January 14, 2009

Green Coca~Cola?

Illustration: Marc Simon.

I love it when big business views ‘green’ not as ‘greenwashing’—as a consmetic marketing effort—but as a concrete series of operational changes that can actually save them some, yeah, green.

Here’s the story:


Coca-Cola Enterprises has announced that they’re almost done with a significant part of their overall corporate sustainability project. Over the past several months, the company has been working on a major lighting retrofit of its California facilities, including a large production facility in Downey, C…savings of 5.6 million kilowatt-hours annually.

…savings of 113 million kilowatt-hours over the 20-year life of the system. With that amount of energy, California could power 537 average homes every year. That’s equivalent to planting a 1,038-acre forest or saving almost half a million gallon of gasoline every year. Coca-Cola achieved these results by replacing over 4,000 lights with a new high-intensity fluorescent system from Orion Energy Systems at 24 locations. They also installed solar panels on the roof of its Los Angeles facility.

Coca-Cola’s CSO John Brock has announced a number of new sustainability plans, including a fleet of large-scale, hybrid electric trucks, pushing new recycling programs (which have been shown to be working), and adding energy-efficient coolers to reduce carbon footprint.

Other beverage companies have also joined the effort to go green

…click here for the whole story. And here’s another story, along the same lines. Excerpt:

Last month Sapna posted a blog which ended with the question, “How important is the [green] label to what you purchase?” I’d like to follow that up with another question; As a Coke shareholder would you rather Coke spend their (and your) money on this green campaign or on initiatives that more directly improve the bottom line? Sure, this campaign may increase revenue eventually, but isn’t the eco-friendly concept too played out for Coke to get much ROI from this campaign?

Regardless of the outcome, the bottom line is that companies that begin painting their brand green need to insure that they actually follow through on this commitment and it is not simply lip service. It appears that Coke really intends to be the social “good guy”, but it may take consistent effort and action to convince skeptical consumers and green advocates that they truly have a green thumb. 


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