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by Jim Fox, Coca-Cola
03 April 2023
Associate Feature: Getting behind the health and sustainability agenda in East Kilbride

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Associate Feature: Getting behind the health and sustainability agenda in East Kilbride

Uncertainty fuelled by the ongoing cost-of-living crisis continues to impact communities and businesses across Great Britain. As a major global organisation, we recognise our role when it comes to helping supply chain partners, retail and hospitality customers, and shoppers navigate these challenging times.

 We’re proud of the local presence we have here in Scotland, supported by our manufacturing site in East Kilbride. We acknowledge the impact we have on the Scottish economy and are continuing to make important changes where we know we can make a real difference– on areas including health, sustainability and manufacturing innovation.


Prioritising health while giving consumers choice

 Governments are acutely focused on improving the health of the nation. Sugar reduction remains a key talking point on the political agenda, and we’re continuing to work with The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) and other franchisors to evolve our drinks portfolio and offer more no and low sugar options to our customers.

 Coca-Cola’s sugar reduction journey in GB began back in 1982, when we first brought Diet Coke to market, and we’ve continued to expand our offerings from then. Since 2010 we’ve launched 100 new low or no sugar soft drinks and reformulated 47 of our products to contain less sugar. Coca-Cola GB has also removed 52,000 tonnes of sugar from our portfolio since 2010, which represents a 30% reduction of the amount of sugar we contribute to shoppers across GB. Low and no calorie drinks now account for the majority of our sales, increasing by 22% in five years.


Driving sustainability and innovation

 As well as focusing on improving the beverages we produce, we’re staying at the forefront of manufacturing innovations to create more sustainable packaging.

CCEP’s manufacturing site in East Kilbride has played a key role in many of the business’ major sustainability milestones over the years – from kicking off production of our bottles made from 100% recycled plastic across our 500ml range, to leading on the transition from plastic to paper straws for our Capri-Sun pouches.

 Most recently, in May 2022, East Kilbride became the first site to manufacture our brand-new bottles of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Diet Coke and Fanta with attached caps. This means that the lid remains attached to the bottle, preventing it from being discarded separately, which makes it easier to recycle the entire bottle.

 In order to support the drive towards more sustainable packaging, innovating our manufacturing lines is essential. This was certainly true for our milestone switch to attached caps, where alterations to existing lines were implemented to create the tether for the caps and fit them onto the bottles.

 We’re continuing to back efforts at our East Kilbride site by way of ongoing investments into the innovation pipeline. £32million has been invested into the site since 2017 to do exactly that.


Supporting our people

Our business is nothing without the determination and passion of the people behind it. So, investing in our colleagues remains a top priority. One such way we’re investing in our people is through our apprenticeship programmes.

 Our East Kilbride site, which is home to a 239-strong workforce, has been offering apprenticeships and benefitting from apprentices’ skills for over 20 years now. All of our Scottish apprentices have gone on to secure a full-time role with us, with an ever-broader range of roles available today. The success of our apprenticeship programme here makes East Kilbride an excellent example of what can be achieved by investing in new talent.

 Together with our colleagues, partners and customers, we’re doing all we can to create real, positive change in the areas we know we can have an impact. Our site in East Kilbride is driving much of the work needed to deliver sustainable, great tasking drinks – which really signifies how, step by step, we can help to deliver a big impact in Scotland and beyond


This article is sponsored by Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP).

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