Coca-Cola, a multinational company which produces food and beverage, is not just focused on doing business. It has also been involved in different projects as per its commitment and sustainability agenda. The company is involved in projects such as water recharge, women empowerment, improving education, and water and sanitation hygiene (WASH) issues, among others, as per its sustainability agenda. Republica talked Ishteyaque Amjad, vice-president public affairs and communications and Subha Shekhar, director sustainability of Coca-Cola India Pvt Ltd (CCIPL) and India and South West Asia (INSWA) Business Unit to know more about the company's sustainable agenda. Excerpts:
Could you please tell us about Coca-Cola Company and its sustainability agenda in Nepal?
Ishteyaque: Our global commitment is to do business responsibly and in a sustainable manner. The three main pillars of our sustainability agenda are me, we and world. Me is about individual growth, we is related to community growth and world is about environment. When we think of business, we think it from different lenses like economic, community, consumer, sustainability, and environmental, among others. We believe that business and sustainability cannot have different goals. Most of our business initiatives are linked with our sustainability initiatives. We are a beverage company, and the key ingredient for beverage is water. So we are the first fortune 500 company in the world to go 100 percent water positive globally. So we replenish, restore and recharge more water. In Nepal, we have an initiative titled 'Support My School' in which we will be supporting 50-55 schools by the end of 2017. The campaign is supported by development, corporate and other partners.
What is 5by20 initiative and how far has the company gone through it?
Subha: 5by20 initiative is our global and women empowerment program, and the target of the program is to empower 5 million women worldwide by 2020. We, as a corporation, believe that if you invest in women, the return is very high as she then empowers children, family, society and community. The program has helped to empower 1.7 million women in several parts of the world.
We have already empowered 120,000 women in Nepal, India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. In Nepal, women have been facing inequality and it's extremely important to provide right support to them. We have been supporting them through our initiatives like Nagarmitra and 5by20 which help them earn a livelihood which will further help in the community development.
Could you please tell us about Nagarmitra initiative?
Subha: Nagarmitra initiative has been started in joint partnership with Himalayan Climate Initiative (HCI), German Development Cooperation-GIZ and Ganesha Ecosphere. We have already recycled 50 tons of PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) wastes. We believe it is not enough. We are also looking to work in the sector of water in partnership with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and other partners. The initiative aims to create green jobs for women, improve the livelihood of waste workers, and contribute to a cleaner environment of Nepal through an efficient and responsible mechanism by disposal of used PET bottles in Nepal.
What has the company done in Nepal after the 2015 earthquakes?
Ishteyaque: There were immediate interventions that needed to be done in term of relief and rehabilitations measures in Nepal after the earthquake. We ran a campaign titled 'We Will Rise Again' which turned out to be a massive one, as it attracted huge number of youths, local artists, and celebrities, amongst others, for rehabilitation and reconstruction work. The campaign had helped a lot in reconstruction and rehabilitation work.
Subha: We brought US$ 1 million through Red Cross and distributed blankets and medicines etc to the earthquake survivors. We also started 'Support My School' campaign to repair and reconstruct the schools, as children need to go to school for their higher studies after the earthquake.