No Time to Waste as Coca-Cola sets 2040 Net-Zero Target

Local drinks giant Coca-Cola HBC has announced its commitment to achieve net zero emissions across its entire value chain by 2040.

The announcement by the company, which employs more than 450 people at its plant in Lisburn, is the latest demonstration of its commitment to sustainability and investment in its Northern Ireland operations.

Measures will include moving to 100% renewable electricity and significantly increasing renewable energy use in other aspects of the business, including heat, transport, and refrigeration.

Coca-Cola HBC will also play a significant role in the introduction of Deposit Return Schemes across the island.

General Manager, Miles Karemacher, said: “As the climate crisis intensifies, every business needs to play its part to cut carbon emissions from its direct operations and across its supply chain. With today’s announcement, we are delighted to be playing our part locally in the transition to a low-carbon society.

“This commitment is the ultimate destination of a journey that we started many years ago and is fully aligned with our philosophy to support the socio-economic development of the local community and to make a more positive environmental impact.

“As a Group, Coca-Cola HBC, has already achieved science-based carbon-reduction targets, so our confidence is founded on a strong track record. Locally, within our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Knockmore Hill, Lisburn, we have reduced our overall emissions by 60 percent—and by 32 percent in our value chain—in the last decade.”

“While a majority of emissions result from third-party actions across its supply chain, Coca-Cola HBC will broaden its existing partnership approach with suppliers, assuming responsibility across the entire process from production to consumption.

“Committing to net-zero targets requires the whole organisation—along with all its partners—to change the way it acts and thinks, with agreed actions and shared determination. We are in a position to provide leadership and support.  Although we don’t yet have all the answers, I’m confident that by working collectively and collaboratively, we’ll find the answers and the determination and confidence to achieve our goal”, Karemacher said

In February this year, Coca-Cola HBC was again rated Europe’s most sustainable beverage company by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, one of the world’s leading sustainability benchmarks.  It is also ranked among the top sustainability performers in ESG benchmarks, such as CDP, MSCI ESG and FTSE4Good.

Today, it also signed the Business in the Community’s Climate Action Pledge, joining other local businesses in committing to reduce its absolute scope 1 and scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030, and to work towards measuring and reporting scope 3 GHG emissions. This is the latest commitment to be made by the beverage company, who holds sustainability firmly at the heart of its operations.

It is also renewing its partnership with local charities, such as FareShare NI and FoodCloud, to prevent food waste, as a means of climate mitigation in instances where emissions cannot be eliminated entirely from its value chain.

Speaking about the Climate Action Pledge, Kieran Harding, Managing Director, BITC, said: “Signing the Climate Action Pledge is an act of public accountability that proves to an organisation’s stakeholders, customers, and employees that they are taking ambitious action on the climate crisis.  To make a real difference, businesses need to collaborate and act now. We are delighted that Coca-Cola HBC has joined our growing group of Northern Ireland organisations that have made a public declaration to take action urgently.”

Nicola McCrudden, CEO of Homeless Connect, the Managing Partner for FareShare in Northern Ireland, said: “We very much welcome Coca-Cola HBC’s target of Net Zero by 2040. As the largest charitable food redistribution project in Northern Ireland, FareShare contributes to sustainability through our mission to ensure no good food goes to waste. For every tonne of food that FareShare redistributes, we prevent the waste of 1.6 tonnes of embedded CO2e emissions and save 1.5 million litres of embedded water from being wasted.

We are extremely pleased that Coca-Cola HBC is showing leadership by helping to avert climate chaos by setting its own Net Zero targets.  In the future, our food system must ensure that no one goes hungry while protecting our planet from avoidable harm. Net Zero targets are a vital part of making this goal a reality. Well done to everyone at Coca-Cola HBC for doing their part for our planet.”

Coca-Cola’s journey towards net zero emissions will take place over a number of phases and will also include increasing investment in recycled PET and energy-efficient refrigeration.