Coca-Cola’s ‘Green’ Report Goes Green, Too

Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) has long boasted its efforts at being a “green” company, with initiatives like eco-friendly plant-based bottles, its “living billboard” and vending machines powered by carbon dioxide. And like it has in years past, Coca-Cola has highlighted these efforts in its Sustainability Report.

But unlike every year, Coca-Cola even went green with the eighth edition of the report itself, making its content available exclusively online.

The report, titled Reasons to Believe, also follows Global Reporting Initiative disclosure and reporting requirements for the first time, earning a “B+” grade by those standards and after verification through a third-party agency.

Among some of the highlights from the 2010-11 report:

Our PlantBottle technology, which allows us to replace 100 percent petroleum-based PET plastic with PET plastic that contains up to 30 percent material derived from plants, is becoming more widely used around the world. In 2010, we distributed 2.5 billion PlantBottle packages in 10 major markets, saving more than 60,000 barrels of oil and sequestering the equivalent of nearly 30,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from our PET plastic bottles. By the end of 2011, PlantBottle packaging was available in 20 markets, and nearly 10 billion PlantBottle packages had been shipped.

In 2010, we improved our water use efficiency for the eighth consecutive year, reducing the average amount of water required to produce each beverage serving. As of the end of 2010, we had achieved 93 percent alignment, and by the end of 2011 we estimate 96 percent alignment with our stringent standards.

Also in 2010, our system increased production volume while reducing global carbon emissions by 2 percent, putting us a step closer to our goal of growing our business but not our carbon footprint. We also exceeded our goal of installing 150,000 hydrofluorocarbon (HFC)-free coolers in 2010, for a cumulative total of 277,000 such units by the end of that year. Additionally, we increased that total to 500,000 by the end of 2011.

The company also reported improvements in empowering female entrepreneurs, corporate giving and decreasing calories in its products.

KO shares are up almost 8% in the past 52 weeks, but have lost more than 4% in 2012. The full report can be read here.

— Kyle Woodley, Assistant Editor

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