Muhtar Kent, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Coca-Cola Company, spoke to Colorado State University students yesterday about shared values for a sustainable future. Students had an opportunity to learn how The Coca-Cola Company’s vision for success is built on the paradigm that without sustainable communities, the company cannot build a sustainable business. As a result, success at Coca-Cola is measured not simply by financial achievement, but also by the positive impacts made in the local communities where the company operates.
With populations expanding and economic powers evolving around the world, Kent addressed both opportunities for business growth and deep concerns for the sustainability of the planet. “When you add more people, with more wealth, consuming more and demanding more – sustainability becomes one of the most important issues of our times,” said Kent.
The Coca-Cola Company’s 2020 Vision is to sustainably double the business system-wide. This means ensuring the protection of the natural and human resources on which the business relies in four essential areas: water stewardship, sustainable packaging, climate protection and community.
The Coca-Cola Company understands that an essential component to success is working together with communities to overcome the challenges ahead. “Until now, governments and NGOs have been doing the heavy lifting when it comes to sustainability, with business playing more of a supporting role,” said Kent. “For the future, we need to bring the three together in what I like to call the Golden Triangle. Business, government and civil society, each doing what they do best, all working as one. Creating through collaboration and cooperation what none could achieve alone.”
Coca-Cola’s partnership with CSU is designed to do just that — bring together capabilities and commitments that can, quite literally, help change the world. Through collaboration in water sustainability research, recycling and much more, Coca-Cola and CSU can help to build the innovative technologies and the next generation of leaders that will allow businesses to grow responsibly and sustainably.
In June, CSU announced a multi-million dollar, 10-year strategic partnership with Coca-Cola, one of the most comprehensive and innovative relationships of its kind. The investments in the university provide for funding of student scholarships and internships, support of academic programs, and access to world-wide marketing opportunities.
In September, CSU’s College of Business announced the creation of the Beverage Business Institute (BBI), developed to provide specialized management education and research for the beverage industry. Coca-Cola has committed a multi-year donation to the BBI as well as funding for scholarships and internships.
CSU also recently announced a new Water Scholars Program funded by Coca-Cola with two partner universities in China. The program combines the universities’ expertise in water issues while emphasizing Coca-Cola’s focus on water sustainability in China and throughout the world. Coca-Cola is committing $1 million over the next 10 years to support this program which will benefit undergraduate students at the current partner universities and two additional universities in China beginning in 2013.