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by Jim Fox, Coca-Cola
25 May 2023
Associate Feature: Supporting a circular economy in Scotland

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Associate Feature: Supporting a circular economy in Scotland

Jim Fox, Head of Public Affairs for Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) in Great Britain, outlines the business’ commitment to sustainability.

These remain challenging times for businesses and communities across Scotland, with the cost of living crisis continuing to significantly impact people’s lives and livelihoods. Against this backdrop, it is understandable that the drive towards creating a more sustainable society may not always be seen as the most pressing issue. However, if we are to effectively tackle the impacts of climate change and Scotland is to achieve its target of net zero emissions by 2045, there must be continuing progress in this area.

As a major global organisation, we at CCEP recognise that we have an important role to play, not just in regard to our own operations, but also in how we work with our retail, supply chain and hospitality partners and how we help the shoppers who purchase our drinks to make sustainable decisions. 

Like many manufacturing companies, we know that packaging is a major contributor to our overall carbon footprint and it’s why we are focused on removing unnecessary packaging and ensuring what we do use is recovered and recycled. 

As part of this we have long supported the introduction of a well-designed Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) across Great Britain as the best way of increasing the recovery and recycling of drinks containers and tackling litter. 

Clearly, the implementation of the Deposit Return Scheme in Scotland has not been without challenges, and we recognise that many stakeholders have concerns about how the scheme will impact businesses and consumers. 

The First Minister’s decision to delay the introduction of DRS until March 2024 is therefore an important change which provides more time for these concerns to be addressed. Introducing exemptions for products with low sales volumes and simplifying the exemption process for retailers and hospitality will help to allay some of the concerns of small businesses in particular, and we remain fully committed to working with government, the scheme administrator Circularity Scotland and all other stakeholders to ensure that DRS in Scotland is as successful and effective as possible. 

Also crucial is ensuring maximum alignment between schemes across the UK. We know there will be differences in the materials that are included and the timescales for launch. Schemes in Wales and Scotland will include glass and “go-live” outside of Scotland is expected in 2025. In light of these differences, we’re working with all parties to ensure that the schemes are fully interoperable. This is not just about minimising cost and complexity for businesses of all sizes, but also about making sure that the consumer experience of DRS is as straightforward as possible and that we see the improvement in recycling rates we know are possible.  

As a business we’re always looking for ways to operate more sustainably, and our East Kilbride manufacturing site has long been at the forefront of these efforts. East Kilbride was our first site to produce bottles made from 100% recycled plastic across our 500ml range and led on the transition from plastic to paper straws for our Capri-Sun pouches.

Last year it also 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, which makes it easier to recycle the entire bottle, and reduces litter. 

We were the first major manufacturer to make this change, which required significant innovation and investment across our manufacturing lines. We’ve invested £32 million into our East Kilbride site since 2017 including in several important sustainability projects as part of a wider €250m investment programme to support our Science Based Targets goal to reach Net Zero by 2040.

Sustainability sits at the heart of our long-term business strategy and always will. We know that as a business we can have real and positive impact on society and the world around us, and we’ll continue to work with our customers, our partners and all our stakeholders to achieve this.

This article is sponsored by Coca-Cola Europacific Partners

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Read the most recent article written by Jim Fox, Coca-Cola - Associate Feature: Paving the way to a more sustainable future.

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