In December, I was fortunate enough to attend a very informative day at the Coca-Cola Bottling Plant in Brampton, Ontario where they were hosting a Conversations with Coca-Cola Blogger Conference day. It was a full day’s line up of speakers on a variety of topics, informing bloggers about the company and their community involvement. I have to say I came away extremely impressed.
The day began with President Nicola Kottlitz sharing a bit of the history of the company as well as their mission statement with us. This mission statement was something we would see evidence of throughout the day. From the moment you walk through the door of the bottling plant and see the toy and food drives that are taking place, you know that this is a company that stands behind their mission and truly lives it right within their own community.
What struck me first and foremost was that Coca-Cola is committed to promoting well-being. This may seem odd given the fact that they sell soft drinks but they recognize that these are products that should be used in moderation. They have set goals for helping to promote well being in the form of four commitments as shown above. This includes having a variety of products to fit differing needs such as low-calorie products, to be up front with the nutrition information by printing it clearly on their products (calorie counts on cans and bottles, for example), being responsible in the way they market their products by targeting an audience who is over the age of 12, and through a partnership with Participaction to encourage an active lifestyle.
Coca-Cola’s partnership with Participaction focuses on promoting physical activity among Canadian youth. Only 5% of Canadian kids get enough physical activity each day, 62% of their day is sedentary and on average, they are spending 8 hours per day looking at some type of screen (computer, game system, television). The Participaction Teen Challenge, in partnership with Coca-Cola, is geared towards getting teens to inspire and motivate other teens. Teens are provided with information and resources so that they can come up with proposals for the types of activity programs they’d like to start in their communities. Through Participaction and Coca-Cola, 2200 grants and $3.5 million dollars have been given out for these programs.
Another way in which Coca-Cola strives to take an active part in the community and promote well being is through environmental issues. They realize that as one of the largest companies in the world, their eco-footprint has a big impact and as such, they bear a responsibility to reduce and improve it. Currently, 93% of waste from the Brampton bottling plant is recycled. At the plant in Winnipeg, it’s almost at 100%. When Greenpeace reached out to Coca-Cola about the effect the HFCs in their cooling equipment was having on the environment, the company invited them into a conversation about it. They worked together with Greenpeace to learn all they could about it and made a commitment to HFC-free coolers and equipment by 2015.
The World Wildlife Fund in Canada receives less than 3% of its funding from the government. Its relationship with Coca-Cola is essential in being able to make a difference for our environment. Leading up to 2011, Coca-Cola donated over $1 million to the WWF for their Arctic efforts and since that time, the company has pledged another $2 million over 5 years, adding another $1 million in 2012 to go specifically towards polar bear conservation. Money donated to WWF’s Arctic fund will be matched dollar-for-dollar by Coca-Cola Canada until March 15, 2014 to a maximum of one million dollars. You can see the full extent of the Coca-Cola/WWF partnership here.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect of my day with Coca-Cola but I learned so much and was very inspired by the experience. Thanks so much to Amanda for giving me the opportunity to attend this event and share this information with you. I’d love for you to come visit me over at Creative Cynchronicity – a blog about living a creative life and celebrating every day through cooking, crafts, family fun, and more and Gagen Girls – a blog with my daughter Samantha offering mother-daughter perspectives on a variety of topics.