How To Make A Difference

Rick Frazier

A Culture of Sustainability

Editors’ Note

Prior to assuming his current post, from November 2005 through October 2008, Rick Frazier served as Senior Vice President, Technical Stewardship. Before joining the company as Vice President of Global Quality and Chief Quality Officer in 2004, Frazier held a number of supply chain and quality leadership positions for Coca-Cola Enterprises, the Gatorade Division of the Quaker Oats Company, and with the Pillsbury Company. He started his career at the Continental Grain Company managing grain facilities and trading commodities. He is a member of The Executive Leadership Council, Link Unlimited, 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Inc., International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IAMA), and is a board member of the Executive Leadership Foundation, and a Board Trustee of The Keystone Center. Frazier earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Company Brief

As the world’s largest beverage company, The Coca-Cola Company (www.thecoca-colacompany.com) offers consumers nearly 500 sparkling and still brands. Along with Coca-Cola®, the company’s portfolio includes 14 other billion dollar brands, including Diet Coke®, Fanta®, Sprite®, Coca-Cola Zero®, vitaminwater, POWERADE®, Minute Maid® and Georgia® Coffee. Globally, it is the number one provider of sparkling beverages, juices, and juice drinks and ready-to-drink teas and coffees. Through the world’s largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the company’s beverages at a rate of nearly 1.6 billion servings a day.

Would you highlight the importance of social responsibility and community involvement to the culture of Coca-Cola?

In the midst of the global financial downturn, the economic, environmental, and social implications of business are more important than ever. There is no question that the world is undergoing a massive resetting of priorities, values, and expectations. The Coca-Cola Company brands are among the world’s most recognized and valued. The strength and sustainability of our brands are directly related to our social license to operate, which we must earn daily by keeping our promises to our customers, consumers, associates, investors, communities, and partners. It is an honor, and a responsibility that we take very seriously. As the world’s largest beverage company conducting business in more than 200 countries, Coca-Cola has roots in communities around the world. We’re an employer, a business partner, and a part of thousands of local communities. What we’ve found is that our business is only healthy and growing when the communities we depend upon are healthy and sustainable.

We’re working to build a culture of sustainability and social responsibility throughout the Coca-Cola system. By focusing on beverage benefits, active healthy living, water stewardship, sustainable packaging, and climate protection, we are working to drive business growth while creating a more sustainable world.

What are some of the major sustainability programs that Coca-Cola supports?

Water is the main ingredient in nearly every beverage that we make, and without access to a safe water supply, our business cannot exist. Today, much of the world is facing freshwater stress and scarcity. Climate change will only make water challenges worse, with increased droughts, coastal flooding, and more severe storms.

At The Coca-Cola Company, we’ve set an ambitious global goal to return to nature and communities an amount of water equal to what we use in our beverages and their production. We’re striving to use water more efficiently in our operations, recycling water used in our manufacturing processes so it can be returned safely to the environment, and supporting initiatives that protect water resources and help bring safe water and sanitation to communities in need. Our aim is to establish a truly water-sustainable business on a global scale.

Far too often, once emptied, our packaging is considered waste. We’re working to change perceptions of used packaging from waste to a valuable resource for future use. We’re developing packaging designs that use fewer materials, investing in technologies and recovery systems that enable us to use more recycled materials, and innovating new packages made from renewable materials, like our new PlantBottle packaging made with up to 30 percent plant-based materials.

Are you focused on collaborating/partnering in your sustainability programs, and would you highlight some of these relationships?

Yes. The challenges facing the world today are too urgent and complex for any business, government, or NGO to solve alone. That’s why we are collaborating with others to develop better solutions and build strong, sustainable communities.

One example is a partnership we began in 2007 with World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The partnership was launched with a shared belief that solutions to today’s global challenges, like water stress and climate change, require collective action.

How do you engage employees in Coca-Cola’s social responsibility efforts?

LIVE POSITIVELY™ is our system-wide commitment to making a positive difference in the world by redesigning the way we work and live so that sustainability is an integral part of how we operate and how our associates live their own personal lives. LIVE POSITIVELY™ recognizes that the world is more interconnected than ever before, requiring more collaboration and partnership. It reminds our company and associates that we must act with an eye toward future generations, driving business growth as we help to create a sustainable world.

What are your key priorities for Coca-Cola in regard to your sustainability efforts going forward?

Current and anticipated global changes present us with a unique opportunity to significantly strengthen our business for the long term, which is why the Coca-Cola system has created 2020 Vision: Our Roadmap for Winning Together with Our Bottling Partners. This action plan – produced based on collective input from bottlers, associates, and other key stakeholders over the past year – restates our goals for global leadership in sustainable water use and industry leadership in sustainable packaging and climate protection, and turns these goals into clear priorities and actions for the entire Coca-Cola system. Our lean and green wins will accelerate as we go, advancing our planet goals and allowing us to be faster, lower cost, and more agile.

As we have demonstrated for more than 120 years, The Coca-Cola Company and our bottling partners place a very high priority on sustainability, and we are constantly innovating to make our business environmentally and economically beneficial to the communities we serve.