Company to step up innovation, drive economic empowerment and environmental stewardship over next 90 years
On 8th May, The Coca-Cola Company celebrated its global 132nd birthday and 90 years of operation in Africa. Marked as Founder’s Day, 8 May 1886 was when Dr. John S. Pemberton sold the first Coca-Cola for just 5 cents in Atlanta, Georgia USA.
Ninety years ago, in 1928, the first Coca-Cola was sold on the continent, in Cape Town, Western Cape South Africa.
With the help of more than 55 bottling partners, the company has now expanded into nearly all sub-Saharan African countries. Coca-Cola, along with a wide portfolio of products like Bonaqua, Dasani, Fuze Tea, Mazoe, Glaceau VitaminWater are becoming available ‘within an arm’s reach of desire’ to consumers. To make this possible, the company has invested over the past nine decades in creating jobs, bringing new technologies to each country and improving distribution networks. It has also worked to empower communities and contribute to environmental sustainability throughout its markets in Africa.
“For 90 years in Africa we’ve been part of our customer’s lives – we’ve been there with them on their first date, to celebrate their first job offer and refresh their first football game. We have built taps and toilets for mothers and fathers and taught their sons and daughters how to recycle. We have empowered their aunts and sisters to build their own businesses,” says Maserame Mouyeme, Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability Director for Coca-Cola Southern & East Africa.
Throughout the years, The Coca-Cola Company has kept its customers and communities at the centre of its business. This continues under new global CEO, James Quincey, with the business embarking on a journey to become a Total Beverage Company, offering people a variety of beverages that make everyday moments more enjoyable. Already the Company has expanded its consumer-centric brand portfolio by launching more than 500 products. This vision - "Beverages for Life”– combines the brand-building expertise that has created 21, billion-dollar brands with a more nimble, test-and-learn approach to launching new products around the world.
Over the next 90 years, The Coca-Cola Company will accelerate its evolution to innovate its portfolio, packs and channels. It will be more ambitious and bold in being a partner for inclusive development and seek to help address some of the continent’s most pressing problems.
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Having always been an integral part of communities across the continent, The Coca-Cola Company believes that creating sustainable communities through shared value not only strengthens its own business, but enables it to build a stronger, more prosperous Africa. That is why job creation and empowerment, particularly women empowerment is integrated into the company’s business model.
Over the past eight years through the company’s 5by20 women economic programme, more than 1 million women entrepreneurs have been enabled in Coca-Cola’s value chain in Africa – from agricultural producers, suppliers, distributors and retailers, to recyclers and artisans.
The Coca-Cola Company is also committed to leading the way when it comes to environmental stewardship. With water scarcity a real issue across the continent, The Coca-Cola Foundation and its Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN), has supported access to clean drinking water to more than 2.8 million people across 2,700 communities in 41 countries in Africa since 2012. Already, The Coca-Cola Company is exploring new technologies such as desalination for use in manufacturing plants, to reduce its reliance on this precious resource.
The Company also acknowledges that waste - and plastic waste in particular - poses a serious threat to the environment. The Company’s scientists and packaging buyers are working with innovation labs, environmental experts, and mainstream suppliers to develop new, modern packaging that will make its products more sustainable.
Earlier this year, the Coca-Cola Company announced it will collect and recycle the equivalent of 100% of the packaging it sells by 2030. It is also accelerating its work to be water neutral – returning all of the water used to make its beverages to local communities and the environment by partnering with more than half a dozen aid and development organisations, including the United States Agency for International Development, the United Nations Development Program and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, to help meet its goals.
Says Mouyeme: “We have been refreshing our customers’ memories, growing their enterprises and stewarding their environment for 90 years. We will continue to do so, but not just as Coca-Cola. For the next 90 years, we will be refreshing Africa forward as a Total Beverage Company, so we can be part of more occasions and more memories. We will do more to safeguard the environment, provide more jobs and empower more women. We are accelerating our business into one that is a partner in Africa’s prosperity.”
Cheers to the past 90 years. Here’s to the next 90!