New Frontiers
Muhtar Kent, The Coca-Cola Company

In Churchill, Manitoba, Canada  – the polar bear capital of the world – Muhtar Kent traveled with Coca-Cola’s global conservation partner, World Wildlife Fund, to learn about the impact of climate change.

Live Positively

Editors’ Note

In 1978, Muhtar Kent joined The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta. In 1985, he was appointed General Manager of Coca-Cola Turkey and Central Asia. From 1989 to 1995, he served as President of the Company’s East Central Europe Division and Senior Vice President of Coca-Cola International. Between 1995 and 1998, he served as Managing Director of Coca-Cola Amatil-Europe. From 1999 until his return to The Coca-Cola Company in May 2005, Kent served as President and CEO of the Efes Beverage Group, the majority shareholder of Turkish bottler Coca-Cola Icecek. Kent also served as a board member of Coca-Cola Icecek. He was named President and Chief Operating Officer of The Coca-Cola Company’s North Asia, Eurasia and Middle East Group from 2005 until early 2006, and served as President of Coca-Cola International through most of 2006 until his appointment as President and Chief Operating Officer of The Coca-Cola Company. He became Chief Executive Officer on July 1, 2008 and Chairman of the Board of Directors on April 23, 2009. Kent holds a bachelor of science degree in economics from Hull University, England, and a master of science degree in administrative sciences from London City University.

Company Brief

Led by Coca-Cola®, The Coca-Cola Company (www.thecoca-colacompany.com) is the world’s largest beverage company with more than 500 sparkling and still brands including Diet Coke®, Fanta®, Sprite®, Coca-Cola Zero®, vitaminwater®, Powerade®, Minute Maid®, Simply®, and Georgia®. Consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the company’s beverages at a rate of 1.7 billion servings a day.

How do you define the LIVE POSITIVELY™ focus at Coca-Cola and what are the key components of LIVE POSITIVELY?

Every enterprise is linked to the well-being and prosperity of each community in which it lives and serves. We’ve always known that we cannot have a healthy, growing business unless our communities are strong and sustainable.

LIVE POSITIVELY is built on our commitment to making a positive difference in the world. LIVE POSITIVELY is embedded within our entire business at every level. We launched LIVE POSITIVELY three years ago with the understanding that we would focus our energy and efforts in the areas where our business has the opportunity to make the greatest contribution to communities worldwide and create value for our company. So, we reevaluated our programs and we narrowed our focus. We now have four sustainability pillars: water, packaging, climate change and community.

Is it important that your CSR programs align with Coca-Cola’s business strategy?

Absolutely. LIVE POSITIVELY is an integral component of our 2020 Vision – our roadmap for winning together with our bottling partners – and is a part of our business planning process. The only way we will meet and exceed the goals and growth targets outlined in our 2020 Vision is by creating and enhancing a best in class sustainable business. We recognize the need to create innovative new products, packaging and systems; strengthen the world’s most advanced supply chain; enhance our presence in communities and manage our impact on the world’s natural resources. We also need to manage the issues we face, including the growing concerns over obesity and malnutrition, and continue to take a leadership role in developing programs and partnerships that are part of the solution.

How do you evaluate/measure the success of your efforts?

Each year, we publish a Sustainability Review where we track our performance in areas like product innovation and safety, water-use ratio, energy efficiency and climate protection, sustainable agriculture, packaging efficiency and packaging recovery, workplace rights, and community impact.

Iconic projects are also important for moving in the right direction. Two recent examples of our sustainability advancement are our new PlantBottle™ packaging and our “5 BY 20” initiative.

We launched PlantBottle packaging in certain markets with Coca-Cola and Dasani brands in 2009. The technology reduces our use of petroleum-based materials in our PET packaging by up to 30 percent and is the first PET plastic beverage bottle made from renewable resources that can be recycled in the existing recycling infrastructure. We will continue to invest in PlantBottle packaging and introduce it to new markets and beverages in the coming years. Currently, PlantBottle can be found in nine global markets, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Japan, Brazil, and Chile.

PlantBottle is revolutionizing plastic and we recently announced a partnership with Heinz that I believe is paving the way for industry-wide collaboration. Through our partnership, Heinz will produce its ketchup bottles using our PlantBottle packaging, starting in the U.S. then expanding globally. It is a great example of how businesses are working together to advance smart technologies that make a difference to our consumers and the planet.

In September 2010, we announced “5 BY 20,” which is our commitment to empower five million women inside and outside the Coca-Cola system by 2020 to support their growth, innovation, education, and prosperity. I am confident this initiative will strengthen economic opportunities for women in the communities we serve and help us grow our business in markets around the world. I am personally championing this initiative.

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

Approximately 700,000 associates create the Coca-Cola system. Each associate brings his or her unique talents and ideas to work every day to help the Coca-Cola system achieve the goals outlined in our 2020 Vision, including our sustainability goals. A good example is our involvement with the Ocean Conservancy, the International Coastal Cleanup in charge of the world’s largest single-day volunteer effort to remove millions of pounds of litter and debris from the world’s beaches and other land surrounding waterways. In 2010, 26,000 Coca-Cola system associates volunteered 203,000 hours to support the global effort in 175 locations across 40 countries and The Coca-Cola Foundation pledged $1 million to the cause.

How critical has it been to maintain your philanthropic efforts during the past 24 months with the global economic crisis?

An important part of developing healthy, strong, and sustainable communities is to be ready with support and assistance when a community needs help.

We are committed to giving back at least 1 percent of our operating income each year to help develop and sustain communities around the world. But financial contributions are only one of the ways we make a contribution. Other ways include product donations and investing our time, expertise, and resources through volunteerism. In 2010, the charitable contributions made by our company and The Coca-Cola Foundation totaled $98 million.

Our company and our global philanthropic arm, The Coca-Cola Foundation, funded by our company, work with our bottling partners, local organizations, governments, and NGOs to support projects most relevant to community needs. The programs through which we are making a unique and sustainable difference include water stewardship, community recycling programs, active healthy living, education, and local community initiatives.