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by Jim Fox, Coca-Cola
17 October 2022
Associate Feature: How East Kilbride is playing a vital role in driving skills and sustainability in Scotland

Tobias Singh, Technician – Graduate Apprentice, Jordan Briody, Engineering Apprentice, Jennifer Kolonko, Engineering Apprentice, Scott Hanton, Engineering Apprentice, Josh Sloan, Technician – Graduate Apprentice / Credit: CCEP

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Associate Feature: How East Kilbride is playing a vital role in driving skills and sustainability in Scotland

In these turbulent times, with many still adjusting to the post-Covid landscape and the cost-of-living crisis impacting so many, businesses like CCEP have an important role to play. 

At CCEP we continue to work closely with our retail and supply chain partners to help our retail and hospitality customers and shoppers navigate these external headwinds. We’ve been an integral part of the Scottish economy for more than 100 years – and will continue to be as we face into the challenges ahead. 

Committed to sustainability

Despite these challenges we remain firmly focused on the sustainability agenda. CCEP’s manufacturing site in East Kilbride has played a key role in many of the business’ major sustainability milestones over the years and continues to be at the forefront of our sustainable packaging innovations - whether that’s initiating production of our bottles made from 100% recycled plastic across our 500ml range, or leading on the transition from plastic to paper straws for our Capri-Sun pouches. 

Earlier this year, East Kilbride also became the first site to manufacture our brand-new 1.5L plastic bottles of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Diet Coke and Fanta with attached caps. This means that the lid remains attached to the bottle wherever it goes, preventing it from being discarded or thrown away separately. This makes it easier than before to recycle the entire bottle, ensuring that as much plastic as possible is captured and no caps get left behind, to help reduce litter.

Putting health at the forefront of our operations

As a major soft drinks supplier, we also recognise our role in helping the government’s efforts to improve the health of the nation, while continuing to offer consumers choice. 

Coca-Cola’s sugar reduction journey in GB began back in 1982, when we first brought Diet Coke to market. And since 2010 we’ve launched 100 new low or no sugar soft drinks and reformulated 47 of our products to contain less sugar. Since 2015 we have reduced our overall sugar use by 25%[1] and nearly all of our brands offer low or zero sugar variants alongside the originals.

Investing in people and in innovation 

So much of this work to deliver a sustainable portfolio of great tasting drinks to retail customers and to shoppers is taking place right here in Scotland, the East Kilbride site is a fantastic example of how, step by step, we can help to deliver a big impact. 

This has certainly been true for our recent milestone switch to attached caps. We overcame significant technical engineering challenges which wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and determination of all colleagues involved. Our 200-strong workforce at the factory, from our early careers apprentices to our longest-serving colleagues, have demonstrated what can be achieved through collaboration.

And we’ll continue to back these efforts with ongoing investment into the innovation pipeline. We’ve invested £32million into our East Kilbride site since 2017, including in a number of important sustainability projects at the site as part of as part of a wider €250m investment programme launched by the business last year to support our ambition to be net zero by 2040.

And investing in people is key to making these innovations happen – and to unlocking the future pipeline of talent. Our site in East Kilbride has been offering apprenticeships and benefitting from apprentices’ skills for over 20 years now. In fact, 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. 

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. It’s what we’ve always strived to do and how we’ll continue to operate in the months and years ahead.  


Jim Fox is Head of Public Affairs for Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) in Great Britain

This article is sponsored by CCEP

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Read the most recent article written by Jim Fox, Coca-Cola - Associate Feature: Supporting a circular economy in Scotland.

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