Home LifestyleEvents For Coca-Cola, A Better-Shared Future Is The Holy Grail | The Guardian Nigeria News

For Coca-Cola, A Better-Shared Future Is The Holy Grail | The Guardian Nigeria News

For Coca-Cola, A Better-Shared Future Is The Holy Grail | The Guardian Nigeria News

Coca-Cola’s multiple awards are therefore a reflection of its vision to provide loved brands, done sustainably, for a better shared future – making a difference in the lives of people, communities and the planet. The company recently emerged winners in the categories of “Best Company in Social Enterprise” and “Best Company in Innovation” at the 2020 SERAS Awards.

Most organisations today, and the people who manage them, are sensitive to the way the public perceives them. This represents a dramatic change in corporate attitudes from years past in which only the most enlightened companies dared to maintain anything but a low profile less than two decades ago.

Today, however, organisations have little choice but to go to the public; to communicate and cultivate their trust through philanthropic activities, to build their reputation as an organisation that embraces corporate social responsibility, and ultimately, promote a good corporate image. Forming this perfect image is never easy, it involves the formulation of a corporate identity, which comprises the corporate philosophy – believed to represent the cornerstone of a company’s corporate image.

For many companies, corporate social responsibility represents nothing more than a mine to dig to garner a favourable public perception. After all, if an organisation’s portrayed identity–through its activities–is deemed as impressive by the general public, this represents an unequivocal win for the company, with newspaper pages filled with adulation and more customers choosing to pitch their tent with them in the process.

Many companies see a favourable corporate image as the holy grail. Meanwhile, only a few believe it is the cherry on top of an effective sustainability strategy. The most prominent of companies under this school of thought is Coca-Cola, a company that has not only exceeded consumer/public expectations but has also embodied a commitment to ensuring a better-shared future.

Over the years, Coca-Cola has remained committed to serving the general public in the full spectrum of its capabilities, as distilled in its key programme areas which include women, water, waste, and wellbeing.

Women are the key drivers of Coca-Cola retail sales. They are mothers, wives, sisters, all connected by the same need to have children. In the process of child delivery, many of them had encountered near-death experiences, still-births, poor infrastructure and limited funding for emergencies. To demonstrate the brand’s interest in the welfare of women, the Coca-Cola Safe Birth Initiative, which aims to support the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals targets on maternal and newborn deaths reduction, was created. The initiative targets the reduction of maternal and newborn deaths while focusing on strengthening the capacity of selected public hospitals.

Coca-cola at the 2020 SERAS Awards

Coca-Cola procured vital maternal and neonatal medical equipment and supplies; trained biomedical engineering technicians to improve equipment maintenance and uptime and reactivated a large stock of abandoned medical equipment in public hospitals. So far, Coca-Cola has donated over Eighteen 40 feet containers of medical equipment, kits and supplies worth over 1.9 billion Naira to Federal Medical Centre, Ebute Metta, Lago; Abuja National Hospital; Alimosho General Hospital; Federal Medical Centre, Owerri; Wesley Guild Hospital, Ilesa; University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital; University Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt; and Aminu Kano University Teaching Hospital. The initiative, through its partners, Medshare International, has also trained over 150 technical staff in these tertiary centres.

Furthermore, the company reiterated its commitment to empowering women in Nigeria by sponsoring developmental programs such as SHAPE 2020 and Catalyst of Change, a women-focused intervention by Whitefield Foundation and Karies and Eleos Foundation which trained and equipped over 5,700 “at-risk” and “underserved” women in local communities with transferable skills and business management training. This programme not only lifted various women out of financially precarious situations but also made them crucial contributing members of society. Recently, it was revealed that graduates of the programme produced and delivered hand sanitisers to their immediate community during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, thus confirming the efficacy of the programme.

The company’s donation of $50,000 in October 2020 to cover the medical expenses of victims of the widely publicized #EndSARS protests in Nigeria was also a notable initiative that made a meaningful difference in the lives of the most vulnerable.

In many parts of the world, plastic waste has been a major source of concern for environmentalists. In Nigeria, our waterways are polluted with the indiscriminate dumping of plastic waste leading to flooding and threat to aquatic life. According to reports, on an annual basis, about 8 million tons of plastic waste escapes into the oceans from coastal nations. That’s the equivalent of setting five garbage bags full of trash on every foot of coastline around the world.

Plastics often contain additives making them stronger, more flexible, and durable. Many of these additives can extend the life of products if they become litter, with some estimates ranging to at least 400 years to break down. It is against this backdrop that The Coca-Cola Foundation (TCCF), through the New World Program (NWP) awarded a grant to the Mental and Environmental Development Initiative for Children (MEDIC) towards implementing a recycling scheme for women and youth empowerment (RESWAYE). This is one practical way that Coca-Cola has demonstrated its corporate social responsibility in waste-management systems which has a spiral effect on fish farming and marine conservation.

Another way Coca-Cola has addressed Nigeria’s waste problem is through the RecyclesPay project, implemented by the African Cleanup Initiative. The RecyclesPay project is targeted at low-tuition schools, in which parents are provided with the opportunity to pay their ward’s fees with plastic bottles. Not only does this initiative provide solutions to environmental issues, it also creatively alleviates issues relating to access to education in rural areas in Nigeria. The project has so far positively impacted 42 schools with over 2000 school children benefiting from it.

Another key area through which Coca-Cola has demonstrated value to Nigerians is by ensuring water access, conservation, sanitation and hygiene to rural communities across the country through the Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN). As at 2020, over 6 million people across Africa have been impacted under this initiative.

Coca-Cola remains focused on refreshing the world, inspiring moments of optimism and happiness, creating value, and ultimately making a difference. The company’s commitment could not have been more apparent this year – a year filled with myriad challenges to the country, to businesses, and communities. From COVID-19 to numerous instances of social unrest, and a dwindling economy, the world could not have predicted how this year would turn out. However, amidst the turmoil, Coca-Cola pressed on with its commitment to implementing its diverse sustainability initiatives.

In response to the attendant effects of COVID-19, Coca-Cola immediately suspended marketing operations and instead redirected its media budget towards supporting the government to propagate life-saving information and enlisting its distribution network for use by health centres.

Subsequently, the company donated a sum of $600,000 to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies IFRC) to provide hospitals with critical medical equipment and supplies, including ventilators, beds, tents and personal protective equipment (PPE) like gloves and face masks; support community relief programs targeting the elderly, chronically ill, disabled and homeless; and to fund public education and awareness campaigns.

The company also recognised the implications of the pandemic on vulnerable families and communities and donated N19m to Givefood.ng, a food relief platform, to help feed 1 million Nigerians during this difficult period.

Besides ensuring wellbeing, Coca-Cola has continued to support recycling initiatives in line with its World Without Waste ambitious goal; to help collect and recycle a bottle or can for everyone it sell by 2030 by launching “Project Revive” to help the economic recovery and job creation of women and youths through recycling in partnership with a social benefit venture RecyclePoints.

Furthermore, the company recognised the effect of the pandemic on businesses and subsequently launched a campaign titled “Open Like Never Before”, supporting HORECA partners (hotels, cafes and restaurants) by lending additional promotional resources and expertise.

Coca-Cola’s steadfast commitment to its sustainability initiatives proves that its values are not just mantras emphasised lightly, neither are they a means to an end in projecting a positive corporate image, rather they are an end in itself.

Coca-Cola’s multiple awards are therefore a reflection of its vision to provide loved brands, done sustainably, for a better shared future – making a difference in the lives of people, communities and the planet. The company recently emerged winners in the categories of “Best Company in Social Enterprise” and “Best Company in Innovation” at the 2020 SERAS Awards.

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