Coca-Cola Enterprises

Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) manufactures and distributes beverages in North West Europe and has set a goal to source 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. We speak to Chris Childs, Associate Director, Technical Solutions - who leads CCE’s Energy and Climate Change Steering Group.

What is driving Coca-Cola Enterprises to become ‘100% renewable’?

At Coca-Cola Enterprises we believe that urgent action is needed to tackle climate change. It is one of the most significant material risks for our business. We have adopted an ambitious target to reduce the carbon footprint of our core business operations (manufacturing, distribution and refrigeration) by 50% by 2020, and we are aiming to lower emissions across our wider value chain, ensuring that by 2020 we can reduce the carbon footprint of “the drink in your hand” by a third. The use of renewable electricity is critical to this transition and to a low-carbon economy in the future. 

Why do you think RE100 is a good initiative to join?

The RE100 initiative is fully aligned with our approach. By demonstrating our commitment to renewable electricity and by working in collaboration with like-minded organisations we are convinced we can accelerate the pace of change.

How easy was it to decide on your 100% goal?

We updated our Sustainability Plan in May 2015 and included a goal to ensure that at least 40% of the energy we use will be from low-carbon or renewable sources by 2020. In building our roadmap we took an in-depth look at the 500GWh of energy we use across our business each year, over 95% of which is used at our seventeen manufacturing sites.

Electricity accounts for over 60% of this total – including a small amount (approx 150MWh) of electricity generated via solar PV and the vast majority purchased from the grid. We’ve been working with our suppliers to review the source of our electricity in each of our geographies. 

Moving to 100% renewable electricity was the natural next step in our strategy and will continue to help us grow a low carbon business. It will be a challenging commitment to meet, especially as just 10% of the electricity we currently purchase (end 2015) is from renewable sources. However the move has been supported by our internal Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Advisory Council and is seen as an integral part of our wider energy & climate change commitments.

What opportunities and challenges are you encountering as you work towards 100%?

Securing and using renewable electricity will require the support of various different parts of our business – including our procurement, manufacturing and engineering teams. One of our challenges is being able to find the right opportunities and business models to drive scale and market transformation. Understanding the differences in national energy policy and availability has also been complex, yet collaboration with like-minded organizations and suppliers has been key to unlocking this opportunity and defining our approach.

What are your plans for switching to 100% renewable electricity?

By the end of 2016 we expect approximately 40% of the electricity we use to be from renewable sources. We will achieve this by developing additional renewable energy projects for our sites where feasible. We are also working with our electricity suppliers to switch to renewable electricity on a country by country basis over the next few years, and evaluating the opportunities available in each of our geographies. In parallel, we will continue to focus on further improving energy efficiency across all of our operations.

Why do you think it is important for companies to play a role in accelerating demand for renewable electricity and how can we get more companies to go 100%?

We believe that the impact of climate change is both dangerous and costly and that the transition towards a low-carbon economy can deliver significant long-term economic benefits. We recognize that businesses like CCE have an important role to play in accelerating the growth in renewable electricity and in encouraging our supply partners to do the same.

How else are you helping to drive forward the transition to a low carbon economy?

We have been a long-term supporter of the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change and in November 2015 we signed up to a number of the “Road to Paris” commitments – to ensure that our carbon reduction targets are fully aligned with climate science and to report climate change information via our mainstream corporate reporting. 

Last updated: December 2015