zero calories or zero waste?
by jill ettinger
“funny, the things you have the hardest time parting with are the things you need the least.” — bob dylan
gopal krishnan is coca-cola’s global director of marketing innovations. his hindi tainted queen’s english rolls off of his tongue like a smooth mango lassi. krishnan is explaining the changes underway at the largest non-alcoholic beverage manufacturer in the world. coca-cola is in los angeles at the opportunity green conference focused on sustainability to discuss their efforts in recycling, converting trucks to bio diesel, water conservation and integrating non-petroleum plastic via their new “plantbottle,” a cane sugar pet hybrid.
by 2020, coca-cola’s goal is to be off of petroleum bottles 100% and into their plantbottle. more than 2.5 billion plantbottles are already in circulation, which may seem like quite a lot, but that’s out of more than 3,300 beverage brands owned or invested in by coca-cola in more than 200 countries, and according to cocacola.com, more than 1.3 billion servings sold every day.
coca-cola is also actively investing in recycling plants, says krishnan, citing that “leaving it up to city governments is just not working.” they are currently the world’s largest recycler and claim to collect 35% of the bottles they put out. this is an arresting number when multiple sources, including everpure, coca-cola’s own water filtration supplier, cites that over 60 million bottles a day—more than 80% of all plastic bottles—end up in incinerators or landfills instead of at recycling plants. recycling is big business for coca-cola, and with an 85% growth potential, it’s no surprise they’re pushing the single serve bottles in every market.
what’s incredibly evident, if not downright chilling, is just how smart coca-cola is. among countless ways they’re dominating markets, they’ve realized there’s really only one product ever worth selling, one that never goes out of fashion: you. their biggest moneymaker is consumer confidence and nowhere is this buoyancy more prominent than in the booming sustainability movement.