progress, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across our entire value chain by 30.5% over the last decade. 

Five years ago – just before COP21 in Paris – we became one of the first ten companies to actively align our GHG emissions reduction targets with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). Our objective at the time was to work within the then-advised target of 2C above pre-industrial levels.

Three years later, in 2018,the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a Special Report in which it made clear that carbon reduction targets needed to be more ambitious - aligned with a 1.5-degree reduction pathway. Alongside this, efforts to drive down carbon emissions needed to kick in sooner and take effect faster.

Over the ensuing two years CCEP has built its roadmap to Net Zero. During this time, there has been a fundamental shift in the approach and mindset of businesses and policy makers across the EU. The scale of the challenge has become broadly understood. Industry leaders are laying out decarbonisation strategies while calling on policymakers to set out clear frameworks for investment and innovation in low carbon solutions and incentives. Collaborative progress will be critical over the next ten years and beyond to drive a sustainable transition to a zero-carbon future.

What is increasingly clear is this: science-based carbon reduction targets make business sense. Investors are now factoring long-term sustainability targets into their decision-making, supported by frameworks to help companies disclose their climate-related risks. Those businesses that account for environmental risk and climate related strategies in their long-term plans will be prioritised by potential investors over those that do not.

CCEP has raised its own carbon reduction ambitions. Our new Action on Climate plan has been developed with a bold vision in mind: to reach Net Zero emissions across our entire value chain by 2040. We will do this by balancing the long-term environmental impact of our activities with the need for urgent action across all areas of our value chain.

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Our emissions, our responsibility

Underpinning our 2040 Net Zero vision is a commitment to cut GHG emissions across our value chain by 30% by 2030, reducing not only our own emissions, but those from our entire supply chain.

Addressing these - our Scope 3 emissions - is vital. With over 90% of our emissions linked to our supply chain, it is here that our biggest impacts occur. As an industry leader with a vast supply chain network, we recognise the responsibility we bear to take action.

At CCEP, we will need to make fundamental changes to the way we operate. Industry-wide innovation, too, will be vitally important: we will need new technologies to accelerate the decarbonisation of our business and achieve our long-term ambition.

We are already undertaking major change across key areas of our supply chain, supported by a €250 million investment across three years. In Packaging, for example, we are investing in innovation to help us use less packaging and increase our use of recycled materials.

This includes accelerating dispensed delivery models as a key strategic route towards eliminating packaging waste and reducing GHG emissions, while still providing consumers with the convenience, choice and experience they expect from drinking Coca-Cola beverages. It includes investment in new depolymerisation recycling technologies that can help us eliminate virgin plastic by recycling plastic which was previously hard to recycle. It also includes a significant acceleration towards a circular economy for our PET bottles – with three of our markets completing the transition to 100% recycled plastic for all their locally produced bottles.  

Driving effective and meaningful long-term change is what we are setting out to achieve in our Action on Climate Plan. That’s why we have committed to a “reduction-first” guiding principle, prioritising the reduction of GHG emissions as far as we possibly can. Verified carbon offsetting projects and carbon removal mechanisms will be required – but they will only be used when there is simply no alternative available. Of course, we will continue to assess our impact and invest in solutions that can help us - and the wider industry - continue on the road to decarbonisation.

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Bold action, big targets, transformed business

We cannot do this alone. Every one of our 15,000 suppliers are being urged to join us on our Net Zero journey. We are committed to working with them collaboratively, whilst advocating for policymakers and the wider industry to step up their support for Net Zero ambitions. The time for action is now.

Bold ambition, big targets and a steady focus underpin our Net Zero ambition. Thanks to a rapidly growing body of support for carbon reduction initiatives, our Net Zero vision looks increasingly achievable. CCEP is committed to playing its part over the decade ahead, and will continue to work collaboratively on this vital journey towards a better, shared future.

The years ahead will be hugely exciting but also challenging as we navigate our way to net zero. However, the transition to net zero isn’t just about building climate resilience into our existing operations. It is about fundamentally transforming the way we do business.