For the second year running, Coca-Cola has scooped the Sunday Times Top Brands Consumer Green Award for the preservation of South Africa’s natural resources. Additionally, the company also walked away with the Consumer Social Investment Award.

The company’s products also scooped up top awards in a range of categories. Coca-Cola took first prize in the Soft Drinks category, followed by Stoney Ginger Beer in second place and Sprite in third. Powerade took first prize in the Energy category and Bonaqua in the Water category.

In the category of the Consumer Green Award, Coca-Cola was recognised for its global commitments to addressing challenges around consumer packaging. As part of its World Without Waste vision, Coca-Cola aims to collect and recycle the equivalent of 100% of its packaging by 2030; ensuring globally that 100% of its packaging is recyclable by 2025; and that 50% of all packaging material is created from recycled material by 2030.

Coca-Cola’s World Without Waste vision is that every package the company creates should have more than one life and that its packaging materials, once recycled, can be used to make other products in order to maximise their use and minimise the impact on the environment.

“We want to change the behaviour of everyone who consumes our products, so they can understand that if something can be recycled, it should be recycled, and how they can do this and where. We’re doing this by educating and informing consumers about adopting environmentally responsible waste management habits and encouraging visible recycling to help protect our environment,” said Roger Gauntlett, General Manager of Coca-Cola Africa’s South Africa Franchise.

This is not the first recycling initiative in which Coca-Cola locally has been involved. In 2012, the company introduced PlantBottle packaging, the first fully recyclable PET plastic bottle made with up to 30% plant-based materials.

Gauntlett said the company along with its bottling partners are also playing a leading role in terms of its involvement in its communities.

For the Consumer Social Investment Award, Coca-Cola was called out for its work in the Western Cape with the Coca-Cola Foundation (TCCF). TCCF was an early investor in the Greater Cape Town Water Fund, contributing US$150 000 to the regeneration of Cape Town’s largest aquifer. The Fund’s pilot project involved assistance with clearing 64 hectares of invasive plants in the Atlantis area of the Western Cape. Alien plant invasions in the Greater Cape Town catchment region are responsible for the loss of 38 million litres of water each year.

The pilot project employed local women to clear the invasive plants. It is estimated that by December 2019 the Fund’s project activities will have resulted in replenishing around 10 million litres of water, in the process positively impacting the residents of Atlantis and increasing water security across Cape Town’s supply system.

In addition, in 2015 Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) launched their Youth Entrepreneurship Programme – Bizniz in a Box. This programme strives to have a meaningful and sustainable impact on youth unemployment through enterprise development.

The initiative combines the theory and practical training for young entrepreneurs in need to make a success of their own start-up spaza container store. It aims to promote the development of self-driven young people, creating a point of access to the mainstream economy – not as job seekers but as job creators. The programme involves the selection, training, participation and eventual economic independence of a cross-section of township youth between the ages of 18 and 35. The programme is currently being rolled-out in the Free State, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Eastern Cape, North West and Gauteng, to ultimately empower 2 500 youth by the end of 2019.

“The philosophy of our company is that while profitability is important, it’s not at any cost. Both people and the planet matter and as such we believe in doing business and giving back to the communities in which we operate,” said Gauntlett.

Read more