Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE:KO) is one of the most innovative companies on the planet. To hear some tell it, Coke is responsible for the proliferation of the six pack to sell soda and even the image of the modern Santa Claus as we know it, based on yearly holiday ad campaigns.
That spirit of innovation lives on in green business practices and environmentally friendly products for the 21st century. But while Coca Cola certainly does plenty of things to decrease its carbon footprint, none is more spectacular than a 3,600 square-foot living billboard.
Made from recycled bottles and thousands of tea plants, the billboard takes Coke’s green streak to another level.
In partnership with the World Wildlife Federation, 23 Coca-Cola unveiled this living billboard on June 23 in the capital of the Philippines. Measuring 60 feet by 60 feet, this Manila billboard is made of tea plants that are arranged to form the world-famous curves of a Coke bottle. The thousands of plants grow in organic fertilizer contained in pots that were once bottles. The billboard reads, “This billboard absorbs air pollutants,” a nod to the fact that the Fukien tea plants breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen.
According to AdWeek, the billboard is growing all the time – and will eventually be able to suck out a total of 46,800 pounds of carbon dioxide from the city’s air each year.
This is certainly an eye-catching campaign, and will grab attention like few billboards could. But it’s also part of a recent effort from Coke to make itself more eco-friendly.
Last year, the company launched low-emission Coke vending machines, meant to reduce greenhouse gasses created by the machines keeping drinks cool constantly. It also rolled out a plant-based polymer that cut petroleum use in its plastic bottles. The company has also worked on sustainable water practices at its beverage plants to use less H2O.
Sound like a lot of tree-hugging fluff? Well, business insiders know that going green is as much about the bottom line as it is about the company’s image. Sustainable water practices are as ways to become more efficient, using less water and paying less as a result. Plant-based bottles reduce dependency on oil – and these days, that could wind up being a profitable move for Coca-Cola. In short, going green can make big corporations plenty of green in the process.
Consider the massive Manila billboard. The fact that reports about the crazy structure are branching across cyberspace is proof positive that Coke got what it wanted – publicity that would cause a splash.
Other businesses would do well to take note of Coca-Cola’s eco-friendly focus. Because while all of these clever efforts are good for the environment, they are also going to be very good for Coke’s bottom line.