LAGOS — Soft drinks giant Coca-Cola through its Africa operating unit last Thursday launched its new Africa-focused sustainability platform called Jamii.
The launch of Jamii represents its regional environmental, social and governance strategy, which is anchored on plans to preserve water, manage waste and empower women and youth economically.
“Whether it is giving people access to safe drinking water, creating economic opportunities for people in dire need of it, or reducing the impact of our operations on the environment — we are committed to making that difference,” Coca-Cola company’s Africa president Bruno Pietracci said in a statement.
“This is a total refresh of what we’ve done but a lot of it is building on the capabilities and achievements, success that we’ve had in the past,” vice president for public affairs, communication and sustainability Patricia Obozuwa said.
With water being the global beverages brand’s lifeline, it has become imperative for it to find ways to preserve this natural resource. This is especially necessary in African continent, which is a water-scarce continent.
Acknowledging the important role water plays for its business and for the development of the continent, the group’s AOU division has committed itself to replenishing 100 percent of the volume of water it uses to manufacture its beverages.
To date the group reported that together with its partners Coca-Cola Africa, the Coca-Cola Foundation and others it has provided sustainable access to drinking water for over six million people through its Replenish Africa Initiative.
To build on this success, the company looks to continue to find more efficient methods of water usage such as recycling or reusing water in markets where its technologies allow in order to ensure more sustainable growth.
It further committed to the preservation of natural water resources on the continent and to improve its supporting communities’ access to water.
“Very important for Africa’s security as well is to preserve the natural resources of water that we and the communities that we serve are using, so we are accelerating our efforts under conservation of natural water resources,” the company’s director of programmes implementation and partnerships management Dorcas Onyango said.
The second core strategy of the company’s sustainability plan is focused on creating a world without waste.
Coca-Cola has committed to not only using 50 percent recycled material in its packaging but also to collecting and recycling the equivalent of 100 percent of the bottles or cans sold by 2030.
“Clearly, the world has a packaging problem and being the world’s biggest beverage company, we have a responsibility to help solve it,” Obozuwa said.
Geared towards creating an inclusive economy, Jamii will focus on catalysing job creation by supporting women and youth in entrepreneurship.
“Women have been proven to be key to the success and flourishment of any society, so if we don’t support the women to earn a living from their skills, we are doing a great disservice for the progress that we could make in Africa where economic inclusion is concerned,” Obozuwa said.
“Over the years we have worked with over 2,5 million people in Africa to ensure that they have economic opportunities.
“We will be expanding this effort to our youth as well, they are the future of this continent and to us as a business the future of our business as well,” Onyango added.
Pepsi on a similar route
Coca-Cola’s biggest competitor PepsiCo — owner of Pepsi, Lays and Doritos — has also taken a strong stance on sustainably, much like many other big corporates.
In September 2021 the Coca-Cola rival launched its Pep+ (Pep positive) sustainability transformation plan aimed at creating growth and value within planet friendly boundaries.
The Pep+ sustainability strategy is anchored on three positive goals such as:
Creating a positive agricultureenvironment that is focused on spreading regenerative agricultural practices and ploughing back into agricultural communities.
Building an inclusive value chain by reaching net-zero emissions by 2040, net water positive by 2030 — which includes using less than 11 billion litres of water a year — and introducing more sustainable packaging into its value chain.
Inspiring people through brands to make better environmentally aware choices by incorporating a diverse selection of ingredients in new and existing products.