Coca-Cola Hellenic, a major bottler of Coca-Cola Company products, has opened its largest beverage plant in Russia to target a market of some 140 million consumers. The new plant in the city of Rostov-on-Don is the result of a USD 120 million investment programme, creating over 400 jobs, and is part of a plan to invest more than USD 3 billion in the Russian economy over the next five years for long-term sustainable growth.
In constructing the new plant, Coca-Cola Hellenic’s main goal was to minimize its impact on the environment by implementing an environmental management system in conformity with ISO 14001 to improve water efficiency, save energy, recycle more production waste and send less to landfill. Among many such measures designed into the new plant is a 1 600 m2 water cleaning facility, reportedly the most powerful in Russia, to gather water for repeated use after backwashing through sand filters, and reduce total consumption.
Coca-Cola Hellenic operates 75 plants in 28 European countries, serving approximately 560 million people, and achieves annual sales of more than two billion unit cases of famous brands including Coca-Cola, Fanta, Sprite, Nestea and Schweppes. The company is rolling out a multi-faceted management system across the organization that integrates the ISO 9001 quality, ISO 14001 environmental, ISO 22000 food safety and OHSAS 18001 (non-ISO) operational health and safety standards, and is currently looking at aligning with ISO 26000 guidance on social responsibility.
Company-wide environmental improvements achieved since implementing ISO 14001 have been impressive. To ensure water sustainability, each bottling plant conducts risk assessments of water resources, and as a result absolute water use has dropped despite increased production volume. By the end of 2010, 99 % of all plant wastewater was being treated.
The organization’s energy-savings initiatives, including its commitment to construct 20 on-site combined heat and power units, have improved plant energy efficiency by 23 % since 2004. Also, CO2 emissions are expected to fall by 25 % by 2015, compared to 2004.
Total waste to landfill has dropped by 58 % since 2004 and 85 % of production waste is recycled, with much of the PET plastics reused in making new bottles. In addition, PET bottles are 16 % lighter than in 2004 and consume less raw material.
ISO Focus+ asked Gary Brewster, Operational Sustainability Director, Coca-Cola Hellenic, to comment on some of the key benefits of ISO 14001 implementation, and on the integration of several management system standards.
ISO Focus+ : What difference has ISO 14001 made to your company ?
Gary Brewster : Before implementing ISO 14001 we had an ad hoc, unstructured approach to environmental management. Since then it has revolutionized the way we operate by challenging us to implement a structured system that defines our environmental responsibilities, involving a focused approach, structured disciplines, management reviews, training, and a requirement to set targets. Another benefit is the increased credibility with our stakeholders – people understand what ISO 14001 means.
ISO Focus+ : What are the key benefits since implementation in 2002 ?
Gary Brewster : To evaluate benefits, we measure the key environmental parameters of water and energy use ratios. We used 3.21 litres of water per litre of beverage produced in 2004, but by year-to-date 2011 water usage was down to 2.2 litres of water per litre of beverage produced – that’s a 31 % improvement over the period. Energy use has fallen from 0.72 megajoules (MJ) per litre of beverage produced in 2004 to 0.56 MJ year-to-date 2011 – a 22 % reduction.
ISO Focus+ : What is the status of management system certifications across the company ?
Gary Brewster : It’s a work in progress, rolling out the implementation and certification programme across 75 bottling plants in 28 countries in the Coca-Cola Hellenic region. Our target is to have 100 % of our plants certified to ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001, ISO 22000 and the ISO 22000-based FSSC 22000, Food Safety System Certification, by the end of 2012.
ISO Focus+ : Do you operate all those management standards in an integrated way ?
Gary Brewster : Yes, these management systems combine well into one integrated system, which we operate with overall management responsibility, training, document control and internal auditing. However, it would be great if we could have one integrated external third-party audit to cover all the certifications within our system. But we are limited by availability of auditors trained in all of the disciplines. We would like to see the development of an integrated audit structure and the infrastructure to support it.