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by Jim Fox, Coca-Cola
11 November 2022
Associate Feature: Leading the way to a greener future from East Kilbride

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Associate Feature: Leading the way to a greener future from East Kilbride

The year 2022 hasn’t been without its challenges, and the political landscape has kept us on our toes, to say the least.

Despite the ongoing turbulence, the sustainability agenda has remained front and centre. Net Zero targets are looming, and consumers are increasingly expecting more from businesses and from governments when it comes to taking action - and rightly so.

COP27 is also on the horizon and business leaders from all over the world will soon gather to set out their stall for the year ahead. Ahead of the next Climate Conference, it’s important to reflect on our progress to date to better inform how we 
can move forwards.


Packaging Innovations

As a soft drinks supplier, we recognise the impact of our packaging on our carbon footprint, and it’s been encouraging to see the progress made across the sector when it comes to packaging innovations – particularly over the past 18 months. Right here at CCEP’s manufacturing site in East Kilbride, we’ve led the way on some of the business’ major packaging milestones.

Earlier this year, the site became the first to manufacture our brand-new 1.5L plastic bottles of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Diet Coke and Fanta with attached caps. This move supports CCEP’s mission to help make it easier than ever before to recycle entire bottles and reduce litter, ensuring that as much plastic as possible is captured and that no cap is left behind. The team in East Kilbride also initiated the production of bottles made from 100% recycled plastic across our 500ml range and led the transition from plastic to paper straws for our Capri-Sun pouches.

As a manufacturer, we also recognise the role a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) has to play in improving recycling rates and ultimately helping to protect the environment. It’s why we’re working with Circularity Scotland, the Scottish government and industry partners on a well-designed DRS to help the introduction of the scheme, from August 2023. If properly implemented, it will help deliver significant positive outcomes towards a greener tomorrow.


Investing in the future  

At CCEP we have a range of strategic investments that have been geared towards funding the innovation pipeline to accelerate vital sustainability projects.

We’ve invested £32million into our East Kilbride site since 2017. We’ve also seen a number of important sustainability projects – from packaging innovations to the switch from gas to lithium battery-powered forklift trucks - roll out at the site as part of a wider €250m investment programme launched by the business last year. These investment-backed initiatives are further helping to support our ambition to be net zero by 2040.


Green skills

It’s our people who ultimately get our sustainability ambitions off the ground. We recognise how important it is to invest in talent and equip our colleagues and future generations with necessary skills to help build a greener future. We’re proud of the 200-strong team in East Kilbride – from long serving employees to new apprentices – who have enabled us to bring important innovations like attached caps to our customers and to consumers. 

Our latest cohort of apprentices joined us at our East Kilbride site at the end of September and many of our outgoing apprentices have begun full-time roles with us. 

Jennifer Kolonko, a graduating Engineer apprentice, has now progressed into a role as Senior Technical Operator and has pioneered new and innovative solutions to engineering problems that cut waste and championed diversity within the company. I’m looking forward to seeing our latest intake follow in hers, and others’, footsteps. 

Considering the external pressures faced this year, we’re pleased with the progress we’ve made. But we acknowledge our work is far from over. We have more innovations in the pipeline that we hope to bring to market in the year ahead, as we continue to pave the way to a greener future.


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

This article is sponsored by CCEP.

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