Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP), the world’s largest Coca-Cola bottler and one of the world's leading consumer goods companies, has embarked on two potentially game-changing, collaborative initiatives to fast-track sustainability innovation throughout its supply chain.
Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, UC Berkeley to develop tech converting air to sugar
First up, CCEP — through its innovation investment platform, CCEP Ventures — has joined forces with the University of California Berkeley to develop scalable methods of converting captured CO2 into sugar.
Successful completion of this project would add sugar to the growing cache of value-added products that innovators are creating from captured carbon — from vodka and ethanol to PET plastic and polyester textiles. CCEP Ventures’ initial investment with UC Berkeley will support the Peidong Yang Research Group on foundational research that will focus on enabling the production of sugar from CO₂ onsite and at an industrial level, with expectation of future investments to drive scale. In 2021, the Peidong Yang Group received a prize from NASA for a viable prototype for conversion of CO₂ to sugar for potential use on long-haul space missions.
“Air to sugar conversion could significantly impact our ability to preserve the natural world,” says Professor Peidong Yang. “This is a bold scientific vision that would bring immediate environmental benefits, fundamentally transforming the production and distribution of goods across the world. We are pleased to be working with CCEP Ventures on research that could make a significant impact on our ability to create a more sustainable future.”
Agricultural ingredients, including sugar, amount to approximately a quarter of CCEP’s overall carbon footprint; this technology could not only reduce emissions associated with sugar manufacturing processes but positively contribute to optimizing land usage as less arable land becomes available due to global population growth.
Investments such as these could play a crucial role in CCEP’s journey to reach net-zero emissions by 2040. The development of lab-scale prototypes could make the generation of essential raw and packaging materials more sustainable in the long term. It could reduce some of the largest CO₂ contributors in supply chains, while saving material, transportation and logistics costs.
In the longer term, this technology may also make the conversion of CO₂ into PET plastic more efficient by reducing the need for crude oil in the manufacturing process and significantly lowering costs.
CCEP, Rabobank establish sustainability-linked supply chain finance program
The program will incentivise and reward suppliers for improving their ESG performance and supports CCEP’s ambition to reach net zero by 2040, and reduce greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions across its value chain by 30 per cent by 2030 (vs. 2019).
Also this week, CCEP established a new sustainability-linked supply chain finance program, structured and operated by specialist food and agri financial services company Rabobank. Rabobank will provide funding to the program with other banks expected to participate and grow the facility over time.
The program, one of the first of its kind in the beverage industry, incentivizes and rewards suppliers to make sustainability improvements in their businesses. It will provide competitive financing that is linked to a number of sustainability-driven KPIs for suppliers that, when met, unlock incremental discounts against the initial funding rate and align with CCEP’s own action to reduce emissions across its entire value chain and reach net zero by 2040.
“We know how crucial it is that we work together with our suppliers to decarbonize our businesses, and are committed to providing the support and solutions they need to help them reduce emissions, aligned with our own sustainability goals,” says Ralf Peters, VP of Procurement at CCEP. “Our new supply chain finance program is another important step that will help us to take collective action – by implementing positive and impactful change and driving continuous sustainability improvements.”
Over 90 percent of CCEP’s emissions are attributed to its supply chain; and it has already asked its suppliers to take three actions to make impactful carbon reductions in their businesses:
setting and validating reduction targets with the Science Based Targets initiative by 2023;
committing to using 100 percent renewable electricity across their operations by 2023; and
sharing their carbon footprint data.
The program will build on this and set KPIs for suppliers in improving their overall ESG ratings, via assessment from EcoVadis.
Initially launched in Germany, the program will be expanded to CCEP’s suppliers in the rest of Europe, Australia and New Zealand in future phases.
More and more companies are creating incentives for their suppliers to improve their social and environmental performance in an effort to future-proof their value chains and tackle tricky Scope 3 emissions. CCEP will also partner with Rabo Foundation, Rabobank’s social impact fund, to support one of its farmer programs in Indonesia that promotes the adoption of sustainable practices and farm inputs to increase yields and achieve better long-term economic strength. In 2021, McCormick & Co partnered with the International Finance Corporation and Citi on a similar program, beginning with its herb and spice suppliers in Indonesia and Vietnam.
 The facility is operated by Rabobank and is subject to a separate agreement between Rabobank and CCEP suppliers.
 Rabobank is the primary financing bank and as the program grows towards the expected funding level of €600m, it has agreed additional syndicated funding with other banks such as Santander.