Coca Cola supports global climate deal, says CEO Kent

Coca Cola supports global climate deal, says CEO Kent


Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent listens to a presentation during the Copenhagen Business Day event in CopenhagenCEO Muhtar Kent said the world's biggest soft drinks maker aims to spread a plastic bottle made partly from plant material throughout its business, potentially replacing all other bottles in its system, to help cut carbon emissions.

"We want to join in the call to have a global agreement reached on climate protection," Kent said in an interview during 190-nation U.N. climate talks in the Danish capital.

He said it was too early to say how a deal at the Dec. 7-18 Copenhagen conference would affect the beverage industry.

"But I would hope and expect to at least have a framework agreed amongst nations, amongst the political leaders of the world here," he said, adding that that should lead to the signing of a treaty "fairly quickly."

"Without an agreement, there will not be a framework and a road map as to how we are going to get climate protection," said Kent, one of many international industry chiefs in Copenhagen for the conference.

Earlier this month, Coca-Cola announced an initiative with Greenpeace to replace vending machines and coolers with new refrigeration equipment free from hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) -- greenhouse gases with a high warming effect -- by 2015.

PLANT BOTTLE VISIONS

In May, Coca-Cola introduced a plastic recyclable bottle up to 30 percent of which is made of waste from sugar production, which it has dubbed the "bottle of the future." Kent said Coke's "intention is to get that (percentage) higher."

"This has the beginnings for us of decoupling of our packaging from fossil fuels," Kent said.

"Next year we should be selling for the full year more than a couple of billion bottles (of this material) around the world, and our intention is to ratchet up the supply as much as we can," he said.

Slightly more than half of all Coke goes into non-refillable plastic bottles, while 13 percent goes into aluminium cans, 12 percent into glass refillable bottles, 12 percent into fountain distributors, and the rest into refillable plastic bottles or other types of packaging, company material showed.

Kent said the adoption of the new bottle is currently limited by supply of the material, but that would change.

"Eventually, this will replace all our bottles," he said, "because sugar cane is a very big product around the world, and our intention is to ratchet this up as fast as we can."

Coca-Cola is also looking at other plant materials, such as wood chips and corn stover, that could be used to make bottles, another company executive said.

 

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