Economic development is important to achieving the goal to end extreme poverty by 2030 — however, it should not be at the expense of the environment.
With plastic pollution making up more than 80% of all litter in the ocean, it has become critical for all corporations that produce packaged products and beverages to put environmental health and sustainable development at the forefront of business strategies; they have to put people and our planet before profits.
Global Citizen partner Coca-Cola Africa, who has been operating in Africa for 90 years, believes in doing business the right way by investing in innovative solutions that go beyond products or profit.
One such example is the company’s vision to create a “World Without Waste” by collecting and recycling the equivalent of every bottle or can it sells globally by 2030.
Leading by example
Coca-Cola Africa is upping its environmental efforts in South Africa and around the continent by committing $38 million — that’s over half a billion rand — over the next three years to stimulate plastic recycling industries across Southern and East Africa.
The company announced the commitment to tens of thousands of Global Citizens at the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 on 2 December at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.
“We acknowledge the potential harm packaging, in particular plastic packaging, can do to the environment," said Maserame Mouyeme, the director for public affairs for Coca-Cola in Southern and East Africa.
“People matter and our planet matters. At Coca-Cola we believe in doing business the right way. To help increase plastic recycling rates across the continent, I’m proud to announce that over the next three years, the Coca-Cola system will be investing $38 million to stimulate plastic recycling industries across Southern and East Africa,” Mouyeme said.
Coca-Cola Africa has a long history of working with communities to promote environmental health, whether it’s through awareness and cleanup campaigns and water conservation programmes that protect and restore water resources.
All initiatives aim to drive The Coca-Cola Company's target of empowering 5 million female entrepreneurs by 2020. The commitment made at the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 will also promote a decent work and economic growth.
“The investment will create more than 19,000 income opportunities for collectors, many of whom will be women,” Mouyeme said.
More than one life
South Africa has some of the highest recycling rates in the world; 65% of all polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and 85% of all Coca-Cola cans are collected and recycled.
“Additionally, today, we are pleased to be announcing our new PET bottle that is made entirely out of previously used plastic bottles. The new Bonaqua 500ml bottle, launching next year, will be made out of 100% recycled PET,” Mouyeme said.
No new plastic will be used in the creation of these bottles, and batches of Bonaqua bottles next year will be made directly from the festival.
The brand had two swop shops at the festival where Global Citizens could exchange their used cups and bottles for products made recycled packaging, including speakers and boomboxes.
“Let’s all do our part together, as Global Citizens, to create Africa Without Waste,” Mouyeme said.