The coronavirus has created new and significant challenges for governments, health systems, communities, businesses and individuals. It has radically changed the way we live and work in the short term, and will have a profound long term effect on society. During this difficult time, I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who is working so hard to keep us safe.
This morning we published our trading update for Q1 2020 – you can see it here. We also took the opportunity to set out our company’s response to the crisis. We took swift action during the crisis providing relief to the communities we work with. We are also preparing for how we enable recovery.
We can accelerate our planning based on the global consumer insights and experience of our brand partners like The Coca-Cola Company. Our priority in all of these decisions has been protecting the health and wellbeing of our employees.
We’ve also taken a number of steps to support our customers, our communities and preserve the long-term future of the business.
1. Looking after employees
- Everyone who can work from home is doing so
- For colleagues in supply chain and field sales, we’ve introduced hygiene and social distancing measures to keep them safe
- All employees have access to 24/7 support to protect their mental health during coronavirus
2. Serving customers
- Continue to make products to help retailers keep their shelves stocked with the brands people want to buy. Reduce the number of different products and packs we make – focusing on the most in-demand ones – to make it simpler for retailers, big and small
- Redirecting field sales colleagues from supporting bars and restaurants - many of which are now closed - to grocery customers
- Joining initiatives to support restaurants that remain open for takeaway or delivery services and developing plans to help bars and restaurants recover once they can re-open
3. Supporting communities
- We’re donating products to foodbanks, medical workers and key workers and giving access to our logistics and transportation resources for relief work – so far we’ve donated over 416,000 cases
- Working closely with The Coca-Cola Company to support local communities with substantial financial aid through the Red Cross and other local NGOs
- Encouraging employees in volunteer where it is safe to do so
In addition to all these measures, we’re taking sensible actions to conserve cash where it will not affect our ability to serve our customers. This includes pausing our share buyback scheme, delaying capital expenditure where possible and reducing spend in areas like marketing and promotions.
As we noted in our trading update, we saw good momentum in the first quarter, before the crisis took hold in the countries where we operate. We are confident in the future of our business, and we are committed to helping society rebuild and recover, creating sustainable value and a better future for people and the planet.
-- Nik Jhangiani, Chief Financial Officer at Coca-Cola European Partners