Coca-Cola’s largest European bottler targets net-zero by 2040

Image: CCEP

The company is among the cohort of We Mean Business Coalition members who first committed to aligning with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C trajectory at COP25 in Madrid last winter. According to the IPCC, global net emissions must be halved by 2030 and reach zero by 2050 if we are to have the best chance of capping the global temperature increase.

CCEP’s new commitments cover emissions from Scope 1 (direct), Scope 2 (power-related) and Scope 3 (indirect) sources. The company’s main emissions sources aside from operations are ingredients, packaging, transportation and refrigeration.

Given that the majority of the firm’s Scope 3 emissions are in the supply chain, the company is aiming to help all of its strategic suppliers set science-based targets and transition to 100% renewable electricity. For ingredient and packaging-related emissions, the company will accelerate plans relating to sustainable agriculture and 100% recycled plastics. Some life-cycle analyses have found that soft drinks bottles made using 100% post-consumer-recycled plastic generate 40% less CO2e than virgin plastic bottles.

CCEP has earmarked €250m, to be spent over a three-year period, to develop its immediate action plan for meeting its new climate goals. Money will be used to support suppliers, improve efficiency and accelerate R&D around packaging materials.

The company is prioritising reductions over offsetting and has had its targets approved by the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). However, it will be investing in some verified carbon credits “where essential”, prioritising nature-based carbon removal.

CCEP said in a statement that it is ready to go further and faster after reducing value chain emissions by 30.5% since 2010. Its new targets are all baselined for 2019 and the company will develop new interim goals and projects in the coming years.

“We have a responsibility to the communities we serve to keep taking this action on climate,” CCEP’s chief executive Damian Gammell said.

“We know it will be a long and challenging journey – there are no quick fixes or silver bullets – but we are determined to drive this change as fast as we can and to play our part in helping and influencing others. We’ve made significant progress so far, and looking ahead, we will continue to help lead the transition to a low carbon future by putting environmental impact at the heart our decision-making.”

Net-zero movement

As of September, some 1,540 businesses globally had set net-zero targets of some kind, up from 500 in December 2019. That is according to research from Data-Driven EnviroLab and the NewClimate Institute.

Since then, new net-zero announcements have been made by companies including Uber, Japan Tobacco International, Diageo, Vodafone, KPMG and Tesco.

But for all the welcome noise on climate leadership in the private sector, there are concerns about how many net-zero targets will be met. A recent poll of 120 sustainability professionals at different companies, conducted by South Pole, found that just one in ten firms with a net-zero vision has an approved science-based targets framework to back it up.

Sarah George

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