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Even in times of crisis, the Coca-Cola System in Bulgaria meets its sustainable development goals

Author Coca-Cola
Even in times of crisis, the Coca-Cola System in Bulgaria meets its sustainable development goals Photo: Coca-Cola

In 2021, the Coca-Cola system in Bulgaria purchased goods and services worth over BGN 131 million from Bulgarian suppliers. This is another proof of the company's support for the Bulgarian economy. Economic impact of the System from the past year in the country is expressed in value added of BGN 640 million. Apart from the direct contribution, every 1 job in the System maintains 4 external jobs, and every BGN 1 spent on Coca-Cola drinks leads to BGN 0.75 of income for Bulgaria. These are just some of the highlights in the Corporate Social Responsibility Report of the Coca-Cola System in Bulgaria for 2020-2021.

In a time of unprecedented economic hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Coca-Cola is consolidating its commitment and efforts to meet its sustainable development goals. In 2021, the company achieved a reduction in the total amount of waste from its production processes by 23% compared to 2019, and 48% of energy used is from renewable and clean sources. Production at the Bankya plant relies entirely on 100% green energy. Carbon emissions per unit of beverage produced have also been reduced by 37% compared to 2019, with the energy required to produce 1 liter of beverage going down 10%.

The report also shows that the group, whose economic contribution amounts to 0.5% of the country's GDP for 2021, has managed to already meet some of its long-term goals in the field of sustainable development. Also 100% of the packaging of all Coca-Cola products is now recyclable, while the company reports a reduction in direct carbon emissions by 30%, saving over 90 483 tons of carbon emissions from its local activities for 2020 and 2021. It has also achieved a record reduction of water consumption in the plants in Kostinbrod and Bankya – by 16%, and the company is already a member of the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS).

Behind the 355 million liters of drinks produced by the company, there are a number of innovations, as well as infrastructure projects in its plants in Kostinbrod and Bankya worth a total of BGN 12 million.

"Coca-Cola Hellenic's geographical footprint already covers 29 countries, and in each of them we believe that the responsibility of upstanding companies is not only to offer excellent products and services, but also to contribute sustainably to our common better future. I am glad that thanks to our 24/7 portfolio and the efforts of all nearly 3 000 colleagues in the Coca-Cola family in Bulgaria, we were able to adapt effectively to the new reality and at the same time fulfill our commitment to support our team, over 40 000 customers and partners and society at large. The achievement encourages us to make even bolder commitments, namely, to achieve net zero emissions by 2040, and to collect and recycle 100% of the packaging we place on the market by 2030. The goals are ambitious but achievable. It is no coincidence that this year Coca-Cola HBC was identified as the most sustainable beverage company in Europe and in the top 3 in the world according to the Dow Jones Index", said Juerg Burkhalter, CEO of Coca-Cola HBC Bulgaria during the event on the occasion of the presentation of the report.

"For us, as for other industries, the past two years have been full of challenges. Challenges that together we turned into opportunities. We have already taken the first significant step in implementing our World Without Waste strategy, and our next big goal is for our packaging to be made up of at least 50% recycled material by 2030. And because we know from experience that innovation is at the heart of progress, we continue to build on our sustainable solutions. Our new “tethered” caps on Bankya mineral water bottles now facilitate the collection and recycling of the entire package, and the KeelClip cardboard technology used on a multipack of 6 cans will save 2 tons of plastic shrink-wrap in Bulgaria per year”, said Dora Strezova-Nikolova, CEO of Coca-Cola Bulgaria and added “We do not stop here – the non-alcoholic industry in our country has reduced by 15.21% the calories in its products for the last 5 years. On average, there is 6.7% less sugar in 100 ml of beverage in the sector. Thus, consumers consumed 3,497 tons less sugar."

The Coca-Cola System in Bulgaria also generates 1% of the country's tax revenues, contributing BGN 41 million in taxes and indirectly contributing another BGN 237 million, of which BGN 143 million is value added tax. The amount paid into the state budget is equal to 1/2 of the state budget for cultural activities per year or the annual expenditures for education of about 95 000 students.

In the period of 2020-2021 the Coca-Cola System team have devoted hundreds of hours to increase the motivation, knowledge, and skills of nearly 10 000 young people under the Youth Empowerment Program, as well as to support a number of environmental and charitable initiatives as volunteers.